Indecent Exposure

Indecent Exposure Defense Lawyers

This sex crime is one of the most commonly charged offenses in Washington.  It can be charged by the prosecutor as a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony, and can bring a sentence of up to five years in prison, for the most serious offenses.  

Indecent exposure is defined under RCW 9A.88.010:

(1) A person is guilty of indecent exposure if he or she intentionally makes any open and obscene exposure of his or her person or the person of another knowing that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm. The act of breastfeeding or expressing breast milk is not indecent exposure.

(2)(a) Except as provided in (b) and (c) of this subsection, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor.

(b) Indecent exposure is a gross misdemeanor on the first offense if the person exposes himself or herself to a person under the age of fourteen years.

(c) Indecent exposure is a class C felony if the person has previously been convicted under this section or of a sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030.

This means that if a person has a prior indecent exposure conviction or another sex offense conviction, no matter how old, they will be charged with a class C felony charge.  A class C felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and by up to a $10,000.00 fine.  They also may be ordered to participate in a sexual deviancy examination, as well as participate in sex offender treatment.  Indecent exposure is not a registrable offense, so registration as a sex offender is not a concern in these cases.

If the allegation in the offense is that a person exposed themselves to a minor less than 14 years old, the offense is classified as a gross misdemeanor for a first offense.  The maximum potential penalty for this offense is 364 days in jail, and by up to a $5,000.00 fine.  Someone convicted of this offense may also be order to participate in an evaluation and treatment for sex offenders.

If this is a first offense of indecent exposure, and the alleged victim of the offense was over 14 years old, this crime will be charges as a simple misdemeanor.  This means that the maximum possible sentence will be 90 days in jail, and a fine of up to $1000.00.  As above, a convicted perpetrator may be ordered to participate in a sex offender evaluation and treatment.  

When I speak to prosecutors about indecent exposure cases, they often tell me that they believe that those charged with this crime are at a greater risk to go on to commit serious sex offenses.  They believe that this is a "gateway crime", committed by those who have a predilection for sex offenses, but who have not worked up to actually committing serious violent sex offenses.  For this reason they are often very tough on those arrested for this offense, even for first offenders who have had no criminal history.  

I also have noticed that many criminal attorneys who don't normally handle sex offense, are willing to handle representation on these matters.  I have fielded many phone calls from attorneys who were surprised to find themselves "in over their heads" on these offenses, and needed an experienced sex crime attorney to walk them through the basics of how to defend one of these cases.  I handle these cases just like any of my serious felony offenses, meaning our team of attorneys works on the case, and we assign a private investigator to the matter as a normal course of representation.  By handling the matter just like we do more serious offenses, we are able to increase the odds of a positive result for our clients.