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!