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Indecent Exposure

Under Michigan law, it is illegal to make “any open or indecent exposure” of any person. More plainly, it is unlawful to openly or indecently expose anyone’s genitals in public.

Although some individuals find the bearing of female breasts in public inappropriate, Michigan law explicitly protects breastfeeding mothers from being cited for indecent exposure. Breastfeeding and expressing breast milk are protected activities that do not constitute indecent or obscene (and, therefore, unlawful) conduct. This protection extends to women regardless of what areas of their breasts may be visible during breastfeeding or expressing milk.

Michigan Indecent Exposure Attorney

If you have been charged with indecent exposure or any other type of sex crime, you are probably feeling overwhelmed and frightened. However, you should not fight this alone. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney who will advocate aggressively on your behalf.

During a difficult time such as this, Dallo Law, P.C. can be your best resource. Attorney J. Dallo has been practicing criminal defense for years and has the knowledge needed to fight any type of sex crime charge no matter the circumstances.

Set up your first consultation by calling Dallo Law, P.C. at (248) 283-7000. Our firm accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area including Pontiac, Troy, Waterford Township, Oakland Charter Township, Royal Oak, Clarkston, Southfield, Bloomfield Hills, Warren, Sterling Heights, Romeo, Utica, Roseville, and Eastpointe.

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Information Center

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Penalties for Indecent Exposure in Michigan

Being convicted of an indecent exposure violation in Michigan risks varying consequences, depending upon the circumstances present in any given case. Generally speaking, this crime is classified as a misdemeanor and is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed one year, a fine not to exceed $1,000, or both. However, two notable exceptions to this general list of consequences may be applicable in the following circumstances.

First, if the individual accused of indecent exposure was fondling their genitals, buttocks, pubic area, or (female) breasts during the indecent exposure incident, they risk a term of imprisonment not to exceed two years, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both.

Second, suppose the individual accused of indecent exposure has already been classified as a sexually delinquent person. In that case, they may be sentenced to imprisonment for anywhere from one day to the remainder of their life.

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Statute Of Limitations

In Michigan, most misdemeanors can only be prosecuted for six years from the date that the offense occurs. If the prosecution does not file a case against a suspect during the six-year statute of limitations period, it forfeits the right to prosecute its case.

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Defenses for Indecent Exposure

There are three primary defensive strategies used in indecent exposure cases. The first is mistaken identity. This defensive strategy is employed when an indecent exposure incident did occur, but the incorrect individual was charged with the conduct. Use of surveillance footage, witness testimony, and alibi evidence can be used to prove a mistaken identity defense.

Second, criminal defense attorneys may use the defense that an accused individual never exposed themselves. This is a straightforward strategy that cuts to the heart of the prosecution’s case. If the prosecution cannot prove every element of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt, they should not be permitted to secure a conviction.

Finally, there is a more nuanced strategy that speaks to intent. To be convicted of an indecent exposure offense, one must have made an “open and indecent” exposure of one’s genitals. Say that an individual was camping and needed to relieve themselves. Believing they were utterly alone, they exposed their genitals to urinate, only to discover that someone else was in their presence. Under these circumstances, an exposure occurred, but the alleged offender never intended that exposure be unreasonably “open or indecent.”

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Why A Strong Legal Defense Is Important

Many individuals charged with indecent exposure are young people who have gotten carried away when having a good time. They often view the misdemeanor indecent exposure charges they face as a source of amusement, not anxiety. However, it is essential for anyone accused of an indecent exposure offense to treat their situation seriously. Even though misdemeanor charges aren’t as severe as felony charges, they can result in significant consequences that can be life-altering.

It’s not amusing when a promising college student has to take a semester off of school to serve six months in jail for a single moment of poor judgment or when an otherwise responsible adult loses a job in a school or a medical facility because they’ve been convicted of exposing themselves while excessively drunk. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help ensure that anyone accused of this offense is in the strongest possible position to defend against the charges they’re facing effectively.

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The State of Michigan offers many low-level criminal offenders the opportunity to have their criminal offenses expunged from their criminal records. After an individual has been convicted of indecent exposure and served the terms of their sentence, they can explore the option to have that conviction expunged. Once a conviction is expunged, it is generally as if it never occurred. Although law enforcement and the courts can access conviction records, they will no longer appear on the offender’s record, nor will the fact of the conviction be accessible on a background check.

While some offenders navigate the expungement process on their own, it is generally advisable to work with an attorney, given the consequential nature of the process itself. The stakes of erasing a conviction from one’s record are high enough that most offenders won’t want to risk any mistakes or an outright rejection of their expungement application.

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Additional Resources

Diversion Section | Wayne County, Michigan – Visit the official Wayne County website to explore one county’s explanation and approach to pretrial diversion opportunities for low-level offenders.

Michigan Sexual Abuse Prevention Program (MSAPP) – Michigan Department of Corrections – Visit the official State of Michigan website to learn about treatment options for individuals with a history of sexually abusive behaviors.

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Bloomfield Hills Indecent Exposure Lawyer | Oakland County, MI

If you have been arrested for indecent exposure in Michigan, it is important to secure legal guidance from a qualified criminal defense attorney. Thankfully, at Dallo Law, P.C., attorney Dallo and his legal team represent clients who have been charged with all types of sex crimes, including indecent exposure. He can protect your rights and offer skilled legal representation.

Dallo Law, P.C. practices criminal defense throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area including Bloomfield Hills, Pontiac, Troy, Rochester, West Bloomfield Township, Warren, Sterling Heights, and Utica. Call (248) 283-7000 to schedule a consultation with Dallo Law, P.C. today.

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