Protecting your rights against public indecency charges in Columbus

Public indecency, also known as indecent exposure, is often charged for a situation that may have multiple interpretations. These charges can be confusing, but the maximum penalty is severe. If charged with public indecency, you could face a felony charge and potentially be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.  

With jail time and hefty fines upon conviction, you need a good criminal lawyer to watch out for your best interests. At Scott & Nolder Law Firm, our public indecency defense attorneys will get straight to work, conducting a full investigation into the validity of the charges, the collection of evidence, witness testimonies, and possible civil rights violations. We will fight for your rights and help you evaluate all of your options to ensure the best possible results.

What is public indecency?  

According to the Ohio Revised Code, you can be charged with public indecency if you expose your “private parts”—i.e., male or female genitals or female breasts—in a public place or in front of others while not in your home or another area where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  

Generally, there are three types of actions that count as public indecency:  

  • Public exposure of private parts 
  • Publicly engaging in sexual activity or masturbation 
  • Publicly engaging in conduct suggestive of sexual activity or masturbation  

The State of Ohio’s rules concerning public indecent exposure line up with those in other states. Public urination or defecation, however, is considered disorderly conduct instead of public indecency in the State of Ohio. It should also be noted that outside of the City of Columbus, the exposure of female breasts is considered public indecency; the City of Columbus, however, does not consider female toplessness to be a crime.  

How can an indecent exposure attorney help you?  

Often, public indecency charges arise because of bad luck or a misunderstanding, and there are several common defenses used against these sorts of charges, including: 

  • You never exposed your genitals 
  • You made an attempt to find a private place 
  • You didn’t intend for your actions or motions to be construed by others in the ways that they were 

Because crimes of this nature are not black and white, the process of facing charges for public indecency involves a lot of interpretation. In this case, a lawyer experienced in protecting people charged with sex offenses may be a major asset to your case in regard to getting the charges reduced or dropped altogether.  

Penalties for Public Exposure

Public indecency can be charged as anywhere from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a fifth-degree felony, depending on the circumstances. A simple arrest for public nudity that could be considered harmless is more likely to carry a misdemeanor charge, whereas more serious and egregious actions are more likely to carry a first or second-degree misdemeanor or even a fifth-degree felony charge. The charge depends on factors such as where the incident occurred, who was present, and whether the defendant has any history of criminal activity, especially crimes of a similar nature.  

Ohio indecent exposure laws state that convictions of public indecency will result in a criminal record and may also require registration as a sex offender. If you are convicted of being exposed in public, you may receive up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine for a Fourth Degree Misdemeanor or up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for a First Degree Misdemeanor. Indecent exposure can also be charged as a felony, especially if the crime was committed in the presence of a minor or if the person has prior convictions for public indecency. An indecent exposure penalty for a Fifth Degree Felony may result in six-twelve months in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

What makes public exposure a felony in the State of Ohio?  

Indecent exposure is typically classified as a misdemeanor unless the lewd acts were performed in view of minors. If you perform any acts of public indecency in the presence of minors, you can be charged with aggravated indecent exposure, which is often viewed as a felony. 

If you have similar prior convictions, aggravated public indecency may also be considered. Although it is up to the discretion of the court, those convicted of indecent exposure felony charges may be mandated to register as a sex offender in the State of Ohio for a minimum of 10 years.  

If you have been charged with public indecency, the excellent team at Scott & Nolder Law Firm has the knowledge and skills to challenge the allegations and secure the best possible outcome for your case. Indecent exposure laws are specific when it comes to intent, and prosecutors often run into trouble proving intent when faced with a strong defense. Before answering questions from law enforcement, make sure to consult with one of our exceptional defense lawyers. We will ensure that your rights are protected, providing sound advice and aggressive representation.

Contact us to speak with the best defense lawyer for public indecency charges by calling (614) 221-9790!

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