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The finer details of indecent exposure as a crime

Most states have indecent exposure laws that make it illegal to expose one's genitals in a public setting, causing other people to be offended or alarmed. While not always the case, a person often commits this crime for his or her own sexual gratification or to solicit sex from another.

Indecent exposure laws vary from state to state, but nothing changes the basic definition: to expose your bare genitals.

More so than many laws, there is a lot of gray area when it comes to indecent exposure. For example, a woman showing a bare breast is not considered to be indecent exposure. Furthermore, people who show their underwear in public, regardless of how revealing the clothing may be, is not indecent exposure.

What about urinating in public? There are times when a person may decide to urinate in public for a variety of reasons. In this case, it all comes down to whether or not the person was doing so for the sole purpose of sexual arousal, which is not typically the case.

For first time offenders, a indecent exposure conviction typically leads to penalties such as a fine and/or a short stint in county jail. If this becomes an ongoing issue, however, repeat offenders can find themselves with a state prison sentence.

It is possible that people could be charged with indecent exposure, despite the fact that they actually committed another crime. This is why it is important for people to understand the finer details of indecent exposure laws, including what it means to partake in such illegal activity.

Source: FindLaw, "Indecent Exposure," accessed Aug. 24, 2015

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