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Indecent Exposure and Public Lewdness

Indecent exposure and public lewdness are both crimes that can have serious repercussions for those convicted of these types of offenses. While both of these crimes involve genitalia or sexual acts, the sentences for each are very different. However, repeat offenders experience how seriously states take this type of crime.

Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure involves exposing of genitalia or areas of the body, such as the breasts or buttocks. Acts such as these are crimes when they offend the public or are intended to do so. For indecent exposure to be considered a crime, there would have to be a likelihood that exposure of these parts of the body would offend others. This crime is more concerned with the behavior of the defendant and not those around them.

Sentencing for Indecent Exposure

The charge that comes with indecent exposure is classified as a misdemeanor. A sentencing for this type of crime can include six months in jail and a fine of $200. More jail time and fines can be given to a person who has been convicted of this crime multiple times. An example of indecent exposure would be public urination or sexual acts that are not considered severe. Click here for the Arizona punishments.

Public Lewdness

Public lewdness is a crime that consists of one or more people engaging in sexual acts in public. Many times public lewdness can be categorized as someone carrying out a sexual act that would only be considered appropriate in private. Rather than simply being partially exposed in public, which would likely be categorized as indecent exposure, public lewdness requires the person involved to be intentionally trying to alarm or cause distress to someone.

Sentencing for Public Lewdness

Public Lewdness is often classified as a felony and carries with it much heavier penalties. A first offense can cause a person to be put into jail or prison for 3 years and face fines of $300 or more. Not only will prison and heavy fines burden a person, but most charged with this crime will also be required to register as a sex offender. An example of public lewdness would be masturbation or sexual intercourse that is conducted in public. Click here for the Arizona punishments.

Both indecent exposure and public lewdness are crimes that involve exposure of genitalia or sexual acts. While indecent exposure can be accidental, public lewdness often involves intent on the part of one person to shock or offend another. While indecent exposure is a misdemeanor and public lewdness is a felony, both charges can eventually lead to someone being required to register as a sex offender. This registration is life altering and can lead to problems with employment and even the location in which one buys a home.


This article is provided by Brett Podolsky a Certified Criminal Law Specialist in Houston, TX. For more information on Public Lewdness, please see his website here:

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