We’ve all heard term “indecent exposure” before, and some of us may have even seen it in action. However, how many of us are truly familiar with what “indecent exposure” means? What counts as indecent exposure, and what are the implications of it? What are the consequences that follow? The motivations?
Like any crime, indecent exposure has a wide range of motivations, from the accidental indecent exposure to the all too purposeful. It boils down to the exposure, in a public setting, of any of what would be considered private parts.
For both men and women, exposed genitals are likely to lead to an indecent exposure charge. Breasts and buttocks are also considered to be indecent when exposed in a public place and to people in that public place.
How Serious Is This Crime?
In Maryland, those that have been charged and convicted of indecent exposure will not be required to register as sex offenders. This is because the crime of indecent exposure is only a misdemeanor in the state – and this is likely to vary from state to state. Because indecent exposure is not considered to be a felony, it will naturally have less severe consequences.
Penalty for Indecent Exposure in Maryland
Just because it is a misdemeanor, however, does not mean that it is not a crime to be taken seriously. An indecent exposure charge can have serious ramifications. Those convicted are often required to pay a hefty fine, sometimes as much as $1,000. Jail time is also not unheard of in such cases, and comes with a three year maximum sentence, though it will often be less.
Increasing The Severity Of The Sentence
Even though indecent exposure is not considered to be a penalty in the state of Maryland (though it is in other states), there are conditions to an act of indecent exposure that will increase the penalty that the accused accrues. One such instance is that of indecent exposure in front of a child or children.
To be considered an act of indecent exposure in the first place, a person must not only expose their genitals, breasts, or buttocks, but must also do so in a public setting that is populated at the time of the act. If these conditions are not met, the case is likely to not be able to be tried as one of indecent exposure.
However, sometimes children are part of that general public audience, and this can complicate the case significantly and may even elevate it to the status of a felony, particularly if the child or children in question were under the age of 15.
Indecent exposure to children – or even just in the presence of children – is widely considered to be a much more serious crime. Aside from receiving a lengthened sentence, those that expose themselves in front of children may even be looking at sexual assault charges.
It is also likely that, along with potential fees and prison time, someone convicted of such a crime will be looking at punishments such as court demanded classes and community service hours. If convicted of sexual assault, they will also need to register as a sex offender.
Is There Any Exception To Indecent Exposure Laws?
While exposing genitals in a public setting in front of a general unconsenting audience will always be considered indecent exposure, there is one important exception to indecent exposure laws. A breastfeeding mother is fully allowed to breastfeed her child, even if it exposes her breast, in any public setting.
Though breastfeeding women often cover themselves and their nursing child with a nursing cover or blanket, this is not legally required. Though some may do so for their own comfort in preserving modesty, it is completely legal to breastfeed uncovered. Even though the breast may be seen in such a circumstance, it is not considered obscene under such conditions and is therefore acceptable.
What About Private Property?
Though many people feel that they should be able to do whatever they please in the comfort of their own homes, there are still certain precautions that should be taken. Indecent exposure charges are still possible even on your own property.
These charges typically result when someone removes their clothes in the view of people outside of the property, such as passers by. If you are sitting on your lawn, for instance, and remove your clothing to expose yourself, you are still in the public eye and are foisting yourself on those who have not consented.
In such a case, you would be able to be charged with indecent exposure and sentenced accordingly. If you are in public view, it is important to keep in mind that indecent exposure charges are a viable outcome.
What Is The Difference Between Indecent Exposure And An Obscenity Crime?
While indecent exposure strictly involves the exposure of private areas to a public audience, obscenity crimes expand a bit more. An obscenity crime is also likely to involve images or video, such as child pornography.
An obscenity crime can also lead to steep fees and jail time, particularly if the images or videos – whatever obscene content there was – is trafficked and sold by the accused.
Obscenity crimes are often more severe than indecent exposure charges, and should be treated as such. In cases like child pornography, obscenity crimes are treated as a felony case.
What To Do Next – Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with indecent exposure, it is important that you contact a legal professional as quickly as you can. A legal professional can help you to navigate what is most likely an unfamiliar legal world, looking out for your best interests and protecting your from unjust prosecution.
What is indecent exposure? Indecent exposure is a legal term applied to instances where an individual exposes his or her private parts (including genitals, breasts, or buttocks) while in a public place and in the presence of other individuals.
In the state of Maryland, indecent exposure is considered a misdemeanor offense, and it does not require those sentenced with indecent exposure to register as sex offenders. However, those sentenced with indecent exposure could face jail time of up to 3 years. They may also be penalized with a fine of up to $1,000.
What is an obscenity crime? The legal term “obscene” may be applied to certain films, images, and text. Child pornography, for instance, is considered obscene material, and an individual in possession or trafficking obscene material may be charged with an obscenity crime. The sentencing applied to an obscenity charge can vary, but may include jail time and fines. Those accused of an obscenity crime may have to register as sex offenders.
Mitigate Charges & Sentencing With a Criminal Defense Lawyer
When you opt to utilize Rice Law’s criminal defense attorney, G. Randolph Rice, Jr., you’re gaining several levels of protection. G. Randolph Rice, Jr. will ensure that you aren’t harassed with unwarranted police requests. He’ll inform you of court dates and aid you in filing paperwork properly.
During court proceedings, Randolph Rice aims to protect you from unjust prosecution. He’ll strive to have your charges reduced or dropped, as well as any sentencing lessened. Get in touch with our criminal defense attorney to gain protection.