TAMPA INDECENT EXPOSURE LAWYER
Work with an Experienced Former Prosecutor
When you hear “indecent exposure,” you probably think about a fraternity member flashing their friends or other trivial behavior. While indecent exposure may not sound like a big deal, the punishments one could face if convicted are no laughing matter.
Indecent exposure is considered a misdemeanor and can result in a jail sentence and fines, not to mention everyone knowing that you have a sex crime conviction on your record. If you’ve been accused of indecent exposure, you need Tampa’s top criminal defense attorney to represent you.
Before becoming a criminal defense attorney, Andrew Buda was once a prosecuting attorney, so he knows how they will build their case against you in order to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. At Buda Law, your legal team will evaluate your case and build a defense strategy to refute the prosecution’s evidence. When working with an experienced attorney like Andrew Buda, your chances of receiving a lesser sentence or having the charges against you dismissed or dropped are much higher than if you were to forgo legal representation.
Indecent Exposure Florida Statute
Florida Statute Section 800.03 defines the actions that constitute indecent exposure and the punishments for those crimes. According to this statute, anyone that is naked or exposing his or her sexual organs in public or on private property in a vulgar or indecent manner is guilty of indecent exposure.
Having a wardrobe malfunction would not constitute an indecent exposure arrest. The display of sexual organs needs to be done in a way that exhibits an offensive sexual desire, also known as “lewd or lascivious acts.” This is why sunbathing in public is not considered indecent exposure but can be punishable under Florida Statute 877.03, disorderly conduct.
Like with all criminal offenses, the accused’s intent is crucial in proving the person’s actions warrant indecent exposure charges. If a person accidentally exposed their sexual organs or did not act with lascivious intent, the charges could be dropped or dismissed.
With the passing of HB 675 in 2020, police officers no longer need a warrant to arrest or detain any person that has committed indecent exposure. Before, law enforcement would need to obtain a warrant before arresting anyone accused of indecent exposure, which made catching these individuals difficult. Now, anyone that has committed the act can be arrested on-site as long as the act was witnessed first-hand. Florida’s HB 675 also increased the penalties for those with prior arrests for exposure of sexual organs, making any future arrests for the act a third-degree felony charge.
Florida Statute Section 800.03
The penalties for an indecent exposure conviction are severe and can remain on a person’s criminal record for the rest of their life. Under Florida Statute 800.03, a person merely being naked in public does not warrant an indecent exposure arrest unless it’s proven that they acted with intent to expose themselves in a lewd, vulgar, indecent, or lascivious manner.
You can face charges for indecent exposure if you perform one of the following acts:
- Exposing or exhibiting sexual organs in public or on the private property of another in a vulgar or indecent manner; or
- Being naked in public and behaving in an indecent or vulgar manner
There are exceptions to Florida Statute 800.03 where a person can be nude or naked and not risk being arrested for indecent exposure. This statute excuses any nudity in areas specifically designed or set apart for this purpose. Examples of these types of places are changing rooms and showers at public swimming pools.
Elements Required For an Indecent Exposure Charge
In order for a person to be charged with indecent exposure, the following elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, according to Florida Statute 800.03:
- The defendant either exposed a sexual organ or exhibited a sexual organ.
- The act happened in a public place, on another person’s private property, or close enough to a person’s private property where the sexual organ could be visible.
- The act was committed in a vulgar or indecent manner.
The statute clearly states that women breastfeeding their babies in public are exempt from violating this statute.
If you were arrested but were in a changing room, public shower, or breastfeeding your child, you should not face indecent exposure charges. Florida Statute 800.03 is very clear on what constitutes indecent exposure and what the exceptions are to this law. If you’re facing criminal charges under this statute, you need an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney like Andrew Buda representing you.
Examples of Indecent Exposure
There are several examples of indecent exposure cases in Florida that the court system found sufficient evidence to convict individuals under Florida Statute 800.03. One case, in particular, is Ross v. State 876 So. 2d 684, 686 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2004). Jeffrey Ross was accused of wearing shorts without underwear to Wal-Mart that were extremely short, leading to the possibility of exposing his penis in public. During the trial, witness testimony supported claims that the defendant purposely exposed himself by constantly pulling his shorts up, making them even shorter. Following a bench trial, the court found the defendant’s behavior fell under the vulgar or indecent manner defined under statute 800.03.
Under Florida law, other behaviors that can lead to an indecent exposure arrest are:
- Skinny dipping
- Sunbathing in the nude
- Urinating outdoors
- Participating in sexual acts in public
- Performing sexual acts in front of a window
- Mooning or flashing someone
- Walking around your home naked with windows or curtains opened
- Leaving a window or curtain open while using the bathroom
Penalties for Exposure of Sexual Organs in Florida
Indecent exposure crimes are usually considered a first-degree misdemeanor and are punishable with a jail sentence of up to one year and a maximum fine of $1,000 if the alleged victim is over 16 years old. In some cases, the penalties can be reduced to a year of probation, attending counseling, and other requirements in exchange for jail time. Even though this offense is considered a sex crime, those convicted will not always be required to register as sex offenders.
If the indecent exposure happened in front of a child, however, the penalties are much harsher than those mentioned above. According to Florida law, any lewd or lascivious exhibition in front of a child is considered child abuse regardless of whether physical or sexual contact occurred. Penalties for these sex crime charges include:
- A maximum 15-year prison sentence
- Becoming a registered sex offender
- Mandatory counseling
- Work and housing restrictions
- Permanent criminal record
A person convicted of showing his or her sexual organs can also face public stigma surrounding the indecent exposure charges. The conviction can affect relationships with their friends and family members and impact current and future employment opportunities, college or graduate school applications, professional licenses, and more.
An indecent exposure offense can affect a person more than just having a criminal charge on their record. If you’ve been accused of this offense, contact a Tampa sex crimes attorney today.
Can an Indecent Exposure Charge Be Expunged in Florida?
If you were charged with indecent exposure, you may qualify to have your record expunged under certain circumstances. The exposure of sexual organs under this statute must have been dismissed or dropped in order to qualify for expungement, and you cannot have any other convictions in Florida on your record. If you were convicted of exposing sexual organs, you will not be eligible.
When facing indecent exposure charges, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you’ve been arrested is essential. Even though these charges are considered misdemeanor offenses, the repercussions and penalties from a sex crime conviction can remain with you forever. If you were charged with exposing sexual organs in Florida, it’s important that you do everything you can to avoid a conviction, as this charge can qualify for sealing or expungement. Contact attorney Andrew Buda today to discuss your indecent exposure charges with one of the leading Tampa criminal defense lawyers.
How Our Tampa Criminal Defense Attorneys at Buda Law Can Help
It’s always advised to seek legal representation when accused of any criminal offense, no matter how minor the charges are. Even a first-degree misdemeanor conviction can have a lasting impact on a person’s life, especially one like indecent exposure, due to the social repercussions that come with it. If you’ve been arrested on indecent exposure charges, a sex crimes attorney like Andrew Buda can evaluate these charges and create a defense strategy to refute them.
Some common defense strategies used against indecent exposure allegations are:
- The person unintentionally exposed their sexual organs.
- They were breastfeeding.
- The alleged indecent exposure act occurred on private premises, and there were no witnesses to the act.
- The individual was not aware that others were present.
- The person was unaware that their sexual organs were visible to others.
Being charged with indecent exposure based on nudity alone does not fall under Florida Statute 800.03. The prosecuting attorney must prove that a person exposed themselves with the sole purpose of committing vulgar or indecent acts. Hiring a criminal defense attorney with experience handling sex crime cases is essential when refuting the indecent exposure charges made against you.
For a Free Consultation, Call Florida Sex Crimes Attorney Andrew Buda Today
Even though indecent exposure may sound like a minor offense, the penalties one faces if convicted include jail time, fines, and having those charges follow them forever. When applying for a job, a home, or anything else that requires a background check, that conviction will be visible for anyone to see.
If you’ve been wrongfully accused of indecent exposure or exposure of sexual organs, you need the best legal representation to defend you against these charges. Former prosecuting attorney turned criminal defense lawyer Andrew Buda has experience with these cases on both sides of the courtroom. As soon as you’ve been arrested on indecent exposure charges, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Buda Law. The sooner you obtain legal representation, the sooner your legal team can start working on your defense.
To discuss your exposure of sexual organs charges with Tampa indecent exposure attorney Andrew Buda, contact Buda Law at 813-322-2832 for a free consultation today.