In Florida, you can be charged with a crime for exposing your sexual organs, either in public or on someone else’s private property. Indecent exposure can even be charged in connection with seemingly harmless jokes or pranks. While it is usually charged as a misdemeanor, it can also be charged as a felony under certain circumstances. Convictions for indecent exposure or other sex crimes can have far-reaching consequences and may make it difficult to get a job or housing. At Hanlon Law, our St. Petersburg sex crime attorneys may be able to help you fight charges of this nature.Indecent Exposure
Under Florida Statutes section 800.03, a prosecutor trying to secure a conviction for indecent exposure will need to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you: (1) exposed or exhibited your sex organs in public or on another’s private property or close enough to be observed from private property, (2) in an indecent or vulgar or lewd or lascivious way. Alternatively, the prosecutor will need to show that you were naked in public in some place other than one set apart for purposes of being naked. Breastfeeding your child never violates section 800.03.
As set forth under Florida Standard Jury Instructions, Chapter 11.9, it’s not enough to simply be nude or exposed. Even so, “indecent” and “vulgar,” “lewd” and “lascivious” can be vague terms, encompassing a broad range of behavior. A lawyer with experience handling sex crime charges can help you argue that your conduct did not meet any of these definitions.
If you’re convicted of ordinary indecent exposure, you can face penalties for a first degree misdemeanor. This means you may be sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail or be fined a maximum of $1,000. With the help of a knowledgeable attorney, it may be possible to get the charges dismissed or arrange a plea deal involving probation and no incarceration.Lewd and Lascivious Exhibition Charges
Exposing one’s genitals can be charged as a felony if you do it in the presence of a child under age 16. You can be charged for: exposing your genitals in a lewd or lascivious way; intentionally masturbating; or intentionally perpetrating another sex act that doesn’t involve actual sexual contact or physical contact with an alleged victim such as by simulating an act involving sexual activity, sexual bestiality or S&M abuse. When that happens, you can be charged with lewd or lascivious exhibition, which is a felony under Florida Statutes section 800.04(7). Under section 800.09, indecent exposure can also be charged as a felony if you’re in a correctional facility and you expose yourself in front of an employee of that facility.
You can be charged with a third degree felony for lewd or lascivious exhibition committed in front of a minor under age 16, even if you are also younger than 18 years old. Third degree felony convictions can result in a sentence of a maximum of 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000. However, if you are over age 18 and are convicted of lewd or lascivious exhibition in front of someone younger than 16 years old, you can be charged with a second degree felony. Second degree felonies are punished harshly. You can face a maximum of 15 years of incarceration and $10,000 in fines.Consult a Knowledgeable Sex Crime Attorney in St. Petersburg
If you have been charged with indecent exposure in St. Petersburg, you can discuss the matter with a skillful and experienced sex crimes lawyer. While this is usually a first degree misdemeanor charge, even a misdemeanor conviction can leave you with a criminal record and put you at risk for harsher penalties and tougher negotiations if you are charged with an offense in the future. At Hanlon Law, our founder Will Hanlon has provided strong strategic defenses to the accused since 1994. Contact Hanlon Law at 727.289.0222 or via our online form.