Indecent Exposure: What It Is and How It’s Punished

Posted on July 7, 2013 in: Sex Crimes

Charged with indecent exposure? You could face steep penalties, including jail time and fines. Related sex crimes may carry steeper penalties and require registration as a sexual offender.

What is considered indecent exposure?

Most people think of the term “flashing,” which describes someone exposing his or her private parts for his or her own sexual gratification and/or to elicit a sexual response from others. Although this can be considered a form of indecent exposure, even non-sexual exposing of private parts could result in charges.

One example is a person urinating in public. There may be nothing sexual about the act; however, it still can result in being charged with a crime in some cases if the individual had lewd intent.

Some might consider a woman breastfeeding to be indecent exposure; however, most states have laws that protect them. In Florida, according to Florida Statutes §800.03, this is not considered a violation of the laws surrounding exposure of sexual organs.

Another scenario in which exposure would not be considered indecent is a nude beach. Toted as being “clothing optional,” Haulover Beach in Miami Beach would be a place where you might see private parts, but it wouldn’t be considered indecent exposure.

Florida’s Laws & Punishments Regarding Indecent Exposure

It is against the law in Florida to expose sexual organs on private or public premises in an indecent or vulgar manner per Florida Statute §800.03. This includes being naked in a public setting, unless it is designated for this purpose, such as the example of Haulover Beach.

This is considered a first-degree misdemeanor and can result in a sentence of up to one year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000.

There are other laws that could be connected to a case like this, too. Statute §800.02 applies to committing an unnatural and lascivious act with someone else. This is a second-degree misdemeanor charge that may result in up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Statute §800.04 applies to lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons younger than 16 years old. This is a second-degree felony crime that may result in up to 15 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. Perpetrators have to register as sexual offenders as well.

Defenses for an Indecent Exposure Charge

It can be difficult to make this type of charge stick. For instance, exposing sexual organs for the purpose of urinating could be argued as not qualifying as indecent exposure. Defenses that show there was a lack of vulgarity or lewdness may help.

There are other factors that may impact the charges; for instance, if the act was in the presence of a minor. The actions of the accused at the time of exposure will be factored in, along with whether the action was intentional or accidental. Your attorney may argue that the exposure was not intended.

The applicability of any defense will depend on the circumstances of the action. If you’d like to discuss your case or go over possible defenses for charges related to a sex crime, an attorney at Falk & Ross can help. Call us at (305) 741-6997.

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