What You Need to Know About Michigan Indecent Exposure
Indecent exposure is a misdemeanor in Michigan but is still carries severe consequences as it is considered a sex crime. Nonetheless, these cases are broader and more complicated than a simple ticket for urinating in public. Thus, it pays to have a good grasp of what this crime is about.
Indecent Exposure Under the Michigan Penal Code
The Michigan Penal Code provides that “a person shall not knowingly make any open or indecent exposure of his person or the person of another.” Unfortunately, this falls short in defining what indecent exposure really means, making it confusing. Good thing, the Michigan Court of Appeals has already clarified this misdemeanor.
According to the Court, indecent exposure is “the exhibition of those private parts of the person which instinctive modesty, human decency or natural self-respect requires shall be customarily kept covered in the presence of others.”
Open Exposure vs. Indecent Exposure
There are two types of exposure under the law, namely open exposure and indecent exposure. The Michigan Court of Appeals explained their distinctions aptly.
Accordingly, Open Exposure occurs in a setting where anyone might have been expected to observe and be offended by it. It neither requires publicity nor an actual witness to it.
On the other hand, Indecent Exposure occurs when the defendant exposes intentionally his private parts in a place where the exposure is likely to be an offense against the community’s generally accepted standards of decency and morality.
Further, here are some things you should know.
- Definition of defendant’s “private parts.”
The law couldn’t be any clearer that the “private parts” it refers to are a person’s buttocks, breasts, and genitalia. These bodily parts should have been uncovered for “exposure” to exist.
- The defendant need not be naked.
The Michigan Penal Code does not require nudity to make a case for Indecent Exposure. But having some pieces of clothing on does not automatically dodge a charge for this misdemeanor either.
As the exposure pertains to the place or circumstances in which it exists, one might need a highly-competent defense lawyer to handle the case.
- Breastfeeding mothers are exempt.
The law is clear in this regard. It states categorically that breastfeeding does not constitute obscenity or indecency. This exemption stands even when the mother’s nipple is visible during the breastfeeding or expression of milk.
- Sexually delinquent person defined
The Michigan Penal Code talks about a “sexually delinquent person” in providing for Indecent Exposure penalties.
The Code defines it as “any person whose sexual behavior is characterized by repetitive or compulsive acts which indicate a disregard of consequences or the recognized rights of others, or by the use of force upon another person in attempting sex relations of either a heterosexual or homosexual nature, or by the commission of sexual aggressions against children under the age of 16.”
A person may be charged for sexual delinquency only when a charge for Indecent Exposure, Gross Delinquency, or Crime Against Nature exists. Otherwise, a sexual delinquency charge may not prosper.
Effects of Conviction of Indecent Exposure in Michigan
A person convicted of Indecent Exposure in Michigan shall suffer the penalties provided for by law. However, these penalties vary depending on the nature of the acts he did.
- Simple indecent exposure
The Michigan Penal Code punishes anyone who knowingly makes an open or indecent exposure with the penalty of imprisonment for not more than one year, or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.
- Aggravated indecent exposure
Meanwhile, the Code punishes any person making an indecent exposure. He or she does this by fondling their genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or breasts (when the defendant is female). The penalty is imprisonment for not more than two years, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.
- Sexual delinquency at the time of the indecent exposure
A sexually delinquent person convicted with indecent exposure suffers lifetime imprisonment utmost.
- Registration on Michigan Sex Offender Registry
When a person commits an aggravated indecent exposure or any indecent exposure against a minor, he may be registered as a “sex offender” on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry.
What to Do When Charged with Indecent Exposure in Michigan
Don’t just plead guilty to an Indecent Exposure charge. Let the sex crime experts from The Clark Law Office handle your case.
Our team at The Clark Law Office is composed of seasoned Lansing criminal defense lawyers who can protect your welfare when faced with an indecent exposure charge. Allow us to study your case and protect your rights. Reach us at (517) 347-6900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.