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Phoenix Indecent Exposure Attorney

Are you facing criminal charges for indecent exposure in Phoenix, AZ? While it might seem like a relatively minor offense, it’s important to understand that a conviction for indecent exposure carries some very serious consequences – especially if a minor was involved. The stakes are high, so you need to make sure that you work with a Phoenix indecent exposure defense lawyer who can help to get the best possible results in your case.

That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to call the Orent Law Offices as soon as you can after your indecent exposure arrest. Craig Orent is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist by the Arizona State Bar and has more than 30 years of experience navigating all criminal matters in Phoenix. You can benefit from his unparalleled experience and insight by calling our Phoenix law firm. Your first consultation is free, so reach out to us for help as soon as you can.

What is Indecent Exposure?

Indecent exposure, as defined in Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1402, occurs when a person “exposes his or her genitals or anus or she exposes the areola or nipple of her breast or breasts and another person is present, and the defendant is reckless about whether the other person, as a reasonable person, would be offended or alarmed by the act.”

In simple terms, indecent exposure means exposing private and intimate body parts to another person and, as a result, offending or alarming them.

Arizona law states that breastfeeding a child is explicitly excluded from this definition. So, nursing mothers cannot be charged with indecent exposure for simply feeding their young children in public. [§13-1402(b)]

What Does the State Have to Prove If I’m Charged with Indecent Exposure?

Remember, just because you’re arrested or charged with a crime doesn’t mean that your future is over. The state has the responsibility of proving that you’re guilty of committing the crime. In order to do this, state prosecutors have to successfully establish every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Here’s a breakdown of what exactly prosecutors have to prove.

You Exposed Yourself

Indecent exposure requires that you actually expose yourself in the presence of another person. Further, the offense requires that you expose one or more very specific body parts. For men, this includes the penis, scrotum, or anus. For women, it includes the vagina, anus, breast, nipple, or areola.

It’s not enough to threaten to expose yourself or to pretend to expose yourself. You must actually expose a designated part of your body (as discussed above).

You Must Have Acted in the Presence of Another Person

So, under Arizona’s indecent exposure law, it’s not necessarily a crime to stand in the middle of an empty park while naked. That’s because §13-1402 requires that your actions occur in the presence of another person. However, keep in mind that you don’t have to know someone else is there. If you are naked int he middle of a park and someone happens to walk by without you knowing, you could potentially be charged with a crime.

What about standing in your own backyard? Or in your home? That brings us to the next requirement.

You Must Have Been Reckless About Whether or Not You’d Offend Others

It’s not a crime to be naked. It’s not a crime to expose yourself to your partner or a doctor when you’re seeking medical care. It’s only a crime to expose yourself when doing so would probably offend or alarm a reasonable person. Recklessness means that you’re aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk, but disregard it and act, anyway. In other words, you know that exposing yourself would probably cause someone to get upset or offend them, but you do it anyway.

So, back to the question about whether you can stand naked in your own backyard. It really depends. If you’re somewhere where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy or honestly think you can’t be seen by anyone else, your conduct probably isn’t reckless. However, if you know that you’re in a place where others can easily see you or where you don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy, your decision to expose yourself might be considered reckless. It all depends on where you are and what you’re thinking.

What Are the Penalties for Indecent Exposure in Phoenix?

Arizona law explains that indecent exposure can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specific circumstances and details of a case.

Indecent exposure is a Class 1 Misdemeanor when this is a first offense and the victim is at least 15 years old. A Class 1 Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $2,500.

Indecent exposure is a Class 6 Felony if you have at least two prior indecent exposure convictions on your record. When the crime is a Class 6 Felony, a conviction can lead to one year in prison or two years for an aggravated offense.

Indecent exposure is a Class 3 Felony when the victim is under the age of 15. As a Class 3 Felony, a conviction carries between 3 and a half years and 8 years and 9 months in prison.

There are times when you could face more severe consequences for exposing yourself to another person in  Phoenix. This is true if:

  • You also threatened or actually caused serious physical injury
  • You exposed yourself while taking or damaging property
  • You used or threatened to use a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
  • You were a public servant at the time of the act
  • You have a prior felony conviction on your record
  • The victim was 65 years of age or older, or
  • The act was committed as a hate crime.

When aggravating factors are present, the court will consider mitigating factors (e.g., your age, mental capacity, lack of a criminal record) and determine what additional penalties might be warranted.

Do I Have to Register as a Sex Offender If I’m Convicted For Indecent Exposure in Arizona?

For a first offense, no. However, if you have a prior conviction for indecent exposure on your record, it’s possible. You will have to register as a sex offender in the state of Arizona after a conviction for indecent exposure if:

  • This is at least your second conviction for exposing yourself to someone under the age of 15, or
  • This is at least your third conviction for indecent exposure.

You do not want to have to register as a sex offender. That can fundamentally change your life as you know it forever, long after your name is removed from the list. The only way to stop that from happening is to make sure that you defend yourself as best you can. Our experienced sex crimes lawyers can help.

Defending Indecent Exposure Charges

You have the right and will have the opportunity to defend yourself against your indecent exposure criminal charges. There are several arguments that can be raised in your defense. These include:

  • You did not actually expose yourself
  • You exposed a part of your body that’s not prohibited
  • You’ve been falsely accused
  • You’ve been mistakenly identified as the perpetrator
  • You were under duress, meaning that you were forced to expose yourself by another person
  • You weren’t in the presence of another person, or
  • You did not believe that another person would be offended or alarmed.

These are all ways to explain, excuse, and even justify what happened. As part of your defense strategy, our attorneys will also identify ways to undermine the state’s case against you. The best way to do that is by determining if your rights were violated at any time and, if so, challenge the validity and legality of the state’s evidence. If a court agrees that your rights were violated, we might be able to get the evidence dismissed or, better yet, the charges against you dropped.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Phoenix Indecent Exposure Attorneys

If you are facing criminal charges for indecent exposure in Phoenix, AZ, do not hesitate to call the Orent Law Offices for immediate legal assistance. The state has likely already begun building its case against you. So, there’s no time to waste. The sooner you call our Phoenix law office for help, the sooner our accomplished criminal defense attorneys can begin to work on your defense.

When you sit down with our team, we will listen to your story, review the charges against you, and do our best to answer any questions you have. Your first case assessment is free, so call now.