The term “indecent exposure” comes with a host of mental pictures – usually the guy in the trench coat flashing people on the street – that may not tell the whole story about what that charge means.
If you are facing an indecent exposure charge, it’s probably not funny to you, even though this crime is classified as a misdemeanor. In certain cases, as with aggravated indecent exposure, crimes are handled and prosecuted as felonies. These are called “High Court Misdemeanors.”
First, let’s define indecent exposure. Most of these charges involve having a private part exposed, but you might be surprised to find out that urinating behind a building is indecent exposure. So is walking around naked in your own home if there is a way someone might see you from outside – yes, even if they are peeking.
As crazy as it might sound that walking in one’s own home could be called a sex crime, the fact is, merely having a private body part exposed in a place where someone could see it – even if no one is around – is, by law, indecent exposure.
No sexual perversion, flashing or audience is required for you to be charged if you are guilty of this action. Makes you think twice about using the alley to relieve yourself behind the bar ever again, right? It should.
You don’t want to be facing the stigma of a sex crime on your record and registry on the national sex offenders list because of a stupid prank or hasty decision. Many times these charges involve being “discovered” by a police officer in the middle of the act and there’s no chance that witness is not showing up to court. Better safe than sorry. However, if you are facing this kind of charge, call for help.
Aggravated Indecent Exposurewas charged with aggravated indecent exposure after masturbating in front of a woman in the Rochester Hills Meijer parking lot. He ultimately turned himself in after a tip and a police search.
The law was amended for cases such as this: the man had intended to be seen by this woman because it was a means of sexual gratification to him, and aggravated indecent exposure is seen as a more serious crime.
High Court Misdemeanors
High Court Misdemeanors, unlike a typical misdemeanor which is always handled in the local district court, start in the district court but must be finalized in the county’s circuit court. They also carry more severe charges – up to two years in prison and $2,000 or both, whereas indecent exposure is only up to 1 year in prison and $1000 or both.
The irony here is, of course, that it’s possible a man sitting in a parked car in a busy parking lot (which is another place this happens) airing his business for the women getting in their cars next to him could be said to be committing less of a crime than the young couple getting too carried away in their car.
It’s pretty clear which situation the law was written, and amended, for and it is possible to avoid the charge of aggravated indecent exposure if your situation truly does not warrant it.
A Solid Defense
A good defense lawyer will first try to get indecent exposure charges dismissed. If this can’t be done, the next most important thing will be to get that felony (or what amounts to a felony) charge reduced to a true misdemeanor. This could be accomplished through a plea bargain and if that’s possible, everything would be handled at the district court and keeps the case from going to the county’s circuit court.
As mentioned earlier, there is a possibility of registration on the sex offender registry for this kind of charge. It’s only after 3 indecent exposure convictions or 2 aggravated indecent exposure convictions that a person would be facing registry. However, who wouldn’t want to avoid the stigma of an indecent exposure conviction showing up on your permanent record?
If you’re facing a charge of indecent exposure or aggravated indecent exposure, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Please call The David J. Kramer Law Firm, PLLC today.
Let’s start fighting to protect your freedom