Florida Indecent Exposure LawFlorida 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.
Establishing IntentOne 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 LocationAnother 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 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.