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Is Indecent Exposure a Sex Offender Crime in Minneapolis?

It is possible for indecent exposure to be considered a sex crime in Minnesota, if it involved lewd intent. It could result in mandatory registration on Minnesota’s sex offender registry under certain circumstances. While each case is different, the deciding factors as to whether or not indecent exposure is a sex offender crime mostly involve lewd intent and/or the involvement of children.

An experienced sex offender charges lawyer could play an important part in ensuring that you do not face a lifetime as a sex offender. Your legal counsel could fight to have your charges dismissed or secure an acquittal at trial. We understand that these arrests often stem from a misunderstanding. We will work to help you protect your future from the possibility of mandatory sex offender registration. Alternatively, your attorney might be able to secure a plea bargain that does not include mandatory sex offender status.

Understanding Indecent Exposure Cases in Minneapolis

Indecent exposure is an act of public nudity that includes some form of lewd intent. This is more than incidental or accidental nudity. To rise to the level of a crime, a person must intentionally reveal themselves with lewd intent. If you’re wondering Is indecent exposure a sex offender crime, you must learn the accepted definition of indecent exposure under Minnesota law.

The offense of indecent exposure is governed by Minnesota Statutes Section 617.23. There are three types of indecent exposure offenses within the statute, and they are all treated as different criminal offense. There are subdivisions of indecent exposure of the statute describe a misdemeanor offense. The first subdivision of the statute describes a misdemeanor offense. Subdivision two covers a gross misdemeanor. Subdivision three references felony indecent exposure. It should also be noted that there is an additional subdivision that explicitly exempts breastfeeding a child in public from ever being charged as indecent exposure.

Misdemeanor Indecent Exposure

Misdemeanor indecent exposure carries the lowest penalties of the three. That does not make this offense minor, however. A conviction of misdemeanor indecent exposure could have long-term or even permanent consequences on your life.

Misdemeanor indecent exposure occurs when a person commits any of the following acts in a public place:

  • willfully and lewdly exposes the person’s body, or the private parts thereof;
  • procures another to expose private parts; or
  • engages in any open or gross lewdness or lascivious behavior, or any public indecency other than behavior specified in this subdivision.

Together, these three elements cover a broad range of conduct. The state will only have to prove that one of these three things occurred in order to secure a criminal conviction.

What Exactly Does Willfully or Lewdly Mean in Minneapolis?

Willfully or lewdly means a form of exposure that is indecent or offensive. If you’re asking is indecent exposure a sex offender crime, this is the criteria. This could be for purposes of sexual gratification or harassment. The second element of the offense makes clear that soliciting another person to willfully and lewdly expose themselves is treated just as harshly under the law. Remember, a willful exposure means the person accused of indecent exposure had a conscious objective to expose their private parts in public. This means that accidental exposure is not a criminal act.

The final way the prosecution could prove misdemeanor indecent exposure is by proving a person engaged in any lewd or lascivious behavior in public. This part of the statute is intentionally broad, but it relates to any form of indecent sexual behavior in the view of other people.

As a misdemeanor, the maximum penalties that come with a conviction should not be taken lightly. The court could sentence you to as many as 90 days behind bars and assess a fine of up to $1,000. Alternatively, you could face a combination of these two penalties.

Gross Misdemeanor Indecent Exposure

There are some situations where an act of indecent exposure will result in a gross misdemeanor charge. To secure a conviction for a gross misdemeanor, the prosecutor must establish the same elements of a misdemeanor offense. There are two aggravating factors that could increase the penalties from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor.

First, the state will charge this offense as a gross misdemeanor when a person commits the crime of indecent exposure in the presence of a minor under the age of 16. Second, gross misdemeanor penalties will also apply for anyone with a prior conviction for indecent exposure. This conviction could happen in Minnesota or any other state with a similar statute.

A gross misdemeanor has heavier penalties compared to a basic misdemeanor. If you are convicted, you could face as much as a year behind bars in a county jail. What’s more, the maximum fine for this offense is $3,000.

Felony Indecent Exposure

There are times when indecent exposure is charged as a felony offense. The penalties for a felony are usually much higher than a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor offense. There are two circumstances where the state may treat indecent exposure as a felony offense.

The first circumstance involves previous convictions for indecent exposure. Any person that has previously been convicted of indecent exposure in the presence of a minor under the age of 16 can be charged with a felony on a subsequent offense. This is true whether the previous conviction occurred in Minnesota or some other state.

The second situation where felony charges are possible involves indecent exposure with a confined person.  Intentionally confining that person or otherwise intentionally restricting that person’s freedom to leave is a felony offense under the law.

A conviction for felony indecent exposure can lead to time behind bars in a state penitentiary. In addition to as many as five years in prison, a conviction could also result in a fine of no more than $10,000. Alternatively, the judge could sentence you to a combination of jail time and fines.

Indecent Exposure and Sex Offender Status

Not every type of indecent exposure conviction will result in mandatory sex offender status. What is important to note that every conviction for felony indecent exposure requires registration on Minnesota’s sex offender list. The court has no discretion on this, as registration for felony indecent exposure is mandatory.

In general, misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor do not automatically require registration as a sex offender. That said, the court retains the power to order a person convicted of these offenses to undergo screening as a sex offender. If the court ultimately determines that a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor indecent exposure offense involved aggressively sexual act, the court could require registration.

Minnesota Sex Offender Registry Laws

If you are required to register as a sex offender in Minnesota, it could dramatically impact your life and your livelihood. This registration status could impact where you can live, make it hard to find a job, and cause significant strain on your social life.

The shortest amount of time a person can remain on the sex offender registry is 10 years. While that time period is lengthy, it is important to note that many people must register as a sex offender for the rest of their life. A person convicted of felony indecent exposure could face a lifetime on the registry if they are deemed a sexual predator under the law.

There are strict requirements when it comes to being on the sex offender registry. The law requires a person on the registry to continually update their location, and they cannot live in a certain radius of schools or other areas where children are present.

The failure to register can carry serious criminal penalties. In fact, any form of non-compliance could lead to additional jail time and fines. In many cases, a conviction for failure to register as a sex offender will carry steeper penalties than the underlying indecent exposure charge. Each failure to register conviction will lead to as much as a year in prison and an additional five years of mandatory sex offender registration. Subsequent offenses could carry up to two years behind bars.

Reach Out to a Sex Crimes Lawyer at Gerald Miller

Are you asking yourself, Is indecent exposure a sex offender crime in Minneapolis? The answer is yes, but you should know that that the legal definition of indecent exposure is probably not what you think. It is not accidental or incidental nudity. Urinating in public in Minnesota is generally charged as disorderly conduct, because it most likely didn’t involve lewd intent.

If you have been charged, there are different ways an attorney could help with an indecent exposure charge. This starts with fighting back against a conviction entirely. The attorneys of Gerald Miller could work to have your case dismissed or amended to a lesser offense that does not run the risk of registration as a sex offender.

Our work continues even if you are convicted of indecent exposure or if you decide to plead guilty. Our team could work to ensure the court does not voluntarily place you on the sex offender registry. Contact Gerald Miller right away to discuss your options.

About the author

Kyle Dreger

Kyle Dreger is a skilled DUI/DWI and Criminal Defense lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. Kyle has received his law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. He is also a professionally trained basketball player.

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