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What is indecent exposure?

Indecent exposure is typically considered a misdemeanor that falls under Wisconsin’s definition of lewd and lascivious behavior. Indecent exposure is looked at as the intentional exposure of a male or female’s private parts in public. The law generally defines private parts as a female’s breasts, male’s and female’s genitals, or male’s and female’s buttocks. It also defines public places as areas outside the home, such as retail establishments, parks or outdoor areas where people may gather.

In most cases, it is not simply a matter of a person exposing one’s private parts in public for them to be considered to be breaking the law. Indecent exposure laws typically also require an additional component in which the people must be exposing themselves in an effort to solicit or seek sexual gratification. This means that if you accidentally expose yourself after jumping into a swimming pool, you would not be considered to be breaking the law.

Interestingly, a woman who exposes her breast in public for the purpose of breast feeding is viewed as a “natural occurrence” and is also not considered to be breaking the indecent exposure law.

Indecent exposure is usually considered a misdemeanor, but the penalties can still be severe. It could result in as much as up to nine months of jail time and you may face a $10,000 fine. If the sexual misconduct of indecent exposure occurs around minors, you could even face felony charges.

Defendants who are facing indecent exposure charges may find it beneficial to consult an experienced Wisconsin criminal attorney to assist them in their case.

Source: LawGuru, “Legal Question in Criminal Law in Wisconsin” Jay K Nixon, Dec. 03, 2014

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