State laws limit some behaviors that people may find offensive or upsetting. Sometimes, actions that are completely innocent can seem predatory or abusive to those who view them.
Indecent exposure laws exist to protect people from intentional abuses by those who are exhibitionists or sexual predators. Still, individuals trying to adjust their clothing or relieve themselves could find themselves accused of indecent exposure. What is indecent exposure under Maryland law?
How the state defines indecent exposure
In order for the state to charge and convict you of an indecent exposure offense, they will need to prove that the situation leading to your arrest met three specific criteria.
First, it needed to occur in a public place. Second, other people must have been present at the time of the alleged offense. Finally, the person accused must have intentionally removed or opened their clothing to expose their genitals, female breasts or buttocks.
Wardrobe malfunctions, nudity on your own property and nudity in places where no one else is present may not meet the criteria for charges. Essentially, if the exposure of someone’s body part is done in a way that they could be casually observed by others, it may constitute indecent exposure.
What are the penalties for indecent exposure?
In Maryland, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor offense. A conviction might mean up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Unlike in many other states, however, those convicted of indecent exposure will not necessarily have to register as sex offenders in Maryland.
Recognizing what constitutes different sex offenses in Maryland can help you determine your best course of action if you’re facing potentially life-altering criminal charges.