While indecent exposure is considered a misdemeanor in New York state, it’s consequences can be fairly major to someone convicted of such a crime. As a crime, calling something a misdemeanor might not seem like it’s that big of a deal, but it’s taken very seriously and it can really land you in a lot of hot water. If you have been taken to court for indecent exposure you should contact a criminal defense lawyer in Long Island

What is the Definition of Indecent Exposure?

The mainstream definition of indecent exposure is when anyone exposes their private parts while in a public place. Private parts can be defined as anything that you would normally be expected to cover up, this is according to the Cornell Law School. A lot of people seem to think that indecent exposure only applies when a lewd act is being committed. That’s not true at all, as simply exposing any intimate part of your body is enough to be charged under this law.

To more accurately describe what the ‘intimate area’ is, it might be a male exposing his genitals and/or a woman exposing her breasts and also her genitals as well. Again, these are areas in which we would normally have covered up when leaving the house. They are covered up for a reason and it’s against the law to show these private parts of the body while in public. You don’t have to be committing a lewd act such as having sexual contact to get an indecent exposure charge.

Another type of indecent exposure is called “promotion of indecent exposure.” You don’t actually have to be the one who exposes themselves. If you knowingly promote or encourage someone to expose themselves on public property or someone else exposes their intimate body parts, you can get charged with the promotion of indecent exposure. For example, managing some type of outdoor strip club in a public place.

How Incident Exposure is Penalized

As stated above, indecent exposure is considered a misdemeanor charge. The same is true for the promotion of an indecent exposure charge as well. People who commit these types of offenses often can face a fine of up to $250 and/or around 15 days in jail. This is just for the indecent exposure charge and if you add in any type of lewdness, such as a sexual act, then the charge is apt to around $500 and/or three months in jail. Again, the same is true for someone who promotes both indecent exposure and public lewdness.

Defending Public Exposure in Court

If you’re charged with indecent exposure, public lewdness, and/or promotion of both acts, the best thing that you can do is to hire a skilled attorney to help defend you in court. There are multiple ways for a lawyer to help create a defense case that can prevent you from facing any charges. One way in which a lawyer can help defend your case is by proving in court that any type of ‘alleged’ indecent exposure wasn’t intentional at all.

A good example of this is not realizing that maybe you have a hole in your shorts or pants. It is very possible for a woman’s breasts to be exposed without her noticing it. Your whole defense would be wrapped around the idea that the indecent exposure was not intended whatsoever. You can’t fully control every situation that might happen and not being aware that you’re exposing the public is a valid defense. They can be difficult for the prosecution to prove otherwise and less the exposure was blatant.

Another solid defense is that you are a parent who was either preparing to or currently breastfeeding your child. Most states have laws that allow mothers to breast-feed their children in public. That would not be a blatant exposure or any type of sexual act that should ever receive an indecent exposure or lewdness charge. Many states also protect works of art and creativity that involve the human form.

If you’re putting on an art display that involves the naked human form and it’s a public performance of some type, there may be laws in your area that protects your right to display that art. That might include you choosing to expose your painted breasts while posing as a statue in a park. Not everyone might understand your type of art, but you still have the right to express it without being charged with indecent exposure.

Other Types of Defense

Sometimes you don’t know the mental capacity of everyone you pass on the streets. Someone might have a mental disease or may not be a neurotypical person. They may have struggled to dress themselves due to an injury. A lawyer might even be able to find that you weren’t actually in a public place when the exposure occurred. It required by law that if you’re going to be charged with indecent exposure, that is done while in public.

As you can see, there are a variety of different types of defenses that a lawyer can use to help drop any charges of indecent exposure, lewdness, and/or promotion of these types of acts. You don’t have to face these charges alone. A lawyer will know how to handle the cases and be able to properly share with you what your rights are in this matter. Your lawyer might even be able to help reach a plea agreement in which certain charges are dropped if you’ve never committed any other type of crime before.

Local Ordinance Violations

You don’t just have to be aware of state laws regarding indecent exposure. You might live in a local community that has stricter laws than what the state prohibits. The state might be okay with you having a display of art, but your Township might look down on that sort of thing legally. That means if you do plan on putting on that type of production, you should check both city and state ordinances and laws so that you stay protected.

Again, if you’re unsure of what the laws are in your area, contacting a defense attorney is a great way to begin your journey to understanding the laws in your area so you don’t violate them and end up with an indecent exposure charge.

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