Indecent exposure or public nudity may seem harmless enough, but it can carry severe consequences. In many states, such an offense can actually land someone on the sex offender registry. Arizona is one such state.
The definition of indecent exposure or public nudity varies a little from state to state. Generally, however, people are guilty of indecent exposure if they expose their genitals in the presence of another person, causing them to be offended or alarmed.
If a person does expose his or her genitals in the presence of another, he or she is not necessarily guilty of indecent exposure. There are three main legal defenses that people can use to defend themselves against allegations of indecent exposure or public nudity:
If a person’s public nudity was politically motivated, a judge could rule it protected speech under the First Amendment. For example, if a protester stripped down to support clothing for the poor, the action could be protected by the U.S. Constitution.
People can be charged with indecent exposure on private property if they knowingly expose themselves to passersby. If, however, people do so unintentionally, it will probably not constitute an offense.
Most of the time, indecent exposure requires a sexual element. If there is no sexual or lewd motive, the charge may not hold water.
Being charged with sex crimes is no laughing matter. Indecent exposure may not seem like a huge deal to most people, but it can have lasting consequences, especially if an offender is required to enter the sex-offender registry. Anyone facing charges for indecent exposure or public nudity needs to take the matter seriously. The best thing to do in this situation is consult a criminal defense attorney. Experienced defense attorneys can help their clients achieve a favorable outcome.