Not all sex crimes involve unwanted touching or harm to another individual. For example, people that allegedly display their private parts in public may be charged with indecent exposure. A conviction for any sex crime can cause permanent harm to a person’s rights and reputation and may lead to jail time and fines. As such, if you are accused of indecent exposure or any other sex offense it is critical to speak to an attorney about your potential defenses as soon as you can. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a trusted Ann Arbor criminal defense lawyer who has the experience and skills required to achieve positive outcomes in sex crime cases, and if you hire him, he will fight to help you protect your interests.Indecent Exposure Charges in Michigan
Pursuant to Michigan law, it is unlawful for a person to intentionally make any indecent or open exposure of themselves or another person. The applicable statute does not clarify what constitutes an open or indecent exposure. Generally, however, it means that a person displays their unclothed pubic area, genitals, or buttocks, or those of another individual in a public area.
Notably, the display of the aforementioned body parts does not have to be sexual in nature for a person to be charged with indecent exposure. For example, people that urinate outside or swim naked can be charged with indecent exposure, regardless of whether other people are present to observe them. While typically, the display of naked female breasts in public constitutes indecent exposure, the law does expressly provide exceptions for breastfeeding mothers. Specifically, it states that a mother expressing breast milk or breastfeeding a child is not considered obscene or indecent conduct. This is true regardless of whether the mother’s nipple or areola is visible during or as a consequence of the process.
Indecent exposure is a misdemeanor. Generally, the penalty for indecent exposure is up to a year in prison, a fine of up to $1,000.00, or both. In cases in which a person is convicted of aggravated indecent exposure, the courts may impose more significant penalties.Defenses to Indecent Exposure Charges
Under Michigan law, in order to establish guilt for indecent exposure, the prosecution must prove each element of the offense. Among other things, this means it must demonstrate that the defendant acted with intent and that the exposure happened in public rather than a private place. If the prosecution is unable to establish any element of the crime with which the defendant is charged, the defendant should be found not guilty.
Typically, the prosecution will not have direct evidence that the defendant committed an indecent exposure offense but will rely on circumstantial evidence. While people can be found guilty based on circumstantial evidence alone, the prosecution nonetheless has to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, they must offer evidence that so strongly weighs in favor of the defendant’s guilt that when presented with such evidence, no reasonable person could come to any conclusion other than that the defendant committed the crime in question. As such, if a defendant can call the prosecution’s evidence into question, they can show that the prosecution has failed to meet its burden of proof and that they should be found not guilty.Talk to a Skilled Ann Arbor Attorney
People that expose themselves in public, even for a moment, can face life-altering consequences. If you are accused of indecent exposure, it is in your best interest to talk to a lawyer about the accusations against you. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a skilled Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney who understands the importance of obtaining a favorable verdict in criminal cases, and if you engage his services, he will craft persuasive arguments on your behalf. Our office is located in Ann Arbor, and we regularly defend people charged with sex crimes throughout Michigan, including cities in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, East Lansing, and Flint. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at (734) 883-9584 to set up a free and confidential meeting.