Lansing Indecent Exposure
Although seldom considered to be as egregious as other offenses in its class, indecent exposure is a sex crime according to both Michigan law and Lansing ordinance. Not only does it expose bystanders to unwanted sexual images, but these bystanders can include children, for whom such exposure can carry a negative psychological and/or behavioral influence.
Although those who purposely engage in flashing, streaking, and other forms of exposure often consider it harmless, the penalty can be far from entertaining and can include jail or prison time, stiff fines, and a record as a sex offender.
What Is Indecent Exposure?
Indecent exposure occurs whenever a person voluntarily displays his or someone else's private parts in view or potential view of the public. This offense includes the most common conceptions of indecent exposure, such as streaking or flashing, as well as less well known forms, such as relieving oneself behind a building, swimming nude (even when alone), and disrobing for a shower within view of a window.
Such actions may purposely expose an individual (as with flashing) or expose him accidentally. For purposes of the law, it makes no difference whether the exposure was purposeful or accidental or if you believed yourself to be alone or not. If you expose yourself anyplace where others may witness the action, you may be facing charges.
There is also a second class of offense called aggravated indecent exposure. This type of crime is more serious than simple indecent exposure and involves touching or fondling your or another person's private parts.
Where Can It Occur?
Although indecent exposure must take place within potential view of the public, the location does not have to be a public venue. It is possible to be in a private place and still commit a public offense. For example, lying nude inside a private Lansing home is permissible, since you are in a private place. However if you are within view of a window and you leave the blinds open so that you are within clear view of the street, such an action is a crime. Likewise, your car may be private property, but if you are undressed in the backseat, you open yourself up to an aggravated indecent exposure charge
Misdemeanor, Felony, or Both?
The law regarding indecent exposure can be confusing because, for both simple and aggravated cases, the text of the Michigan law reads “misdemeanor.” In addition, Lansing ordinances make no distinction between simple and aggravated indecent exposure, and infringement of a local statute is always a misdemeanor.
However, despite this, aggravated indecent exposure is not a misdemeanor – it is a felony. The wording in the law stems from the concept of a “hybrid” crime called a “high court misdemeanor.” However, for all practical purposes, including prison, these high-court offenses are and were felonies, and the term “two-year felony” may be used synonymously with it.
As with all other felonies, a conviction can send you to state prison and go on your permanent records. In some cases, you may also be required to register as a sex offender – a process that will place your name, photo, home address, place of employment and more into the public record for anyone in Lansing to access and view at their discretion.
This is one reason why retaining an experienced sex crimes attorney is so vital – although you may think the offense was petty, in the eyes of the law, the consequences can be severe. However, with the right representation, you can often get an aggravated charge reduced to a simple indecent exposure conviction, which keeps your record clean and minimizes your sentence.
What Are the Penalties
As a misdemeanor, simple indecent exposure carries the lightest penalty, but nevertheless can include up to one year of jail time and $1,000 in fines. The good news is that the maximum penalty is generally only paid by defendants who are poorly represented. An experienced attorney can often minimize such penalties and in some cases, help you avoid jail time altogether.
Aggravated indecent exposure incurs double the penalty, with up to 2 years in state prison and $2,000 in fines. Because this type of exposure is a felony, you will also have a criminal record that can hurt you personally and professionally for years to come. If the victim of your crime was under 18, you will also have to register as a sex offender each year for 15 years, pay a $50 annual fee, and update your registration each time you have a qualifying life change – even as small, in some cases, as changing your e-mail address or buying a new car.
Contact Grabel & Associates
Indecent exposure is an offense that can hang over your head for years. If you are being accused of such a crime, do not wait to act. Contact our lawyers at Grabel & Associates. Our team is ready for a fight and has an impressive track record in Lansing. We will work with you to build the best aggressive defense possible and see that your reputation remains intact. Call us for an emergency consultation 24/7 at 1-800-342-7896 or online here.