Indecent exposure is not one of the worst crimes a person can commit, but it’s not one that’s taken lightly. It’s a version of a sex crime, and being found guilty of exposing one’s private body parts in a public location is something Queens law enforcement officials take very seriously. Indecent exposure is defined as the intentional showing of your sexual organs in a place that’s considered public, or in front of someone else who didn’t want to see these body parts. There are many forms of indecent exposure, and not all of them are meant to offend or come across as any form of sexual harassment or other indecency.
Punishments for Indecent Exposure
The simple definition of indecent exposure is showing genital areas in any public place. Bare breasts on both men and women are not considered indecent. It’s also not illegal to flash undergarments or underpants of any sort. It is, however, illegal for a man or woman to show off their genitalia in public or to another person without their consent or approval.
Of course, this comes with numerous grey areas. What happens when a man or woman can’t hold it any longer while on a road trip and has to pull over on the side of the road to use the bathroom and someone sees? Is this indecent exposure? Technically, it’s considered indecent exposure, but it’s usually a charge that’s easily dropped and overlooked due to the fact that you either went into the woods or used doors or jackets or other items to block your body from the view of the public.
There are many forms of punishment issued to those who are indecently exposing themselves in public. It’s typically considered a misdemeanor charge.
– Up to a year in jail
Some people are required to attend special education courses if they’re given a probation sentence. However, jail time can be increased if this is not your first encounter with the law. Even if you’ve been arrested and charged with a completely different crime in the past, it’s possible your sentence will be longer, more expensive, and stronger as a result of your prior convictions. A judge will consider your reputation in the community, your criminal background of lack thereof, and the circumstances surrounding the incident prior to sentencing.
Defenses Against Indecent Exposure
Many people are arrested and charged with this crime without any intent to cause harm to anyone else. It could be a young couple enjoying a little time in the backseat of their car parked in a dark parking lot without any clothes on doing nothing more than being intimate without the intent to harm. It could be a man who had a few too many drinks and chooses to use the bathroom behind a dumpster in an alley. It could be someone who was changing their clothes in the car on the freeway. Some people don’t mean to show off their genital areas in public, but it happened. There are defenses against this.
Lack of Intent – It’s relatively easy to prove a person had no intent to harm. The example of using the bathroom on the side of the road in the woods or hidden behind a car door is a lack of intent. The person did what they could to stop the public from viewing their genitalia. There was no intent, and most people will see this as the truth.
Mistake of Fact – Sometimes people make mistakes, and they shouldn’t pay for their mistakes as harshly as they might if it’s a criminal offense. For instance, if a grown man decides it would be hilarious to moon his friends by pulling down the back of his pants and showing his rear end to them as he drives by their house, he might think it’s funny. However, he might not know the neighbor’s kids are also in the yard visiting with their family, and they might see the man’s genitals by accident. This man wasn’t doing anything good, but he wasn’t trying to show children his body parts.
Lack of Awareness – In some instances, a person makes a poor choice due to intoxication. Perhaps a group of women get drunk and decide they want to go streaking. It’s a funny idea at the time, and it certainly isn’t meant to harm anyone else, but someone might call the police and report them for their poor behavior. If they can prove they were not aware they were in view of the neighbor or anyone else due to their level of intoxication, they might be able to get away with a reduced charge.
It’s often the fact that indecent exposure is a sex crime and sometimes means those convicted must register as a sex offender that hurts the most. A criminal defense attorney can help with this kind of case from working a defense to finding evidence and even witnesses that state it wasn’t an intentional act. Let an attorney help you fight this charge by taking on your case and allowing you to go about the rest of your life without this on your shoulders.