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How serious is an indecent exposure charge?

If you are facing a criminal charge of indecent exposure, the seriousness of the consequences should you be convicted depends on a range of mitigating factors. First, the laws of the state have a lot to do with how these charges are treated and whether you can be successfully charged in the first place. Understanding state law is critical when you are facing any type of criminal allegations, which is why a professional criminal defense lawyer is a good person to have on your side.

In many cases, the first conviction on a basic indecent exposure charge nets you a misdemeanor on your record. Sentences for such a conviction might include a few months in jail, a fine or even just probation. Second or further offenses can become felonies and land you in more serious federal prison if you are convicted.

Indecent exposure involves showing your genitals in public, and you can be charged with it whether you are male or female. Showing a female breast is not typically considered indecent exposure. Often, people wonder if urinating in public is the same thing as indecent exposure, and it really depends on the situation. If you are in an alley behind something and not exposed to anyone, you might be able to make a case that relieving yourself did not result in exposure.

If any physical contact is made while you are exposing yourself – even if it was an accidental bump – you might be charged with sexual assault. You could be charged with indecent exposure or assault even if the entire incident was accidental, which is why it's important to seek assistance with your defense. Indecent exposure might seem like a funny type of small crime, but the long-term consequences of a conviction on your record aren't funny at all.

Source: FindLaw, "Indecent Exposure," accessed Oct. 21, 2016

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