The term ‘indecent exposure’ tends to conjure the image of some drunk guy, urinating in a parking lot after staggering around in search of a bathroom. Or perhaps you think about a furtive man in a public park, wearing nothing but a trench coat that he whips open as soon as some young girl walks by. But that’s only part of the story. Under Michigan law, the term Indecent Exposure is not specific to men, urination, public parks, or trench coats. And if you didn’t know that, then you’re in for a surprise!
Indecent Exposure, as it is defined in Michigan’s penal code, refers simply to one person “knowingly making any open or indecent exposure of his or her person or of the person of another.” In other words, intentionally revealing any part of your body that is considered to be private to another person without their consent. That’s it.
While the standard interpretation of Indecent exposure tends to involve men, the perpetrator could just as easily be a woman. And the body parts would refer to any part of the body that is usually kept covered in polite society. This would refer to a man’s buttocks or genitals, or a woman’s buttocks, genitals, or breasts.
Indecent Exposure is a misdemeanor punishable in Michigan by imprisonment for up to one year, or a maximum fine of $1,000, or both. But it doesn’t end there. Revealing oneself “indecently” to another person is one thing, but when that unsolicited peep show also includes what the law defines as “fondling”, the nature of the crime changes and so do the consequences.
Aggravated Indecent Exposure is defined as a person “fondling his or her genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if the person is female, breasts” while exposing themselves to someone else against their will. In this case, the crime is still considered to be a misdemeanor of sorts, but the punishment becomes two years in jail and fines of up to $2,000.
In addition another consideration should be the issue of the sex offender registry. Under Michigan law, most people convicted of sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders. This can mean fifteen or twenty five years of being considered a sex offender. Some people, depending on the severity of the crime, are on the list for life. In the case of Aggravated Indecent Exposure, it is a requirement.
The most important piece of information we would like you to take away from this however, is the fact that this doesn’t have to be the case. If you or a loved one have been accused of exposing yourself to someone else against their wishes, then you should have an experienced sex crime defense attorney. That means someone with decades of experience defending those accused of sex crimes.
Before we wrap this up however, Chuck Kronzek, one of our most sought-after felony sex crime defense attorneys, would like to remind our readers of a very important fact when it comes to what counts as indecent exposure, and what doesn’t. “A mother who is breastfeeding, or expressing breast milk in a public place, is not considered to be indecently exposing herself. She cannot be arrested or prosecuted for indecent exposure.”