What Is The Punishment For Indecent Exposure?

If you have been accused or charged with indecent exposure, it is important to understand what makes it a sexual offence, how it is prosecuted in a court of law and the sentencing and punishment for indecent exposure in the UK.

Just as important is to know that you have a right to legal representation as soon as you are accused of indecent exposure or taken in for questioning regarding the offence.

A solicitor with experience in sexual offences will ensure that you are receiving expert legal advice and support from the moment you face an accusation of indecent exposure.

What Constitutes Indecent Exposure?

Indecent exposure is the offence of intentionally exposing the genitals with the specific intent of making a viewer(s) alarmed or distressed. The Sexual Offences Act of 2003 does make a distinction between naturism, nudity and indecent exposure. Prosecutors look for indications of a sexual nature in the nudity or if there was any intention to cause alarm, distress or harassment. Urinating or accidentally exposing the genitals does not constitute indecent exposure.

Indecent exposure is differentiated from the more serious crime of Public Indecency, which is when someone does anything that is lewd, obscene or disgusting in public ‘which is shocking to reasonable people’.

Indecent exposure carries different punishments, and a sexual offences lawyer will make efforts to ensure that a defendant is not unfairly charged for a more serious crime.

What Is the Punishment for Indecent Exposure in the UK?

Indecent exposure, if tried at a Crown Court, carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. However, most indecent exposure cases are tried in Magistrate’s Court, where the defendant will receive a summary conviction – carrying a maximum of six months in prison, a fine or both. A court may decide that community service and / or a fine is sufficient punishment. Your name may also be added to the sex offenders’ register.

If a person is found guilty of Public Indecency, however, there is no maximum prison term.

Do the Police Give Cautions for Indecent Exposure?

Yes, police give cautions for indecent exposure based on the circumstances and on past criminal behaviour.

What Should I Do If I Am Arrested for Indecent Exposure?

Call a lawyer. It is always advisable to contact a lawyer as soon as you have been arrested or sentenced for indecent exposure, and before you make any statements to the police. A lawyer with experience in this field with ensure that you don’t say anything that may negatively impact your defence.

What Are the Applicable Defences Against Indecent Exposure?

There are many factors which can affect the seriousness and the extent of the punishment for indecent exposure UK.

The seriousness of the offence (and the punishment) may be greater according to the age of the victim, whether any threatening behaviour was used, or coercion to keep quiet, and factors around race, sexual orientation or disability. On the other hand, mitigating factors such as showing remorse, the age of the offender or whether they have learning disabilities can help the defence case.

Other defences may include: being threatened by someone unless you exposed yourself, being too drunk or drugged to control your actions, or having a mental illness.

An experienced sexual offences lawyer will help to negotiate these complexities, giving a defendant the best chance of a fair defence if they have been accused of indecent exposure.

What If I’ve Been Falsely Accused of Indecent Exposure?

A lawyer will help to build a case for your innocence if you have been falsely accused of indecent exposure. This may involve compiling evidence, witness statements and character references, as well as examining the reliability of the witness.

Indecent Exposure: Frequently Asked Questions

Continue on to find answers to the most commonly asked questions about indecent exposure.

Is Indecent Exposure Against the Law in the UK?

Yes. Indecent exposure is a very serious criminal charge and a guilty verdict has severe penalties. Indecent exposure is counter to Section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which states that a person is guilty of exposure if they: 

  1. intentionally exposes their genitals, and 
  2. Intend that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.

How Is Indecent Exposure Proven?

Evidence relies on victim and eyewitness statements, CCTV or video footage and social media. Proving intention to cause distress or harm can be difficult, and the prosecution may take into account the accused’s version of events – so having a lawyer support you before any statements are made is very useful.

How Long Does Indecent Exposure Stay on your Record?

If you have been convicted of indecent exposure, you may be required to sign the Sex Offenders Record, and your name will remain on it for five years. It will be up to the court to decide whether to give you a criminal record.

What Type of Abuse is Indecent Exposure?

Legally, indecent exposure is considered a form of sexual abuse. As a result, if you’ve been charged with indecent exposure, it’s important that you engage with your legal team quickly – as a guilty conviction could radically impact your quality of life.

How Can DPP Law’s Sexual Offence Solicitors Help?

It’s extremely important that you seek legal advice and representation if you are facing a sexual offence allegation. Do not try to face the criminal justice system alone. DPP Law is a team of highly experienced sexual offence solicitors who will work tirelessly on your defence from day one. If you are facing an indecent exposure allegation, contact us here as soon as possible.

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