Under Florida Law, it is illegal to display your sexual organs in a public place or any private place that can be seen by the public. The Exposure of Sexual Organs statute, more commonly referred to as indecent exposure, requires that the exhibition of your private parts be in a vulgar or indecent matter. In a criminal law court, each of the elements of this offense must be proven by the State beyond and to the exclusion of any reasonable doubt. In order to be found guilty of indecent exposure, a person must (1) willfully or intentionally expose themselves (2) in a public place (3) before others. No victims need to be harmed by this exposure; they merely need to be annoyed by it.
All laws come with exceptions and the indecent exposure statute isn’t any different. The most notable exception, since it is explicitly written into the statute and has sparked recent debate on social media, is breastfeeding. Almost all states, Florida being one of them, explicitly protects the right for mothers to nurse their newborns in public. A mother who is breastfeeding her child in public is excluded from criminal liability in any circumstances under this statute. Although a mother of a newborn shouldn’t hesitate to engage in this natural activity, they often do as the public often ridicules women who elect to do so. Recent social media campaigns have lodged an attack on individuals giving mothers a hard time for breastfeeding. The campaign often offers videos and pictures, comparing provocative women in bikinis to women breastfeeding and asking, “Why is the first one acceptable?”
Other exceptions for indecent exposure are more technical than anything-if they don’t violate this statute, they are likely to fall under another category.
Lewd activity that is sexual in an offensive or rude way, and lascivious, activity that is demonstrates sexual desires, must be accompanied with nudity in order to be convicted of this crime. However, and very importantly, simply because a defendant’s in their respective cases cannot be found guilty of indecent exposure does not mean that they could not be guilty another crime. Often times, a prosecutor will charge the individual with disorderly conduct as walking around naked will likely meet the statutory definition of “outraging the sense of public decency.” Needless to say, it is strongly advised to engage in any nude activity in the privacy of your own home where members of the public cannot see you.
Another exception would be exhibiting hair from both your pubic region and buttocks. These demonstrations will not be enough to be convicted of this crime. In order to be convicted of this crime, the individual’s sexual organs must be displayed. As defined by Webster’s Dictionary, a sexual organ is an organ of the reproductive system. Men have two major external reproductive organs that can be used in furtherance of this crime, the penis and testes. The female reproductive system has various reproductive organs as classified by the Cleveland Clinic and they include the clitoris, labia minora, labia majora and Bartholin’s glands but more commonly and collectively referred to as the vagina.
Have you Been Accused of Indecent Exposure?
Indecent exposure is classified as a misdemeanor in the first degree in the state of Florida and if you are found guilty of this crime, you could be facing up to a year in jail. A finding of this on your record is not only embarrassing but the social stigma may have other consequences in your life. To prevent this distinction or any ridicule you may have incurred from such an accusation, it is important that this matter is resolved in a timely fashion. If you are accused of indecent exposure, contact experienced criminal defense attorneys, Julian Stroleny, Esq. and Christopher Pagan, Esq. Both Mr. Stroleny and Mr. Pagan are former Miami Dade County prosecutors who have handled hundreds of misdemeanors in the past. The experience they have as former prosecutors is invaluable for your defense, as they know how the State will handle these types of cases and the amount of evidence they need to move forward on a case. Make sure the best criminal defense attorneys in South Florida defend your rights. Contact Pagan and Stroleny, P.L. today for a free consultation.