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Three Surprising Things About Indecent Exposure Charges

Indecent exposure is a criminal act that involves exposing oneself in a public place. Most people know this, but there are other elements of the charge that you may find surprising. For example, you may not know that:

You May Be Charged Even If Nobody Sees Your Private Parts

When indecent exposure is mentioned, you may think that it has to do with letting other people see your private parts. While that would certainly qualify as indecent exposure, it isn't the threshold needed to raise this charge. What matters is that you exposed yourself in such a way that another person could have seen your private parts, even if nobody did. Therefore, you may be charged with indecent exposure if you remove your clothes while in your car, but the motorist in the next lane speeds away before seeing your nakedness.

The Definition of Public Place is Broad

The definition of public place here can be very different from what you are used to referring to as public places. Apart from the usual public places such as parks and malls, you may also be accused of indecent exposure if you expose yourself in a jail, automobile or even your home.

The main consideration here would be whether or not other members of the public could see you. For example, you may escape the charge if you were inside your home and it has tall fences that hide you from the public view. However, if your home isn't well fenced, and passerby can see you, then your exposure may attract an indecent exposure charge.

The Viewers' Consent May Be a Defense

Exposing yourself in public may be a crime, but some states will excuse you if you have the viewers' consent. For example, if two people engage in a consensual public sexual act, then they may escape the indecent exposure act. However, only a few states permit this defense. Even if these states that allow this defense, you will still be charged with the crime if another person who did not consent to the exposure views the act.  

There are several defenses that you can use when accused of indecent exposure in public. Depending on the circumstances, you can claim that it was an accidental exposure or that it was nude dancing, which is allowed and regulated across the country. Therefore, contact a criminal defense lawyer so that you can have the best defense possible. To find out more about criminal defense, contact someone like Scott L. Kramer Law Office.