Florida Indecent Exposure Law

Florida law prohibits anyone from displaying, exhibiting, or exposing their sexual organs in a public place or while in public view. However, in order to convict someone of this offense, a prosecutor must demonstrate a series of specific elements contained in Florida Statute 800.03, including that the defendant:
  • Actually exposed his or her sexual organs;
  • Was in a public place, on someone else’s private property, or in close proximity to and within sight of private property;
  • Intended to expose him or herself in a crude, offensive, lascivious, or lewd manner; and
  • Did expose him or herself in an indecent or vulgar manner.
If one of these elements is missing, a defendant may be able to avoid conviction.

Establishing Intent

One of the most important elements that prosecutors must establish during trial is the defendant’s intent, which to support a charge of indecent exposure, must have been lewd, lascivious, or vulgar in nature. According to state law, lewd, vulgar, lascivious, and indecent all have the same meaning, which is an unlawful indulgence or a licentious or sensual intent. In order to fall under the definition of lewd or lascivious, a person’s actions must also offend someone who saw the act or substantially intrude upon another person’s rights. When this intent is lacking, it is much more difficult to convict a defendant of indecent exposure. For instance, someone who suffers a wardrobe malfunction and accidentally exposes a body part in public does not have the required intent to justify a conviction. Similarly, public nudity on a beach or public urination, if done with no lascivious intent, will probably not qualify as indecent exposure.

Public Location

Another crucial element that must be established by a prosecutor to obtain a conviction for indecent exposure is that the defendant actually displayed a sexual organ in public. Generally, to meet this requirement, prosecutors must provide evidence that the accused engaged in the activity while he or she was:
  • In public;
  • On someone else’s private property; or
  • Close enough to someone else’s private property as to be visible to others.
In fact, the state can even file charges of indecent exposure when defendants are accused of exposing themselves on their own private property. However, this is only possible if the prosecution can also show that the defendant knew that others could see him or her at the time of the incident.

In Florida, a public place is defined as any location that was designed or intended for the use of the general public. In cases where someone is accused of exposing him or herself in public, prosecutors are not required to prove that someone else was offended by the act. The display itself in these situations is enough to constitute indecent exposure. However, when a person is charged with exposing him or herself in a private place that is outside of the view of the general public, the state cannot obtain a conviction without first providing evidence that someone was offended by the action.


Those who are accused of indecent exposure in Florida can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison. In certain cases, however, when a prosecutor alleges aggravating circumstances, indecent exposure will be charged as a felony offense. This is especially common when defendants who are over the age of 18 years old are accused of exposing their private parts to someone who is younger than 16 years old. In these situations, a defendant can be charged with a second-degree felony even if the alleged interaction occurred online. Second-degree felonies can require a defendant to spend up to 15 years in prison and pay a $10,000 fine, or both, although in some cases, the charges may be lowered to a third-degree felony if the offense was committed by someone who was also under the age of 18 years old. Third-degree felonies still have serious consequences, as they are punishable by fines of up to $5,000 and a five-year prison sentence. Depending on the circumstances, a defendant could also be required to register as a sex offender.

Potential Defenses

There are a number of defenses available to defendants who have been charged with indecent exposure. For instance, Florida law clearly states that breastfeeding in public will never fall under the category of indecent exposure. Defendants can also present evidence that their intent was not lewd or vulgar in nature or that the exposure was never intended to be viewed by others.
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