In the Commonwealth of Virginia, a person can be charged with indecent exposure for engaging in sexually offensive behaviors or exposing themselves in public. You could face a lengthy jail sentence and large fine and would have a permanent criminal record if you are convicted of this offense. In addition, you would be required to register as a sex offender.
Two Indecent Exposure Crimes in Virginia
Indecent exposure is usually charged as a misdemeanor offense. However, it can be elevated to a felony if an individual intentionally exposes their private parts to a minor under 15 years old or propositions them to expose their private parts.
Under Virginia Code §18.2-387, there are two indecent exposure offenses that a person can be charged with committing. Both are Class 1 misdemeanor crimes. They are:
- Indecent exposure. The law defines indecent exposure as intentionally making a display or exposure of an individual’s intimate or private body part in public or a place where other people are present. The indecent exposure can be of breasts, buttocks, or genitalia.
- Obscene sexual display. Virginia Code §18.2-387 also makes it a crime to make an obscene sexual display. For this offense to be committed, there must be actual or explicit simulated acts of masturbation in a public place or where other individuals are present.
Punishments for Indecent Exposure Offenses
The penalty is the same for a conviction of indecent exposure or obscene sexual display. If convicted, you could be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,500.
If the charge is a felony because the indecent exposure was in front of a minor under 15 years old, the punishments are much harsher. You could face a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a hefty fine.
What You Should Do If You’re Arrested for an Indecent Exposure Crime
If you are charged with an indecent exposure offense, you need to exercise your constitutional right to remain silent and not talk to the police. Any statements you make would be used against you.
Your next step should be to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. You could have strong defenses—even if you believe you are guilty—that may result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
The knowledgeable lawyers at The Wilson Law Firm will aggressively fight to achieve the best possible outcome in your criminal case. To find out more about how we can defend you, start a live chat or call our Manassas office to schedule a free consultation today.