Fighting Indecent Exposure Charges

indecent exposure

Indecent exposure may seem harmless, but it can have real consequences. A person who commits it may face stiff penalties. These penalties could affect the rest of their life. It’s important to know what indecent exposure is. You should also know what qualifies as indecent exposure, and the potential consequences. We’ll cover all of this information as well as additional information to help you.

What Is Indecent Exposure?

Indecent exposure refers to willfully exposing your genitals to another person for arousal or gratification without their consent. This act may cause distress and or alarm in the victim. Exposure of the inner buttocks and female nipples fall under indecent exposure in addition to the genitals. The one exception occurs when women breastfeed children in public.

What Qualifies as Indecent Exposure?

Certain elements must occur for indecent exposure charges. One of the three body parts must be exposed. The person needs to expose themselves willingly. If you jump into a pool and your bathing suit falls off, it’s not indecent exposure, because you didn’t intend to expose yourself. Exposure needs to happen in public. This could occur at a park, concert venue, business, street, etc. The place can be owned privately or publicly as long as the actions are viewable by the public. Indecent exposure charges apply if there’s a high likelihood that a person could witness the act.


A woman lifts up her shirt to expose her breasts at a concert. Even if she’s encouraged by others to do so, it’s indecent exposure because she is willfully exposing her breasts in public. A man exposes his genitals to his wife at a restaurant. This counts as indecent exposure because other members of the public could see including children. More severe charges may incur if children witness the act. Each state has different laws for this, so there’s no consensus. Indecent exposure happens when a person stands in front of a bedroom window and exposes him or herself. The opposite counts as indecent exposure as well. You can’t expose yourself from your home to the outside world.

As mentioned above a person might get charged if there’s a high likelihood that someone could see the act. An example of this is when a third person turns their head to avoid seeing the exposure. A prosecutor could potentially bring indecent exposure charges under these circumstances.

What Types of Charges and Consequences Come from Indecent Exposure?

Indecent exposure falls under disorderly conduct. It’s considered a more severe form of disorderly conduct and carries harsher penalties. In Rhode Island, a first offense may land you in jail for up to a year and or a fine of up to $1000. You must also receive counseling along with the other punishments. Any additional offenses could land you in jail for up to three years. Repeat offenses are considered a felony instead of a misdemeanor. You also face a fine of up to $1000 and more counseling. Since the crime involves a sexual nature, you could find yourself as a registered sex offender. Your life completely changes as a registered sex offender. Finding a place to live may become challenging as well as many other things. You could also end up with a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. Both might make it harder for you to get a job.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

A good lawyer will help in many different ways. They will prepare for every stage of the case including initial arraignment through potential sentencing. This preparation gives you the best possible chance of a good outcome. A lawyer will explain the details of your case and help you understand all of your options. They’ll know whether it’s better to take a plea or go to trial. A talented lawyer with experience defending indecent exposure knows what to look for to help you win. They will perform a thorough investigation of the case and find potential holes. Assuming the lawyer has a relationship with the district attorney they can try to and the case quickly if possible and get you a better plea deal. They may also hire investigators to find evidence to refute witness testimony.


Indecent exposure can land you in a lot of trouble. You could end up in jail and as a registered sex offender. Simple seemingly fun acts can give you a criminal record. It’s important to hire a lawyer if you get charged. A lawyer can make sure you mount the best defense. They can explain all of your options and determine the best choice. Their knowledge of the law will ensure you have a solid defense. Make sure you hire a lawyer that his a history of handling indecent exposure cases. Their experience will give them all the tools needed to win your case.