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Public Indecency Laws by State 2024

Public Indecency Laws by State 2024

Public indecency laws vary across states in the United States, with each state having its own statutes defining what constitutes indecent exposure and the corresponding penalties. In general, public indecency refers to intentionally exposing one's genitals or engaging in sexual acts in public places where others are likely to be offended, alarmed, or annoyed by such conduct.

These laws typically aim to preserve public decency and prevent situations that could lead to discomfort or harm to individuals in the vicinity. Offenses related to public indecency are often classified as misdemeanors or felonies depending on factors such as the nature of the conduct, the presence of minors, and prior convictions.

Here are some key points regarding public indecency laws in the United States:

  • Classification of Offenses: Public indecency offenses are often classified as misdemeanors, but they can escalate to felonies, especially in cases involving repeat offenses, exposure to minors, or aggravating factors.

  • Types of Prohibited Conduct: Common types of prohibited conduct include exposing one's genitals, engaging in sexual acts, or behaving in a lewd or indecent manner in public places.

  • Intent and Circumstances: Many state laws require that the conduct be intentional, meaning that the individual knowingly engaged in behavior that would offend others. The circumstances in which the conduct occurs, such as the presence of minors or the location, also play a significant role in determining whether an offense has occurred.

  • Penalties: Penalties for public indecency offenses vary widely depending on the severity of the conduct and applicable state laws. Misdemeanor offenses may result in fines, probation, community service, or jail time, while felony offenses can lead to more severe consequences, including imprisonment.

  • Legal Definitions: State statutes provide specific definitions of what constitutes public indecency, including the actions that are prohibited and the elements necessary to establish guilt. These definitions may vary from state to state, so it's essential to consult the relevant laws for accurate information.

  • Enforcement and Prosecution: Law enforcement agencies are responsible for enforcing public indecency laws, and prosecutors handle cases involving alleged violations. The legal process typically involves investigation, arrest, charging, trial, and potential sentencing if the individual is found guilty.

It's essential for individuals to be aware of public indecency laws in their state and to exercise caution and discretion in public settings to avoid inadvertently violating these laws. Additionally, seeking legal guidance from qualified professionals can provide valuable insights and assistance in navigating issues related to public indecency allegations or charges.

Public Indecency Laws by State 2024

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Possible Penalties
Legal Definitions
AlabamaClass A misdemeanor (1st & 2nd offense), Class C felony (3rd offense onward)A person commits the crime of indecent exposure if, with intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire of himself or herself, or of any person other than his or her spouse, he or she exposes his or her genitals under circumstances in which he or she knows the conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm.
AlaskaClass A or Class B misdemeanor; or Class B or Class C felony, depending upon age of victim and offender's conduct during the act.Purposely expose their genitals in complete disregard to the offensive nature of the act.
ArizonaClass 1 misdemeanor Class 6 or Class 3 felonyPublic Indecency is defined as recklessly exposing the genitals, anus or female areola around individuals who may be reasonably offended by the act (breast-feeding excluded). Sexual indecency are criminalized.
ArkansasClass A misdemeanor (1st-3rd conviction), Class D felony (4th-5th conviction within 10 years of prior), Class C felony (6th conviction onward)A person violates Arkansas indecent exposure laws if, with the purpose to arouse or gratify a sexual desire of himself or herself or of any other person, the person exposes his or her sex organs in public place or anywhere where is likely to cause affront or alarm.
CaliforniaMisdemeanor (most cases), Felony (2nd offense onward or if entry onto premises was w/out consent)California's indecent exposure law makes it a crime to willfully, and with intent to draw public attention, expose your genitals for sexual gratification.
ColoradoClass 1 petty offense (1st offense), Class 1 misdemeanor (2nd offense onward)Public Indecency law prohibits exposing your genitals or your intimate body parts, and having sex, in public. Indecent exposure is the crime of knowingly exposing your genitals to someone else to satisfy sexual desire.
ConnecticutClass B misdemeanorPublic Indecency law prohibits exposing your genitals or your intimate body parts, and having sex, in public.
DelawareClass A misdemeanor, Unclassified misdemeanorA man or woman commits first-degree indecent exposure if he exposes his genitals or buttocks to a person who is less than 16 years under circumstances in which he knows his conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm.
FloridaMisdemeanor of the first degree, Felony of the third degree, Felony of the second degreeIt is it unlawful for a person to expose or exhibit his or her sexual organs in public or on the private premises of another, or so near thereto as to be seen from such private premises, in a vulgar or indecent manner, or to be naked in public except in any place provided or set apart for that purpose.
GeorgiaMisdemeanor, Felony (3rd conviction onward)A person commits the offense of public indecency when he or she performs any of the following acts in a public place: An act of sexual intercourse; A lewd exposure of the sexual organs; A lewd appearance in a state of partial or complete nudity; or a lewd caress or indecent fondling of the body of another person.
HawaiiPetty misdemeanorIntentionally exposing your genitals to someone, other than to your spouse, under circumstances that are likely to cause affront.
IdahoMisdemeanor, Felony (2nd conviction onward)Procures, counsels, or assists any person so to expose his or her genitals, where there is present another person or persons who are offended or annoyed thereby is guilty of a misdemeanor.
IllinoisClass A misdemeanor, Class 4 felony (3rd conviction onward), Class 4 felony (if committed within 500 feet of a school)In Illinois, the crime of public indecency includes a lewd exposure of the body in a public place.
IndianaClass C misdemeanor, Class B misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanor, Level 6 felony (2nd conviction onward)In Indiana, it is illegal to be nude in public intentionally. There are three different nudity crimes in Indiana: Indecent exposure, Public indecency, Public nudity
IowaSerious misdemeanor, Aggravated misdemeanor (Masturbating in a child's presence)A person who exposes the person's genitals to another not the person's spouse, or who commits a sex act in the presence of or view of a third person, commits a serious misdemeanor if The person does so to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either party; and the person knows or reasonably should know that the act is offensive to the viewer.
KansasClass B nonperson misdemeanor, Severity level 9, person felony (if victim is under age 16)Kansas law prohibits public exposure of sex organs with an intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desires of the offender or the viewer.
KentuckyClass B misdemeanor (1st- or 2nd-degree indecent exposure), Class A misdemeanor, Class D felony (3rd conviction for 1st-degree indecent exposure)It is illegal exposing one's genitals under circumstances that would cause affront or alarm to another person.
LouisianaFelonyAny person who intentionally exposes, in an indecent manner, the genitalia, anus, buttocks, or female areola or nipple is guilty of indecent exposure and shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
MaineClass E crime (1st & 2nd conviction), Class D crime (3rd conviction onward), Class D crime (Visual sexual aggression against a child), Class C crime (Visual sexual aggression against a child under 12)Maine has two separate statutes prohibiting the exposure of genitals: Indecent conduct and visual sexual aggression against a child.
MarylandMisdemeanorMaryland prohibits the intentional display of private parts in public and does not require that the offender have an intent for sexual gratification.
MassachusettsMisdemeanor (Indecent exposure) Felony (Open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior)Public Indecency ncludes the intentional exposure of genitalia, buttocks, or female breasts, but has the additional element that it must be done in such a way as to produce actual alarm or shock.
MichiganMisdemeanorAny individual who exposes his or her person or another individual's person and does so knowingly, in a way that is open or indecent, is guilty of indecent exposure.
MinnesotaMisdemeanor, Gross misdemeanor or Felony, Dependent upon victim's age, offender's prior, and whether offender restricted the victim's movement.n Minnesota, lewdly exposing one's private parts is prohibited in a public or private place.
MississippiMisdemeanor (1st & 2nd offense), Felony (3rd offense onward)In Mississippi, it is considered indecent exposure to willfully and lewdly expose one's body or private parts in public or in any place where others are present.
MissouriClass B misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanor, Class E felony or Class D felony (Sexual misconduct involving a child)It is illegal to expose your genitalia to others in public. While this crime is commonly referred to as “indecent exposure,” it is known as “sexual misconduct” in Missouri.
MontanaMisdemeanor (1st & 2nd offense), Felony (3rd offense onward), Class D felony (If committed in presence of child under age 18)Montana's indecent exposure law requires that the offender act with the intent to harass another person or to sexually gratify themself or another person.
NebraskaClass II misdemeanorIt is a crime to engage in intercourse, expose your genitals, or fondle another person in public.
NevadaGross misdemeanor (1st offense), Class D felony (2nd offense onward), Class D felony (If committed in presence of child under age 18)In Nevada, indecent exposure is an open and indecent or obscene exposure of private parts. Indecent exposure does not require proof of intent to offend another or that the exposure was observed.
New HampshireMisdemeanor, Class B felony (If committed in presence of child under age 16), Class B felony (2nd conviction onward), Class A felony (Two or more previous felony convictions)The New Hampshire state criminal code prohibits sex acts and uncovered genitalia in public. The law is specifically concerned with lewd actions that are intentionally offensive.
New JerseyDisorderly persons offense, Crime of the 4th degree (Seen by a child under age 13), Crime of the 4th degree (Seen by person w/ a "mental disease or defect")In New Jersey, indecent exposure is called lewdness: "exposing the genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or any other person.”
New MexicoMisdemeanor (Indecent exposure), Fourth degree felony (aggravated indecent exposure)New Mexico prohibits intentionally exposing genitals to public view. Aggravated indecent exposure requires an intent to intimidate or threaten another person and that a minor is present or the offender commits another crime while exposing their genitals.
New YorkClass B misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanorA person is guilty of public lewdness when he intentionally exposes the private or intimate parts of his body in a lewd manner or commits any other lewd act (a) in a public place, or (b) in private premises under circumstances in which he may readily be observed from either a public place or from other private premises, and with intent that he be so observed.
North CarolinaClass 2 misdemeanor, Class H Felony (If in presence of a child under age 16)North Carolina prohibits willfully exposing “private parts of his or her person in any public place and in the presence of any other person or persons.
North DakotaClass A misdemeanor (1st offense), Class C felony (2nd conviction onward), Class C felony (On or within 50 feet of school property), Class B felony (Priors and on or within 50 feet of school property)To be convicted of indecent exposure in North Dakota, a person must act with an intent to arouse, appeal to, or gratify their own lust, passions, or sexual desires while exposing their private parts.
OhioMisdemeanor of the fourth degree, Misdemeanor of the third degree, Misdemeanor of the second degree, Misdemeanor of the first degree, Felony of the fifth degree (3+ priors and a minor is present)Ohio's public indecency statute outlaws indecent exposure of a person's private parts.
OklahomaFelonyAny individual who lewdly exposes their “person” or genitals in any public place will be charged with indecent exposure.
OregonClass A misdemeanor (Public or private indecency), Class C felony (Repeat offenders)Oregon has two statutes outlawing indecent exposure: Public indecency and private indecency. The public indecency law prohibits sexual acts in public, including exposing one's genitals for sexual gratification. The private indecency law prohibits exposure of the genitals to a person who does not consent in a manner that would alarm or annoy that person.
PennsylvaniaMisdemeanor of the second degree, Misdemeanor in the first degree (if victim is under age 16)A person commits indecent exposure if that person exposes his or her genitals in any public place or in any place where there are present other persons under circumstances in which he or she knows or should know that this conduct is likely to offend, affront or alarm.
Rhode IslandMisdemeanor (1st offense), Felony (2nd offense onward)Rhode Island's indecent exposure law prohibits exposing one's genitals for sexual gratification in a manner that likely will alarm or distress another person.
South CarolinaClass A MisdemeanorIt is unlawful for a person to wilfully, maliciously, and indecently expose his person in a public place, on property of others, or to the view of any person on a street or highway.
South DakotaClass 2 misdemeanorA person commits the crime of public indecency if the person, under circumstances in which that person knows that his or her conduct is likely to annoy, offend, or alarm some other person, exposes his or her anus or genitals in a public place where another may be present who will be annoyed, offended, or alarmed by the person's act.
TennesseeClass B misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanor (3rd offense onward)It is a crime to engage in intercourse, expose your genitals, or fondle another person in public.
TexasClass B misdemeanor (Indecent exposure), Felony of the third degree (Indecency with a child)Texas has two separate crimes prohibiting exposing genitals with the intent of sexual gratification: Indecent exposure and indecency with a child.
UtahClass B misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanor, Third degree felony (Repeat offenders or if child was present)Utah has two separate statutes that prohibit indecent exposure: Lewdness and lewdness involving a child. Both offenses are misdemeanors, but lewdness involving a child carries higher penalties.
VermontMisdemeanor (Open lewdness), Felony (Open lewd and lascivious conduct), FElony (Lewd and lascivious conduct with a child)No person shall publicly make an indecent, immodest or immoral exhibition of his person, or of any animal or thing, nor commit any nuisance in or upon any street, public place, common, park, or place of public resort.
VirginiaClass 1 misdemeanor, Class 6 or Class 4 Felony (3rd offense on or if child is present)Every person who intentionally makes an obscene display or exposure of his person, or the private parts thereof, in any public place, or in any place where others are present, or procures another to so expose himself, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
WashingtonMisdemeanor, Gross misdemeanor, Class C felonyIn Washington, indecent exposure means making an open and obscene exposure of one's private parts knowing that the exposure likely will cause reasonable affront or alarm.
West VirginiaMisdemeanor, Felony (Third or subsequent offense)In West Virginia, indecent exposure is an intentional exposure of private parts under circumstances that are likely to cause affront or alarm. The penalties for indecent exposure are higher if the exposure was done for the purpose of sexual gratification.
WisconsinClass A misdemeanorPublic Indecency is prohibited under Wisconsin's lewd and lascivious behavior statute.
WyomingMisdemeanorPublic Indecency is prohibited by Wyoming's public indecency statute. The offender must have the intent to arouse the sexual desires of themself or another person.
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