Indecent Exposure Laws or Public Sexual Indecency

Arizona has criminalized sexual acts done where another person can see them.  Like Indecent Exposure Laws, Public Sexual Indecency for a violation of Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS 13-1403) is a lower-level sex offense, but one that aggravates and still carries harsh penalties.

To prove that a person committed Public Sexual Indecency in violation of A.R.S. § 13-1403, the State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant intentionally or knowingly engaged in any of the following:

  • An act of sexual contact
  • An act of oral sexual contact
  • An act of sexual intercourse, or
  • An act of bestiality

while another person was present and the defendant was reckless about whether the other person, as a reasonable person, would be offended or alarmed by the act.

A.R.S. § 13-1401 defines the first three of the prohibited acts:

  • Sexual contact is “any direct or indirect touching, fondling or manipulating of any part of the genitals, anus or female breast by any part of the body or by any object or causing a person to engage in such contact;”
  • Oral sexual contact is “oral contact with the penis, vulva or anus.”
  • Sexual intercourse is “penetration into the penis, vulva or anus by any part of the body or by any object or masturbatory contact with the penis or vulva;”

Bestiality is defined by A.R.S. § 13-1411 as engaging in the above with an animal or causing another person to do the same.  Animals are defined as a “nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian, either dead or alive.”

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What Is the Punishment for Public Sexual Indecency

The punishment for Public Sexual Indecency depends largely on the age of the alleged victim and whether or not a person has prior convictions.

If the alleged victim is 15 years of age or older, then a conviction for Public Sexual Indecency in violation of A.R.S. § 13-1403 is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.  A Class 1 Misdemeanor carries a maximum punishment of 6 months in jail, $2,500 fine plus surcharges, and up to 3 years of probation.  Sex offender registration is discretionary.

If the alleged victim is under 15, and the defendant was reckless about whether a minor under the age of 15 is present, then Public Sexual Indecency is a Class 5 Felony. 

It carries a potential prison sentence of 6 months to 2.5 years, up to lifetime probation, and discretionary sex offender registration, as well as a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges.  If you have prior felony convictions then the prison range becomes significantly harsher and the offense becomes ineligible for probation.

A violation of Public Sexual Indecency pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-1403 also aggravates from other prior convictions.  If you are convicted of felony Public Sexual Indecency and have two or more historical prior felony convictions for a violation of either Public Sexual Indecency pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-1403 or Indecent Exposure pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-1402 involving public sexual indecency or indecent exposure to a minor under 15 then there is a mandatory prison range of 6 years to 15 years, with no probation available.

Defenses to Public Sexual Indecency

Many defenses can be raised in Public Sexual Indecency.  First is attacking the mental state that the State has to prove.  An effective sex crimes attorney will argue that you did not act intentionally or knowingly, and that you were not reckless in whether the victim would be offended or alarmed.

Next, the specific acts can be attacked.  Often times in these cases the victim does not have a good line of sight, or thinks they see something they didn’t.  If they think they saw you masturbating, but in fact you were massaging your sore leg, that would be a defense.

Finally, an independent investigation guarantees that all possible explanations for false reports are explored and that the victims’ motive and bias are found if they exist.

A good sex crimes attorney also ensures that your constitutional rights are protected, including:

  • Miranda rights
  • Right to counsel
  • Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful searches and seizures

Indecent Exposure

Although Indecent Exposure is one of the less punished sex offenses in Arizona, it still carries harsh penalties than can follow you forever.  It is also an offense that aggravates – the more convictions you have, the worse it gets.

To prove that you committed Indecent Exposure in violation of Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 13-1402 the State must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you exposed your genitals or anus, or if you are a woman, the areola or nipple of your breast, and another person was present, and you were reckless about whether the other person, as a reasonable person, would be offended or alarmed by the act.

Breast feeding is specifically excluded by the statute.

Punishment for Indecent Exposure

Like almost all sex offenses, the age of the victim changes the punishment for a conviction for Indecent Exposure for a violation of A.R.S. § 13-1402.

If the victim is 15 years or older, then Indecent Exposure is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.  A Class 1 Misdemeanor carries a maximum punishment of $2,500 in fines (plus surcharges), 6 months in jail, and up to 3 years of probation.  Registration as a sex offender is discretionary, meaning the sentencing judge would be allowed to make that decision.

This aggravates if you have two or more prior convictions for Indecent Exposure or a prior conviction for Sexual Assault.  If that is the case then Indecent Exposure for a violation of A.R.S. § 13-1402 becomes a Class 6 Felony.  A Class 6 Felony carries a potential prison term of 4 months to 2 years, a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges, and probation up to 3 years.  Sex offender registration is discretionary.  If you have prior felony convictions then the prison range can increase and the offense would become ineligible for probation.

If the victim is younger than 15 then a conviction for Indecent Exposure for a violation of A.R.S. § 13-1402 is a Class 6 Felony.  It carries a prison range of 4 months to 2 years, maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges, and is eligible for lifetime probation.  Sex offender registration is discretionary.

The aggravating nature of Indecent Exposure continues on, however.  If you are convicted of a felony violation of Indecent Exposure and have two or more historical prior felony convictions for a violation of Indecent Exposure or Public Sexual Indecency to a Minor under age 15, then the offense becomes a Class 3 Felony.  It would carry a mandatory prison range of 6 to 15 years.

How Do You Defend an Indecent Exposure Charge?

An experienced sex crimes attorney attacks the State’s narrative.  This can be done by some of the following techniques:

  • Showing that the exposure alleged was physically impossible
  • Arguing that the other person would not have reasonably been offended or alarmed
  • Ensuring that your Constitutional rights are guaranteed, including your Miranda rights and right to counsel.

Mitigation is also important so as to avoid some of the discretionary punishments, like sex offender registration.  A sex crimes attorney may have you:

  • Conduct a psychosexual risk assessment with a psychologist
  • Gather character references
  • Provide information about your background to the court and prosecutor

An allegation for Indecent Exposure doesn’t have to result in horrible consequences.  These are defensible cases, provided that you know what you are doing.  Gurion Legal offers free consultations for anyone charged with Indecent Exposure.  The first step is discussing your case so we can begin working on a defense custom-built for your case.

Get a Consultation for sex crimes like Indecent Exposure and Public Sexual Indecency

Because Public Sexual Indecency carries with it the potential for such harsh penalties, you need an experienced and aggressive sex crimes attorney in your corner.  Gurion Legal offers the benefit of a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist leading the charge on your case.  Contact us today for your free consultation so we can start making a defense custom-built for your case.

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