Indecent Exposure

Indecent Exposure and Indecent Conduct

Indecent Exposure Attorney Thomas Gallagher explains penalties and defenses
Indecent Exposure Attorney Thomas Gallagher explains penalties and defenses

By Minneapolis Indecent Exposure Attorney Thomas Gallagher

These crimes tend to fall into two fact patterns.  But police or prosecutors can charge them by under several different laws.

Indecent conduct charges tend to involve claims of police or others seeing a couple’s sexual activity.

Indecent exposure accusations tend to claim that someone saw someone displaying their genitals in a socially inappropriate context.

We have seen most Indecent Exposure crimes charged under Minnesota Statutes, though local city ordinances could be used.

Minnesota Statutes Section 617.23 makes “Indecent Exposure” a crime a misdemeanor.  If you’re facing charges for one of these crimes, consult Indecent Exposure Attorney Thomas Gallagher now.

Indecent exposure to a minor

But Minnesota Statutes Section 617.23 makes “Indecent Exposure” a gross misdemeanor or felony if aggravating elements are also proven, such as presence of a minor under 16, prior similar convictions, or confinement.

Criminal Sexual Conduct Fifth Degree – minor under 16

If the accusation claims “lewd exhibition of the genitals in the presence of a minor under the age of 16, knowing or having reason to know the minor is present,” then the charge can be Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fifth Degree, Minnesota Statutes Section 609.3451 — a gross misdemeanor, unless enhanced to a felony by a prior similar conviction within seven years.  Though most sex crimes prosecuted as Criminal Sexual Conduct trigger predatory offender registration, Fifth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct does not unless charged as a felony.  You should consult an Indecent Exposure Attorney about this because the law is a bit complicated.

Disorderly Conduct

The typical alleged fact pattern could also be charged as a misdemeanor under Minnesota’s Disorderly Conduct Statute, Section 609.72, subd. 1 (3) “engages in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct or in offensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others.”  Charged under this law?  Call Indecent Exposure Attorney Thomas Gallagher.

Indecent Conduct – the amorous couple

First Amendment behind bars
First Amendment behind bars

Indecent Conduct crime allegations usually involve an amorous couple observed.  A prosecutor might charge such a case as Indecent Exposure given the right facts.  But usually they charge under more targeted laws, such as Minnesota Statutes Section 617.23, subdivision 1(3) “engages in any open or gross lewdness or lascivious behavior, or any public indecency other than behavior specified in this subdivision.”

Prosecutors rarely use City Ordinances to charge crimes.  But sometimes they use them to charge either an amorous couple, or someone police suspect of prostitution.

Discriminatory enforcement:  Police tend to enforce these crimes as “neighborhood livability crimes” or under “broken windows policing” policies.  Prosecutors enforce them disproportionately against impact low-income and minority-culture people.  An example is Minneapolis Ordinance 385.160. – Indecent conduct.

Public Urination

We have seen Public Urination cases charged as indecent exposure.  It may be possible to prove a person urinated in public in a prohibited way, without indecent exposure.  No Minnesota Statute criminalizes public urination.  Though, as an example, Minneapolis Ordinance  227.180 makes it a misdemeanor.  Charged with public urination?  Time for a strong defense.  Call Indecent Exposure Attorney Thomas Gallagher.

Nude Beaches

Agnès Sorel, known to appear topless in the French court, was the model for Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels, by Jean Fouquet (c. 1450)
Agnès Sorel, known to appear topless in the French court, was the model for Virgin & Child Surrounded by Angels, by Jean Fouquet (c. 1450)

What could be more natural than bathing or swimming nude?  Swimming and sunbathing nude is as American as apple pie.  How could that possibly be a crime?

Nudity is not indecent.

With consent of others there is no crime of exposure.  Are people showing at the gym criminals?

We’ve represented women targeted at twin cities nude beaches by male law enforcement officers.  Males at the beach outnumbered females 8 to 1.

Constitutional law may provide defenses to enforcement of such laws at nude beaches.

Most nude beaches either have warnings posted or are in remote areas. They are difficult to find unless looking.  This makes indecent exposure claims weak.

Consent is a defense.

Nude beaches involve First Amendment issues as well as privacy rights and jury nullification potential.  Nude beach charge?  Call Indecent Exposure Attorney Thomas Gallagher.

Female Breasts

Gallagher Defense logo grLaws criminalizing the exposure of female breasts violate the Constitution’s mandate of equal protection under the lawsMen can expose their breasts or nipples.  So it’s unconstitutional to make being female an element of a crime.  And yet many of our laws in Minnesota even today, pretend to do just that.

Question?  You can call Minneapolis Indecent Exposure Attorney Thomas C. Gallagher at 612 333-1500