Indecent Exposure: Liberating or Disturbing?

When you walk your kids to school, you don’t expect to see a half-naked man standing near the school grounds. As you drive home from work, you do not want to have a glimpse of your neighbor gallivanting around his house in only his birthday suit. These happenings will surely make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Plus, it could traumatize your children.

People who walk around their homes naked, in full view of their neighbors and passers-by, can be arrested for indecent exposure. Most of them will defend their actions saying that what they do in their own home is their business. Yet others will state that stripping off all clothing allows them to feel liberated and free from everyday stress. But whatever their reasons are, they might find themselves in jail once they are found guilty of indecent exposure.

The Offense

A person who pees in public or fools around naked in full view of others can be taken to jail for indecent exposure. If he was just being funny, well, this type of humor is something that will not make the court laugh. Indecent exposure is a serious offense with very grave repercussions. Apart from possible jail time and hefty fines, an offender may be asked to register as a sex offender. This alone is a huge punishment that will affect the person’s life in so many aspects.

Are You Guilty of Indecent Exposure?

Before someone is punished, evidence against him is thoroughly assessed. The court looks for certain factors before it comes to a decision. One element that’s vital in an indecent exposure case is – was the act intentional? Second, did the act happen in a public place? Third, did the person direct people’s attention to his genital parts for sexual purposes?

1. Intent

A person who fully intends to show others his private parts will likely be guilty of indecent exposure. But there are some instances wherein people don’t mean to get naked in public. For example, it’s not a woman’s fault if her bikini top accidentally fell off as she was swimming. Also, someone who had his pants pulled down by his friends is not being indecent. Instead, he was the victim of a very bad joke.

2. Public Exposure

Exposure must occur in public areas, such as beaches, school grounds, malls, or parks. However, there are instances wherein an individual could still be at fault even if he was naked in his own home or property. For instance, that person could call attention to himself while naked in his backyard or he could stand near his front door in his birthday suit because he knows that people walking by won’t be able to miss him.

3. Parts Exposed

The offender must intend to display his genitals or private parts. His purpose is to stimulate himself or another person, or to upset or insult others. A few exemptions are: a woman flashing her breasts, a person showing his/her underwear, and a mother who is breastfeeding her baby.

Claire Duvall blogs for a number of renowned Massachusetts criminal defense lawyers. She writes about indecent exposure, open and gross lewdness, as well as assault and battery in order for readers to gain more information about such serious offenses.