Indecent Exposure

Nevada has very stringent sex laws. Punishment for those found guilty of any sex crime could include a lengthy prison time, hefty penalties, and a mandatory requirement to register as a sex offender. Indecent exposure is among the most serious sex crimes in Nevada. You commit indecent exposure when you willfully expose your naked body or genitals to another person who could be annoyed or offended by your actions.

Though indecent exposure is generally a misdemeanor, it carries a severe punishment, like mandatory sex offender registration. Therefore, it helps to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you face indecent exposure charges in Las Vegas, NV. Your attorney will, among other things, provide a strong defense that could compel the court to either drop or reduce your charges. Attorneys from The Law Offices of Martin Hart are ready to assist in your case.

Legal Definition of Nevada Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure laws in Nevada are under NRS 201.220. These laws make it a crime for any person to expose themselves or another person obscenely or indecently. According to the Nevada Supreme court, indecent exposure involves a person’s genitals or anus.

Nevada indecent exposure law is quite broad and sometimes vague. It includes some behavior that one would not have thought to be criminal. As a result, many people have been charged and convicted of indecent exposure while their actions were innocent in the real sense. It helps to engage the services of an experienced criminal attorney to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

For a Las Vegas court to find you guilty of indecent exposure, the prosecutor is expected to prove certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt. They are the facts of the offense and include:

  • That you willfully or willingly exposed your private parts (could be your genitals or anus)
  • That you did so in the presence of a person or people who might be annoyed or offended by your actions
  • By doing so, you meant to direct the person’s or people’s focus to your private parts for sexual gratification or offend the person or people sexually.

A willful exposure means that you willingly committed the offense or that it was not by accident that you exposed your private parts. However, you do not have to have intended to commit an offense or hurt another person.

Exposing yourself means revealing your nakedness. Indecent exposure refers to showing your private parts or bare genitals. Thus, you’ll not have committed the offense if you only exposed your underwear, however revealing the underwear was. Revealing a naked female breast is also not considered indecent exposure, even when it is done for sexual reasons.

The interpretation of Nevada indecent law is quite a challenge even for law enforcement officers. Las Vegas police arrest topless women for indecent exposure, while this law doesn’t prohibit such acts in the real sense. An experienced criminal defense lawyer understands the law even better to determine actions that could be considered indecent exposure and those that are not.

Example: At a street party, Sam decided to take off her shirt after drinking too much. A policeman who was keeping watch arrested and booked her for indecent exposure. Sam could have her charges dropped because her actions do not satisfy all elements for indecent exposure.

Most indecent exposure cases in Las Vegas involve exhibitionists, flashers, or people who engage in sexual acts in public. Most people that are arrested for actions like these are partiers and buyers in adult bookstores.

You do not have to have been around people when indecently exposing yourself to be charged for indecent exposure. A person who exposes their private parts in their house with their windows open could still be guilty of the offense. The prosecutor only needs to prove that other people could see the offender since the windows were open.

Note: Breastfeeding a child in public isn’t considered indecent exposure in Nevada.

Penalties for an Indecent Exposure Conviction in Nevada

As previously mentioned, indecent exposure is a serious crime, attracting a severe punishment that could include time in jail, monetary penalties, and other serious consequences like registering as a sex offender. The severity of the sentence depends on whether you have prior convictions for any sex-related crime in your criminal record.

A first-time indecent exposure offender in Nevada, one who has no prior conviction for the same offense or any other sex-related crime, is charged with a gross misdemeanor. The punishment you are likely to receive for a gross misdemeanor charge includes:

  • A maximum of 364 days of jail time
  • A maximum fine of $2,000
  • Mandatory registration as a sex offender

An indecent exposure defendant with one or more convictions for indecent exposure or sex-related crime in their criminal record will face a Category D felony charge. The punishment you are likely to receive under this category is:

  • One to four years of imprisonment
  • A maximum fine of $5,000
  • Mandatory registration as a sex offender

Indecent exposure charges become even more severe if you committed the act in the presence of a minor or disabled person. The law is quite protective of children. Therefore, your punishment is likely to be graver, even when it was your first time to face similar or sex-related charges. The sentence you are likely to receive if you are charged for indecently exposing yourself in front of a child (an individual below 18) or disabled person is:

  • One to four years of imprisonment
  • A maximum fine of $5,000
  • Mandatory registration as a sex offender

Note: The judge will consider the circumstances under which you committed the offense when issuing out punishment. For instance, if you strip in a public place, you are more likely to face graver penalties than a person who stripped in their home with their windows open.

Registration as a Sex Offender in Nevada

The sex offender registry in Nevada provides up-to-date information on residents and visitors who’ve been convicted of sex-related offenses, especially against children. Convicted sex offenders in Nevada are divided into three categories, each category with its different registration requirements.

Indecent exposure is among the offenses that could cause you to register as a sex offender upon conviction. If you are convicted of a gross misdemeanor for indecent exposure, you are categorized under Tier I offender under the state’s Sex Offender Registry. It means that you’ll be required to register yourself every year for fifteen years. However, your details cannot be searched in the registry unless the victim of your crime was a child.

A felony conviction for indecent exposure is listed under Tier II or Tier III, depending on the circumstances of your case. The most serious sex crimes against children are listed under Tier III, whereby you are required to register as a sex offender every 90 days for the rest of your life. Both Tier II and Tier III categories are searchable through the registry’s database. It means that anyone searching your name will easily find out about your conviction.

Plea Bargains for Indecent Exposure Defendants

If you face charges for indecent exposure in Las Vegas, it is advisable to hire the help of a competent criminal attorney. Your attorney will protect your rights and ensure that your best interests are served in the end. One way in which your attorney can do this is through plea bargains.

If the prosecutor has compelling evidence against you, chances of losing in the case are usually high. It means that you can quickly be convicted. However, the prosecutor may be willing to reduce your charges to a less severe charge that carries a more lenient punishment. Your attorney will weigh all the options and take the one that is more favorable to you.

The severest punishment for a Nevada indecent exposure conviction is the registration requirement as a sex offender. Having your name in the registry for years can negatively affect your self-esteem, social and career life. A plea bargain could be one way to avoid a conviction that carries the registration requirement.

If this option comes up, your attorney will decide on the best charge to plead guilty to, for instance, disorderly conduct. Even though the charge carries jail time and monetary penalties, you will not be required to register as a sex offender upon conviction.

The other option the prosecutor might have is to drop your charges. This is after your attorney successfully demonstrates that the evidence presented in court is insufficient to convict you of indecent exposure. Once the court drops your charges, the matter will never be brought in court again.

Legal Defenses for Indecent Exposure Charges in Nevada

The best chance you have of avoiding the severe consequences of a conviction under NRS 201.220 is through fighting your charges. Nevada laws require everyone to go on trial before they are convicted to give defendants a chance to defend themselves against their charges. Therefore, your attorney’s main task would be to prepare a strong defense that could compel the court to reduce or drop your charges. Fortunately, there are legal strategies that could be used to fight indecent exposure charges. Some of them are:

Misrepresentation of Facts

It is not unusual to find a person facing charges for a criminal offense they did not commit. This could happen if your accuser misidentified you and not the actual perpetrator. It could be that you and the real perpetrator look the same, were in the location where the crime was committed, or live in the same house.

Your attorney can use this defense to have the court drop your charges if you face charges for a crime you did not commit. Note that the court will not require you to name the actual perpetrator.

False Accusations

Your attorney can cite false accusations if they have a strong reason to believe that someone else is blaming you for an offense that did not occur in the first place. Some people will find a chance to accuse their enemies of criminal acts, for revenge, to channel their anger, or because they are jealous. For instance, your ex-lover might have accused you of indecent exposure for refusing to mend your relationship.

A competent criminal attorney will know how best to approach the defense to damage the credibility of your accuser. If successful, the court will drop your charges.

The Exposure Was Lawful

Not all exposures are criminal according to Nevada laws. The state’s indecent exposure laws cover the exposure of only your genitals or anus. However, this doesn't mean that the police do not arrest people for lawful exposure. For instance, if you walked around in underwear, you’re not guilty of indecent exposure. This is because the exposure does not involve your private parts.

An experienced criminal attorney will weaken the prosecutor’s case to ensure that the court doesn't have enough evidence to convict you.

Accidental Exposure

Indecent exposure laws require you to have acted willfully or purposely. If the act was accidental, the court cannot find you guilty. Your attorney only needs to convince the court that the exposure was unintentional or accidental.

For instance, your dress or trouser might have been caught while riding a motorbike or escalator. If that caused you to expose your genitals in public and the police arrested you, the court might drop your charges.

You’ll still not be found guilty if another person pulled off your clothes, thereby exposing your private parts to the public.

Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me

If you face criminal charges for indecent exposure in Las Vegas, NV, it helps to work alongside an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney will study the details of your case to determine your options and the right strategies to use. Your attorney will then prepare a strong defense against your charges to have the court drop or reduce your charges. At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, our competent criminal defense lawyers are ready to take you through the legal process until you attain a favorable outcome of your case. Call us at 702-380-4278, and let us be there when you need us the most.