If you or someone you know has recently been accused of indecent exposure, this is not something you can afford to take lightly. Indecent exposure is something that is easy to accuse someone of but very, very hard to live with if you are actually convicted. You’re not just at risk of fines and jail time. If an indecent exposure charge is considered serious enough, you are at a dangerous risk of being added to the sex offender registry, something that can ruin the rest of your life. For this reason, it’s vitally important that you find a dedicated lawyer and build a strong defense as early as possible.
What Counts as Indecent Exposure?
Indecent exposure is a delicate topic because it involved determining intent to expose yourself. Everyone has genitals and a right to, at least occasionally, be naked. However, you and everyone else also have the right not to be exposed to the sight of other people’s genitals against your will. Even being inside your own home doesn’t keep you safe from an indecent exposure charge if the court determines that you exposed yourself on purpose to someone other than your spouse. Misunderstandings are not uncommon and in many cases someone may assume you intended to expose yourself when you were, in fact, unaware of or surprised by their presence. Unfortunately, whether you meant to expose yourself or not is something the courts must determine once a charge is filed.
Indecent exposure in Minnesota is defined as willfully and/or lewdly (sexually) exposing your breasts or genitals to someone else who had not provably consented to see them. A charge of public indecency can be extended to indecent exposure, or vice versa, if the court rules that the two are comorbid. Finally, you can also be convicted of indecent exposure if you convince someone else to show their private parts to others or in public.
The Breastfeeding Clause
Under most circumstances, exposure of a bare breast can qualify for an indecent exposure charge. However, this is not the case when it comes to mothers who are breastfeeding their babies. Minnesota believes in a woman’s right to breastfeed no matter the location or company she and her infant find themselves in and in order to prevent mothers from being hassled by police or anyone else during this healthy and necessary activity, breastfeeding women cannot be charged with indecent exposure even if they are not using a privacy cloth or their nipples become visible to others.
Consequences of Indecent Exposure
If your defense is inadequate or the evidence is overwhelming, you can be charged with indecent exposure and then face an increasing scale of legal punishment. For a first offense classified as a misdemeanor, you could face up to 90 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. A gross misdemeanor, identified as exposure to a minor under the age of 16 or if you have a previous conviction of rape or sexual assault. In this case, you could see up to a year imprisonment and/or $3,000 in fines. Finally, if you are charged with felony indecent exposure due to restricting your victim, repeated exposure to a minor or some other extenuating circumstance, you could face up to 5 years and $10,000 in fines.
The Sex Offender Registry
If you are convicted of a felony indecent exposure, there is no way to avoid being put on the sexual offender registry, which will significantly restrict where you can live, who will hire you, and how people will respond to you for the rest of your life. However, even misdemeanor indecent exposure can result in your addition to the sex offender registry if the court decides that your exposure was an aggressively sexual act.
An accusation of indecent exposure could potentially ruin your reputation and your future freedom, but you don’t have to let it. No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, Segal Defense is ready to come to your aid. Whether you or someone you know is facing a charge for indecent exposure, contact us today for an experienced and capable legal defense.
The information presented in this article is not considered legal advice. Please contact our law office to speak to an attorney about your case.