Indecent exposure is a felony and carries from 30 days to 10 years in prison, up to $20,000 in fines, and sex offender registration for 15 years.
It is okay if you just had to re-read that sentence. The shock and confusion is justified. Most of my clients who come in with this charge pending have no idea of the range of punishment, and they are just as shocked. Honestly, some even think at first I am just making it up to scare them and create a false sense of urgency. By the time we have finished the first meeting and we have reviewed the law, they are confident in the advice, but still amazed what they are looking at as far as punishment.
What Actions Could Result in Your Arrest for Indecent Exposure?
Indecent exposure covers lots of conduct from the ubiquitous trench coat flasher, to the client masturbating in a movie theater, park bench, public bathroom, etc., to a couple engaging in a consensual sexual act in a public place or other place where people are present and can be annoyed or offended (sex in a car), to any other type and place of exposure of your genitals/privates designed to excite the sexual senses/desires of yourself or others.
Indecent exposure includes so many different acts and occurrences that people from all walks of life, all ages, genders, education level, religions, and backgrounds can be charged with this offense.
You do not even need to do anything to be charged. What? If someone thought they saw you exposed in public, that is enough. Ridiculous but true. The number of cases where someone swears they saw an individual exposed only to discover later they did not or could not have actually observed what they thought they saw is disturbing and troubling. It’s also troubling that the DA would even file a charge so casually with only the word of a passerby. It’s disturbing how little effort law enforcement put into investigating these charges, and disturbing how devastating the allegation is to the accused.
What Should You Do If You Are Charged With Indecent Exposure?
The charge is defensible in a great many cases, and certainly those cases without video evidence supporting the allegation and without a confession or statement to law enforcement by the defendant provide the greatest opportunities for success.
Details are extremely important in these cases. I will need to explore the story—your story—and the facts of the incident multiple times. The analysis starts there, with you, and only then moves on to reviewing and dissecting the police reports, videos, witness statements, to visiting the scene, taking measurements, etc.
Save everything you can about the incident. Maybe you can’t get into see me right away. In preparation for meeting with me, write down what happened, everything and every detail to include witness names, locations, statements, time, weather, etc. UNLESS you did it, then DO NOT put anything in writing, ever. Put the words “Attorney Work Product” at the top of everything you write. You are writing this in anticipation of litigation and to provide to your lawyer at his request.
In a high percentage of these cases the complexity of defending an indecent exposure charge can be the same as a rape or lewd molestation case. The stigma of a sex crime is still present. The jury will still demand the defendant prove he is innocent, and that same jury will turn our judicial system on its head in a second, with little thought or reservation about the adverse effect or consequences.
So if you are like a good number of my clients that believed this is a “no worry” charge and that the worst you are looking at is probation, community service, or a small fine, you know better now. There is more to learn about your case for both of us. Call attorney Lee Berlin right away to schedule your initial client meeting and to have him start on developing and preserving your defense as quickly as possible.
Indecent Exposure Charges vs. Acts Resulting in Gross Injury
Oklahoma Statutes Citationized Title 21. Crimes and Punishments Chapter 2 - General Provisions Section 22 - Acts Resulting in Gross Injury
Every person who willfully and wrongfully commits any act which grossly injures the person or property of another, or which grossly disturbs the public peace or health, or which openly outrages public decency, including but not limited to urination in a public place, and is injurious to public morals, although no punishment is expressly prescribed therefor by this code, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
21 O.S. §1021 - Indecent Exposure - Indecent Exhibitions - Obscene or Indecent Writings, Pictures, Etc. - Solicitation of Minors
Every person who willfully and knowingly either:
Lewdly exposes his or her person or genitals in any public place, or in any place where there are present other persons to be offended or annoyed thereby; provided, however, for purposes of this section, a person alleged to have committed an act of public urination shall be prosecuted pursuant to Section 22 of this title unless such act was accompanied with another act that violates paragraphs 2 through 4 of this subsection and shall not be subject to registration under the Sex Offenders Registration Act;
Procures, counsels, or assists any person to expose such person, or to make any other exhibition of such person to public view or to the view of any number of persons, for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer;
Writes, composes, stereotypes, prints, photographs, designs, copies, draws, engraves, paints, molds, cuts, or otherwise prepares, publishes, sells, distributes, keeps for sale, knowingly downloads on a computer, or exhibits any obscene material or child pornography; or
Makes, prepares, cuts, sells, gives, loans, distributes, keeps for sale, or exhibits any disc record, metal, plastic, or wax, wire or tape recording, or any type of obscene material or child pornography, shall be guilty, upon conviction, of a felony and shall be punished by the imposition of a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) nor more than Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00) or by imprisonment for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than ten (10) years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Every person who:
Willfully solicits or aids a minor child to perform; or
Shows, exhibits, loans, or distributes to a minor child any obscene material or child pornography for the purpose of inducing said minor to participate in, any act specified in paragraphs 1, 2, 3 or 4 of subsection A of this section shall be guilty of a felony, upon conviction, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for not less than ten (10) years nor more than thirty (30) years, except when the minor child is under twelve (12) years of age at the time the offense is committed, and in such case the person shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for not less than twenty-five (25) years.
Persons convicted under this section shall not be eligible for a deferred sentence.
Except for persons sentenced to life or life without parole, any person sentenced to imprisonment for two (2) years or more for a violation of this section shall be required to serve a term of post-imprisonment supervision pursuant to subparagraph f of paragraph 1 of subsection A of Section 991a of Title 22 of the Oklahoma Statutes under conditions determined by the Department of Corrections. The jury shall be advised that the mandatory post-imprisonment supervision shall be in addition to the actual imprisonment.
For purposes of this section, "downloading on a computer" means electronically transferring an electronic file from one computer or electronic media to another computer or electronic media.
INDECENT EXPOSURE -- ELEMENTS
No person may be convicted of indecent exposure unless the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the crime. These elements are:
Second, and in a lewd manner;
Third, exposed his/her person/penis/vagina;
Fourth, in a (public place)/(place where there were present other persons to be offended/annoyed thereby).