Sex Crimes, including Indecent Exposure, often carry weighty consequences.
These can range from probation to jail or prison, as well as extensive
Court costs and fines, and a lifetime of Sex Offender Registration. We
will discuss the penalties of certain Sex Crimes, and how you can defend
yourself against the charges, in this article.
Indecent Exposure is defined as exposing one’s sexual organs in an
indecent or vulgar manner while located in a public or private location,
according to Florida Statue §800.03. The offense is considered a 1st Degree Misdemeanor. Of course, there are other laws that may be related
to an Indecent Exposure case, such as Statute §800.02 which applies
to unnatural and lascivious acts involving another person (i.e. 2nd Degree Misdemeanor), or Statue §800.04 that concerns lewd acts in
the presence of or upon minors (i.e. Felony).
Consequences of an Indecent Exposure Charge
Indecent Exposure under §800.03 is considered a 1st Degree Misdemeanor in Florida. There are factors that can increase the
severity of the charges, such as lascivious or lewd intent, or the age
of those exposed to the act (i.e. see §800.04). However, an Indecent
Exposure under Florida Statute §800.03 is punishable by:
- Up to 1 year in the County Jail
- Up to 12 months of County Probation
- A fine of up to $1,000 (not including mandatory Court costs)
A Defendant who violates Florida’s Lewdness – Indecent Exposure
statue as outlined in §800.04 faces much more severe punishments,
as these violations are felony offenses. This statute includes Lewd or
Lascivious Battery, Lewd or Lascivious Molestation, as well as Lewd or
Lascivious Exhibition of Sexual Organs. The penalties for these felony
offenses can include:
- Extensive prison exposure
- Extensive Felony Probation exposure
- Extensive Fines in addition to mandatory Court costs
- Mandatory Sex Offender Registration
Defending an Indecent Exposure Charge
There are several common defenses that attorneys may argue when fighting
an Indecent Exposure charge, particularly when addressing the 1st Degree Misdemeanor violation under §800.03.
Lack of Lewd Intent
The Defendant’s lawyer may argue that the Defendant had no lewd or
lascivious intent when they exposed their genitals. This defense may be
used in cases of public urination. If the intention of the Defendant was
not to arouse sexual desire or gain gratification by the act, it does
not meet the criteria in Statue §800.03 that requires the intent
of the exposure to be lewd.
Lack of Intent to Expose Others
This can include accidental exposure, such as from a home or hotel. Commonly,
this occurs when one showers or changes in private, and inadvertently
gives someone outside the building visibility through an uncovered window.
The Defendant lacks intent to expose oneself. In fact, the jury instruction
specifically states that proof of mere nudity or exposure is not sufficient
to sustain a conviction.
Florida law defends mothers who breastfeed, allowing them to do so anywhere
they are permitted to be, both in public and private. Breastfeeding in
public does not constitute indecent exposure.
Get the defense you need if you’ve been accused of indecent exposure
or any other sex crime. Contact Panama City Criminal Defense Attorney
Albert J. Sauline, III at (850) 250-3426 for a free consultation today!