Miami Indecent Exposure Lawyers

Indecent exposure lawyers banner image Miami law prohibits the exposure or exhibition of one’s sexual organs, both in public and on someone else’s private property. However, before a person can be convicted of violating Fla. Stat. 800.03, prosecutors must prove that the defendant was either in public, on private property, or within sight of someone else’s private premises, and exposed his or her sexual organs. Further, the individual must have intended to expose him or herself in a vulgar manner. In fact, it is unlawful to ever be naked in public except in places that have been provided and set apart for that purpose. When all of these elements can be established, a person can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Public vs Private Property

One of the ways to be convicted of indecent exposure in Miami is to expose oneself in a public place, which is any place that was designed to be frequented by members of the general public. When a person has been accused of exposing him or herself in public, it is not necessary to prove that someone else was offended by the act. This is because courts have determined that when a lewd act occurs in public, it is automatically objectively offensive or inherently intrudes upon the rights of others because it is intentional. Instead, proof of the exposure is enough to justify a conviction, as long as the exposure was lascivious in nature. When a person exposes him or herself on private property that is within sight of others, however, prosecutors will be required to prove that someone else was offended by the conduct before a conviction can be obtained. In fact, charges can even be filed against those who allegedly exposed themselves on their own property, but only if there is evidence that the defendant knew that others could see him or her.

Demonstrating Intent

A conviction for indecent exposure often hinges on the issue of intent, as exposure can only be prosecuted if the defendant had lewd, lascivious, or vulgar intent. These three terms all mean that the person exposed him or herself with an unlawful or sensual intent. Without this element, it is extremely difficult to prove indecent exposure. If, for instance, a person accidentally exposed a body part in public, he or she could not be convicted of indecent exposure, as there was no lewd intent. Public nudity on a beach where this conduct is permitted will also not usually qualify as indecent exposure.

Typical Penalties

Indecent exposure is usually considered a misdemeanor offense. However, there are situations where the offense could be upgraded to a felony. For example, when the defendant in question was over the age of 18 years old at the time of exposure and the victim was under 16 years old, he or she could be charged with lewd or lascivious exhibition under Fla. Stat. 800.04(7), which is a second-degree felony. Defendants who are accused of exposing a sexual organ to a minor face additional penalties, as these individuals are required to register with the state as sex offenders. Sex offenders are required to re-register with law enforcement twice a year and must also provide them with specific information about their living arrangements, employment, and travel plans. In fact, registered sex offenders are prohibited from working with or living near children and will have their address and identity posted on the state’s online registry, which is available to the public. When the defendant is also under the age of 16 years old, the charge will be reduced to a third-degree felony. It is also a felony offense for someone who is detained in a correctional facility to expose him or herself in the presence of an employee. A person can also be charged with lewd and lascivious exhibition if he or she:
  • Intentionally exposes his or her genitals in a lewd manner
  • Intentionally masturbates
  • Intentionally commits any other sexual act that does not include physical contact in the presence of someone under the age of 16 years old
These acts are all considered second-degree felonies.

Potential Defenses

There are a variety of possible defenses available to those who have been accused of indecent exposure, including that:
  • They did not have a lewd or lascivious intent;
  • They never intended or expected to be viewed by others;
  • The exposure was unintentional; or
  • The incident did not occur in public.
It is also important to note that under Miami law, breastfeeding in public is never considered indecent exposure.
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