Florida has strict rules about appearing naked in public. Many people are charged with indecent exposure each year, and they could face jail time and mandatory sex offender registration even after exposing themselves accidentally or unintentionally. If you are facing indecent exposure charges, you need a Florida sex crime attorney to prevent the long-lasting consequences of a conviction.
Actions That Could Result in Indecent Exposure or Lascivious Exhibition Charges
To be charged with indecent exposure under Florida law, you must have exposed your sexual organs to another person in public in a vulgar or offensive manner. This means you could potentially be charged with a sex crime if someone sees you:
- Sunbathing in the nude
- Skinny dipping
- Urinating outside
- Flashing or mooning someone
- Engaging in sexual acts in public
- Engaging in private sexual activity in front of a window
- Walking around naked in your house with the curtains open
- Using the bathroom at home with the window open
The difference between indecent exposure and lewd or lascivious exhibition is the age of the person observing you. If you were having sex in your house and your neighbor saw you, you could be charged with indecent exposure. However, if children walking home from school saw you, you could face lewd or lascivious exhibition charges.
Penalties for Indecent Exposure to Persons Over 16
The accusation of a sex crime can adversely affect your life even before you have a chance to defend yourself. If convicted of this first-degree misdemeanor, you could be ordered to serve jail time and pay high fines, but you could also lose your job and your standing in the community.
If you’re convicted of indecent exposure in Florida, you could be facing the following:
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Imprisonment for up to one year
- A one-year driver’s license suspension
Penalties for Lascivious Exhibition or Indecent Exposure to Persons Under 16
Any indecent exposure involving a child raises the penalties significantly. Under Florida law, lewd or lascivious exhibition is a form of child sexual abuse, even if it does not include physical or sexual contact with the victim.
A lewd or lascivious exhibition conviction can result in the following:
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Mandatory counseling sessions
- Lifelong registration as a sex offender
- Restricted work and housing opportunities
- A permanent criminal record
Defenses to Indecent Exposure or Lewd Exhibition Charges
There are numerous legal arguments against indecent exposure charges, and the success of each one will depend on the circumstances of your case. The prosecution is required to prove several elements to get a conviction, including:
- Your sexual organs were exposed. Your sexual organs must have been on display and viewable by one or more people. However, proving that a person was nude or exposed their genitals is not sufficient evidence for a conviction. Nudity is not necessarily a crime, but it can be if it’s offensive to one or more people viewing the act.
- You were in a public location or in a private place where others could see you. It’s not enough to prove that someone saw you, but it was reasonably likely that people would see you (such as swimming naked in a hotel pool).
- You intended your actions to be seen by others. Intention is an essential element in proving lewd or lascivious conduct. If you were having consensual sex in what you believed was a private location, you should not be held responsible if someone else could see you.
- Your actions were indecent, offensive, lascivious, or vulgar. Your actions must have been intended to arouse desire in others or further your own sexual desire. For example, someone washing mud off of themselves with a hose in their backyard may have no other intention than to keep their floors clean. Similarly, children and people with mental impairments may not understand the social implications of showing their genitals in public.
Many additional factors could impact your defense. A person under the influence of alcohol may not have realized that others were present when performing a sexual act. Only a reputable Florida criminal defense attorney can provide you with a defense that protects your reputation and future.
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