Indecent Exposure and Children: Aggravating Circumstances?

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Each state’s criminal code defines indecent exposure law.  Therefore, each state’s laws may address and define indecent exposure involving children differently.  However, each state’s indecent exposure laws classify the crime of indecent exposure as at least a class 1 misdemeanor.   In addition, in some states, your mere involvement with a group that promotes nudism or nudity will be criminally categorized as an indecent exposure offense.  Currently, the federal government is considering adopting federal indecent exposure laws to create consistency in indecent exposure law.  A federal law could also have the effect of increasing penalties for those convicted of indecent exposure and regulate the national sex offender registry more efficiently.

Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure is the exposure of one's genitals, or other private parts, in a public setting with the knowledge that others are in view of the exposure.  Indecent exposure is an intentional act, and is not done by accident.  Therefore, the person committing indecent exposure must intend to expose himself to others.  The purpose of indecent exposure is different for all offenders, but theories include satisfying the offender's personal sexual excitement, or as a form of social rebellion.  The crime of indecent exposure carries with it a negative social stigma, and as a result of a conviction, the offender  can be adversely affected in their private life.  For example, if you have been convicted of indecent exposure you may have problems seeking employment in the future.  Also, some crimes require a person with an indecent exposure conviction register with the national database for sex offenders

Aggravating Circumstances

In some states, if you commit indecent exposure in view of a child, the law may give the court the discretion to prolong or elevate your punishment for the crime.  For example, in some states an indecent exposure charge is typically a misdemeanor.  However, if the indecent exposure charge involves a child under the age of 15, the misdemeanor is immediately enhanced to a felony.  A felony means there is a possibility of jail time and it will always appear on your criminal record.  Some states classify the age of the victim as an aggravating circumstance during sentencing.

Getting Legal Help

If you have any questions about indecent exposure law, contact a criminal attorney.  A criminal attorney can explain indecent exposure law to you and counsel you about any aggravating circumstances to your crime.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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