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You accidentally exposed yourself in public: What now?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2023 | criminal defense |

Out of all the sex crimes, indecent exposure is typically a minor one (unless the incident involves underage children). The law defines it as exposing private parts (genitalia) or masturbation (regardless of whether any genitalia is visible) in public areas.

Maryland classifies it as a misdemeanor, but the penalties can include a three-year prison term and a hefty fine. You may also have to register as a sex offender and deal with considerable social stigma. Indecent exposure does not have to be intentional.

Determine whether you committed indecent exposure or not

Not all supposed incidents of exposure are actually indecent exposure. Individuals may accuse breastfeeding mothers of exposing themselves, but the law actually permits it. Similarly, those exposed in their own homes or who had a wardrobe malfunction, if they have evidence, may be able to avoid conviction.

There are varying levels of severity

A purely accidental and incidental exposure without any malice may incur lighter penalties from a judge than if you had an accidental exposure while trying to assault or otherwise harm someone else. If you have previous exposures on your record, this may also cause the judge to come down harder. A major influencing factor in the punishment set by the court is whether or not your exposure impacted a minor child. Even if you had no intent at all to expose yourself to a child, if you did, your case is much more severe.

Indecent exposure, while not a severe crime in and of itself, is still serious, even if it is accidental. Its severity can increase depending on who witnessed the exposure and whether it is a repeat offense or not.



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