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Wrongful Accusations of Indecent Exposure

Posted on December 12, 2023 in Sex Crimes

The crime of indecent exposure in Arizona can lead to a felony conviction in Arizona with serious penalties, including a prison term of up to 15 years under aggravating circumstances. If you or someone you love has been wrongfully accused of indecent exposure, it is critical to contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible for assistance. A lawyer can help you understand and defend your rights as a suspect in an indecent exposure case.

Elements of the Crime of Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure is defined in Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) Section 13-1402 as exposing one’s genitals or anus (or the areola or nipple of a female’s breast) while another person is present, if the defendant is reckless about whether the other person, as a reasonable person, would be offended or alarmed by the act. This offense does not include a mother who is breastfeeding.

To convict an individual of indecent exposure, the following elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant willfully (knowingly and intentionally) exposed his or her genitals or her nipple or areola in the presence of another person.
  • The exposure occurred in a public place or where it was likely to be seen by one or more casual observers.
  • The defendant exposed himself or herself with reckless indifference as to whether the other person present would reasonably be offended or alarmed.
  • The defendant acted in a lewd manner during the exposure by intentionally directing attention to his or her genitals or private parts.

An indecent exposure conviction is a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona if the other person involved is at least 15 years of age. However, if the other person was under the age of 15 or the defendant has two or more prior convictions for indecent exposure, it is a class 6 felony. The penalties for indecent exposure can include jail or prison time, a fine of up to $2,500, probation, registration on Arizona’s sex offender list, and mandatory counseling.

Legal Defenses Against Indecent Exposure Charges

If you get wrongfully accused of indecent exposure, the best way to protect yourself is by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. An indecent exposure defense lawyer can craft the strongest possible defense strategy in your favor to help you avoid the penalties associated with this offense.

Examples of potential defenses include:

  • Lack of willful intent to expose your private parts in front of another person.
  • No other person was present or the event occurred on private property.
  • Consent between parties regarding the exposure.
  • Lack of sexual motivation behind the indecent exposure.
  • Insufficient evidence to prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • False accusation based on revenge, jealousy or anger.
  • Mistaken identity or incorrect defendant.

If you are accused of indecent exposure due to public urination, for example, it may be possible to pose a defense such as lack of willful intent (if you made an effort to limit the public’s exposure) or lack of sexual motivation. The right defense could protect you from jail time and other serious potential penalties associated with a conviction.

Contact an Arizona criminal defense lawyer at AZ Defenders to discuss your case and legal defense options if you have been wrongfully accused of indecent exposure.