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Indecent Exposure in Maryland Explained

by | Aug 18, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Indecent exposure laws in maryland explained

What is indecent exposure?

Indecent exposure occurs when someone purposely exposes their private parts in public. Private parts of a person’s body are defined as their buttocks, genital area and a woman’s breasts. Indecent exposure may be a form of sexual pleasure for the accused person. There are many reasons why these types of incidents happen.

For some people, this may be a one-time occurrence. Others may look for specific targets to bother or offend on a repeated basis. They could see this type of behavior as revenge against a former romantic partner, employer or other party. Some may simply be incapable of understanding what they are doing or the consequences of their actions.

Is indecent exposure a crime?

Indecent exposure is considered a misdemeanor offense in the state of Maryland. It is not as serious as other sex crimes, but that doesn’t mean that it should be ignored, either. This can be especially true if the incident was designed to harass or bother specific people or if young children or vulnerable adults witnessed such an act.

Perpetrators should be held accountable for their actions, even if the act wasn’t intentional. The incident could be brought to trial if one or more witnesses can confirm that the act happened. The action must have been in a public place. Indecent exposure laws do not apply for activities that occur in an individual’s personal residence.

What are the penalties for indecent exposure?

A person who is convicted of indecent exposure in Maryland may be ordered to pay a fine of no more than $1,000 and serve up to three years in jail. The judge may require that the defendant be required to register as a sex offender as well. This typically only applies to any crimes that could be viewed as sexual offenses against children who were under 18 years of age at the time that the incident took place.

Penalties may increase if the person has been convicted of indecent exposure multiple times. The judge could also add more jail time and fines if the suspect has been convicted of indecent exposure and other sex crimes.

What can I do if I’ve been accused of indecent exposure?

You may opt to hire legal counsel to represent you in a court of law if you’ve been accused of indecent exposure. You’ll need to prove that the indecent exposure act did not happen, such an action was not in public and/or no intent to shock or harm anyone actually existed.

Mothers who breastfeed their children in public may at times be accused of indecent exposure. Breastfeeding in public is allowed under current Maryland law, so this type of complaint may be easier to disprove than other indecent exposure accusations in a court of law. Nudity in private residences or wardrobe problems could also be dismissed depending on the evidence and testimony that is presented in those specific cases.

Indecent exposure cases are commonly brought up in local courts. There must be evidence that can support the claim that the defendant intentionally exposed their private parts to others. This incident must also have occurred in a public area. Any persons who observed such an act don’t necessarily need to be present in the actual area where the exposure occurred. Intent to commit indecent exposure isn’t mandated for such cases in Maryland at this time. The accused may have tried to deliberately hurt or offend someone, or the act could have been purely accidental.

Even if the act wasn’t intentional or there was no actual crime committed, being accused of indecent exposure can create a negative stigma. The accused’s personal relationships may be called into question or become strained as a result. It can take some considerable time and effort to regain respect and improve their reputation.

It may even affect a person’s employment. Maryland is an at-will-to-work state which means employers may terminate employment at any time without cause, explanation, or prior warning. If an employer learns or suspects that one of their workers has been accused or convicted of indecent exposure, they may suspend or fire that person immediately. Things can be especially difficult if that individual was also accused or convicted of other additional sex crimes.

What should I do if I’ve witnessed indecent exposure?

You should report an act of indecent exposure to local law enforcement immediately. Be prepared to answer any questions honestly to the best of your knowledge. You should be prepared to support your claims and stand up to any counterclaims or questions that a defense attorney will present during the case.

If other people saw the act, they may be called to testify on your behalf. Testimony will be gathered and presented at trial. Remember that what happened is not your fault, and you have every right to stand up for yourself.

It’s true that indecent exposure isn’t nearly as serious as other kinds of sex crimes and that some people are apt to re-offend at some point. That doesn’t mean that indecent exposure incidents shouldn’t be reported. Sometimes it could be a wake-up call for the offender. The charge or conviction could be just what they need to decide to turn things around.

Indecent exposure isn’t an easy subject to talk about, whether you’ve been accused of it or have witnessed an act by someone you know or even a complete stranger. That’s why we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Our trained professionals will listen to what you’ve experienced. They will provide valuable advice and can even represent you in court if you wish.

Our primary goal is to get you back to enjoying life again. You may have to endure some rough patches and bumps in the road for a while, but that’s okay. It will take a while for things to get back to normal. For some, it may only take a few days or weeks. Others might not feel comfortable for several months or even years. Once you start waking up and looking forward to what you have to do that day, you’ll know that all of your hard work and patience has finally paid off.