Punishment for Indecent Exposure Around Children

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‘Indecent exposure’ is defined as the criminal offense of revealing one or more private body part to individuals in public with the intention of offending them, sexually arousing them, or fulfilling personal sexual desires. Private body parts subject to this definition are buttocks, genital organs, and female breasts. Such cases number in the thousands in the United States of America, and a large proportion of these involve exploitation or use of minors or children. The offense may or may not include an act of violence.

Potential Penalties

Whereas a case devoid of children would be dismissed as a ‘misdemeanor’, indecent exposure cases involving children are the most common and grave cases.  Lengthened exposure, sexual assault, and other situational conditions, in addition to indecent exposure, will increase the severity of the punishment. Punishment sentences issued by court will typically include:

  • Prison time
  • Probation
  • Monetary fines
  • Incurrence of criminal records as a ‘sexual offender’
  • Obligatory court-demanded classes
  • Community Service hours

The defense lawyer’s ability to prove that the act of indecent exposure was deliberately performed with the intention of sexual offense will play a great part in defining the case as a ‘felony offense’ and determining how harsh the punishment will be.

Time & Location Factor

Indecent exposure laws evolve with time, and what may be viewed in the 17th century is not considered ‘indecent’ in the modern time and age. Also, different states vary in their exact definition of ‘indecent exposure’ and what body parts are considered ‘private’. Every state in the US has laws prohibiting the exposure of genital body parts. The state law may use terms like sexual misconduct and public indecency to refer to indecent exposure.

Reducing Punishment

An attorney can help reduce the punishment sentence to a misdemeanor by collaborating with the court and prosecutor. He may mediate a plea deal that frees you of all punishment. In a plea deal, you would settle the case outside court by pleading ‘guilty of the offense’.


A legal body in the US will not consider a mother breastfeeding her child in public as indecent exposure. No legal sentence or punishment will be issued for this, in spite of partial breast exposure on behalf of the mother.

Talk to an Attorney

It is imperative that you consult with a criminal attorney for professional dissertation of your case. This will give a clearer picture of the possible penalties faced. It will also provide you with the alternative routes available to you, if a court trial has been ordered. Alternatively, if you are the victim in an indecent exposure case, you should hire an attorney to protect your legal rights and interests in the legal system. You can even sue the offender in court if the psychological effects incurred are severe.