Exposure of Sexual Organs
Exposure of sexual organs can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending primarily on the age of the person in whose presence the defendant exposed their genitalia. In some cases, an exposure charge is a first offense, and it may be possible to plead to a lesser-included offense like unnatural and lascivious acts. However, in other cases, the exposure charge is quite serious and carries a requirement that the defendant register as a sex offender. At Hanlon Law, Clearwater sex crime lawyer Will Hanlon strongly believes in protecting the rights of the accused, regardless of the severity of the charges.Charges Involving Exposure of Sexual Organs
Florida Statutes section 800.03 criminalizes the exposure or exhibition of sex organs in public spaces, on another party's private property, or in your own private spaces where you can be seen from another person's property. An essential element of this crime is that the exposure or exhibition be done in a vulgar or indecent manner. This element can provide the basis for a defense. For example, if you have a mishap with your jeans, you would not have the requisite intent to be found guilty of exposure under section 800.03.
Exposure of sexual organs is usually a first-degree misdemeanor when the person exposing himself is an adult, and the person who sees it is also an adult. However, you can be charged with felony exposure of sexual organs if you do it in the presence of certain people, such as minors. You can be charged with the felony of lewd and lascivious exposure if you expose your sexual organs to a minor under the age of 16. For example, if you expose yourself to a 13-year-old girl at a bus stop, you could be charged with lewd and lascivious exhibition.
To prove lewd or lascivious exhibition when dealing with a sexual organ exposure case, the prosecutor will need to show that you intentionally exposed your genitals in a lewd or lascivious way, intentionally masturbated, or intentionally committed another sex act that did not involve touching the victim. It is important to be aware that you can be convicted for lewd and lascivious exhibition even if you did not perform a masturbatory act. It is necessary for the prosecutor to prove that you exposed yourself with a sensual intent, or a wicked, licentious, lustful, or unchaste state of mind. If you perform these types of acts toward a minor on the street repeatedly, you may also be charged with stalking.
Lewd and lascivious exhibition under section 800.04(7) is a serious felony. In some cases, however, it may be possible for your attorney to arrange a plea deal for exposure of sexual organs under section 800.03. For example, if you were on a bus and began masturbating publicly, and a minor happened to be there, but you were not aware of that, the prosecutor might be open to a plea deal. You would face a maximum of one year’s imprisonment and $1,000 in fines, as opposed to a potential 15 years’ imprisonment and $10,000 fine for a second-degree felony for exposing yourself in a sexual way to a child.
People under age 18 who lewdly and lasciviously expose their sex organs to a minor under 16 may face third-degree felony charges. These are also quite serious. There is a possibility of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. You may need to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. However, there is a narrow possibility that you can petition to avoid the sex offender registration requirement if you are very close in age to the victim.
There are defenses available to fight a charge of exposure of sexual organs. Sometimes there simply is not enough evidence for a prosecutor to meet their burden of proof. However, you should be aware that the victim's reaction to the exposure will not provide a strong defense. For example, even if the victim is hypersensitive or fragile due to being a victim of prior sexual misconduct, this is not a defense to exposure charges. Exposure is considered similar to visual assault.Hire a Skillful Clearwater Criminal Lawyer for a Sexual Misconduct Charge
You should not assume that you will be convicted of a sex crime. It is important to secure the services of a knowledgeable sex crime attorney if you are being investigated, even if you are not sure whether you will be charged. Exposure of sexual organs can be punished harshly. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation in Clearwater since 1994 and may be able to help. Call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or contact us via our online form.