Indecent Exposure Law & Legal Definition


Indecent exposure is the crime of displaying one's genitalia to one or more other people in public view, usually with the intent to shock the unsuspecting viewer. While the crime is viewed as harmless by some, studies have shown that those who commit the crime are at risk of committing more serious crimes and being a danger to others.

In order for an indecent exposure conviction to be legally sufficient, the evidence must show the exposure was, among other things, "willful," "indecent," and in "public view." Exposing oneself while in one’s own house can constitute the offense of indecent exposure, as long as it is willful. Age is not an element of the crime, although an unclothed baby would not be deemed intentional or offensive as to fall under the statute.

The following is an example of a state statute dealing with indecent exposure:

"(A) No person shall recklessly do any of the following, under circumstances in which his or her conduct is likely to be viewed by and affront others, not members of his or her household:

  1. Expose his or her private parts, or engage in masturbation;
  2. Engage in sexual conduct;
  3. Engage in conduct that to an ordinary observer would appear to be sexual conduct or masturbation."