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Under Florida law, exposure of sexual organs, or “indecent exposure,” is a serious
criminal offense that carries devastating long-
If you have been charged with indecent exposure or exposure of sexual organs in Jacksonville, Duval County, Nassau County, Clay County, Baker County, or St. Johns County, Florida, contact an experienced Jacksonville, Florida Criminal Attorney for a free consultation. An attorney is a critical asset for exploring potential defenses and avoiding the harsh consequences of a conviction.
Under Section 800.03, Florida Statutes, it is unlawful “to expose or exhibit one’s sexual organs in public or on the private premises of another, or so near thereto as to be seen from such private premises, in a vulgar or indecent manner, or to be naked in public except in any place provided or set apart for that purpose.”
To prove the crime of indecent exposure (exposure of sexual organs), the prosecution must establish the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
As used in the statute, the terms “vulgar,” “indecent,” “lewd,” and “lascivious” mean the same thing. They mean an unlawful indulgence in lust or a wicked, lustful, unchaste, licentious, or sensual intent on part of the person committing the act. Acts are not vulgar, indecent, lewd, or lascivious unless such acts cause offense to one or more persons viewing those acts, or unless the acts substantially intrude upon the rights of others.
A “public place” is defined as any place intended or designed to be frequented resorted to by the general public. For exposure cases involving an act that occurs in a public place, there is no requirement that any person be offended by such act. State v. Kees, 919 So. 2d 504 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. 2005). However, a showing that someone was offended is required for exposure cases involving an act occurring on private property outside the view of the general public. Id.
In Florida, indecent exposure or exposure of sexual organs is classified as a first degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to one year in jail or 12 months probation, and a $1000 fine.
Proof of mere nudity or exposure is insufficient to sustain a conviction for indecent
exposure. In order for nudity to be prosecutable under Section 800.03, Florida Statutes,
there must be a lewd or lascivious exhibition or exposure of the sexual organs. Duvallon
v. State, 404 So. 2d 196, 197 (Fla. 1st DCA 1981). Lewd or Lascivious means that
there must be some type of sexually-
The act of breastfeeding a baby is also insufficient to sustain a conviction for indecent exposure. Under Section 383.015, Florida Statutes, breastfeeding is a protected act and defined by the Florida legislature as “an important and basic act of nurture which must be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and family values.” Thus a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.
Constitutionality of Florida’s Indecent Exposure Statute
Florida’s indecent exposure law has so far survived constitutional challenges brought on First Amendment (free speech) grounds and vagueness grounds. Hoffman v. Carson, 250 So. 2d 891, 894 (Fla. 1971). This, however, is not to say the law will survive all First Amendment challenges if the conduct forming the basis of an exposure charge is sufficiently expressive and deemed “protected speech.”
There are many defenses available to contest a charge of exposure in Florida. Often,
prosecutions of this charge attempt to reign in conduct that goes beyond the scope
of the statute. If the exposure was unintentional, or if it occurred without the
requisite “lewd” purpose, or if the exposure was not intended to be viewed by others,
this will provide a complete defense to the charge. The offense must furthermore
occur within a location specified in the statute, and must go beyond mere nudity.
Even where the defenses are weak, indecent exposure charges can often be negotiated
down to less serious charges, thus sparing the accused the harsh long-
For additional information on defenses to Exposure of Sexual Organs, view our sample Indecent Exposure Motion to Dismiss.
If you have been accused of indecent exposure or exposure of sexual organs in Jacksonville,
Florida, contact Hussein & Webber, PL to discuss your legal options. This is a serious
criminal charge with serious long-
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