Indecent Exposure in Michigan
What Is Indecent Exposure?
Indecent Exposure, under Michigan law, refers very specifically to one person revealing his or her private body parts to another person who has no desire to see them. It also refers to the act of revealing the private body parts of another person against their wishes.
It is important to remember that Indecent Exposure is not one specific act, but rather, can refer to a range of behaviors in which one person’s naked body or private body parts are revealedexposed to another person.
This can include everything from “flashing”, where someone intentionally shows their genitalia to someone else in order to elicit a reaction, all the way to “skinny dipping” where someone is swimming in the nude and doesn’t even realize that they’ve been seen. People caught having sexual relations, or engaging in sex acts including touching, can also be charged with Indecent Exposure.
In Michigan, Indecent Exposure is divided into two categories, namely ‘Simple’ and ‘Aggravated’. The two are very different, and so the charges and punishments that follow conviction are very different.
Simple Indecent Exposure
Under Michigan law, Simple Indecent Exposure refers to a person “knowingly making any open or indecent exposure of his or her person to another person.” In other words, you have only to reveal your genitals or any other private body part to another person, or expose yourself in a situation where you know that there is a chance that others could see you, to be charged with Simple Indecent Exposure.
Simple Indecent Exposure is a misdemeanor under Michigan law, punishable by up to up to one full year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Aggravated Indecent Exposure
Aggravated Indecent Exposure refers to someone who exposes their genitals or private parts while at the same time fondling them where others can see. This includes fondling of the genitals, public area, buttocks, and if the offender is female, the breasts. Aggravated Indecent Exposure usually refers to someone who exposes himself for sexual gratification.
Aggravated Indecent Exposure is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison, with possible fines of up to $2,000, or both. Equally important, a conviction can land you on Michigan’s public Sex Offender Registry.
The law defines a sexual delinquant as being “any person whose sexual behavior is characterized by repetitive or compulsive acts which indicate a disregard of consequences or the recognized rights of others.” It also refers to someone who uses force to get another person to comply with sexual acts, or someone who commits “sexual aggressions against children under the age of 16.”
Under state law, if a person is considered by the court to be a sexual delinquent at the time that they committed an act of Indecent Exposure, they could be punished by a sentence of indeterminate time, up to and including life in prison.
Sex Offender Registry
In Michigan, Indecent Exposure is considered to be a sex crime. This means that anyone convicted of Indecent Exposure could be placed on the Michigan sex offender registry, depending on the circumstances.
Anyone convicted of Aggravated Indecent Exposure, or convicted of any form of Indecent Exposure while considered to be a sexually delinquent person, will be required to register as a sex offender. The length of time that they will be required to remain on the sex offender registry will be at the discretion of the Jjudge.
A person convicted of Simple Indecent Exposure may or may not be required to register as a sex offender, based on the individual circumstances of the case and the Jjudge presiding over their hearings. For example, someone swimming in the nude who didn’t realize that they were being observed is probably less likely to be required to register as a sex offender than someone who intentionally revealed their genitals to someone else.
What Exposed Body Parts Are Against The Law?
The Michigan Court of Appeals has defined Indecent Exposure as “the exhibition of those private parts of the person which instinctive modesty, human decency or natural self-respect requires shall be customarily kept covered in the presence of others.”
However that’s not exactly very clear, and leaves a lot open to interpretation. Which is one of the reasons that Indecent Exposure cases can be tricky – they are often based entirely on someone’s subjective opinion.
For example, a very revealing bikini worn by a woman may get no more than a passing notice while on the beach, but that same woman in that same bikini may result in criminal charges when worn into a restaurant.
For this reason, it is critical to have an experienced defense attorney working for you when faced with Indecent Exposure charges. In part because sex crimes need to be chandled carefully yet aggressively by someone who is familiar with them. And also because an attorney who has successfully defended against sex crime charges on many occasions in the past, will know exactly how best to represent you. And how to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Public and Private Places
Many people assume that for an act to count as Indecent Exposure, it needs to take place in a public setting. This, however, is incorrect. According to the law, the location where the exposure takes place has no effect on whether or not the act is illegal.
In other words, someone who exposes their genitals to someone else while waiting for a bus on the side of the road is just as guilty of a crime as someone who exposes themselves to someone else in their living room.
Breastfeeding Is NOT Indecent Exposure
While there are a number of people who find the sight of a woman breastfeeding to be offensive in some way, the law clearly states that a breastfeeding mother who is nursing a child or expressing milk for a child, is exempt.
This means that, even if someone is offended by a woman nursing a baby in a public place, their only viable option is to turn away and look at something else instead. The law clearly states that breastfeeding does not count as indecent exposure. This includes times when a mother’s areola or nipple is visible to others.
Indecent Exposure Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you or a loved one or family member has been charged with Indecent Exposure, you need an top notch excellent defencse attorney with many years of experience handling sex crime cases on your side immediately. Many people make the mistake of assuming that Indecent Exposure is “not that bad” or that the prosecutor is just trying to “scare you straight.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Indecent Exposure is considered to be a sex crime, and in Michigan, sex crimes are treated as very serious crimes warranting considerable time and attention from the prosecutor. If you are going to have any chance of walking away from this with little or no jail time, you are going to need an expert with decades of experience dealing with all manner of sex crimes in Michigan.
At The Kronzek Firm, our professional trial attorneys have decades of experience handling these type of cases. Using creativity, extensive knowledge, and our unique aggressive team approach, we will work hard to defend you and protect your rights from the abuses of overzealous prosecutors and law enforcement.