Queens Indecent Exposure

New York Penal Law terms the offense of indecent exposure as "exposure of a person." N.Y. Pen. Law § 245.01. It is neither a felony or a misdemeanor, but a violation. It involves showing your intimate parts in public. This offense is similar to the crime of public lewdness. However, the difference is that public lewdness requires some sort of lewd act, while exposure of a person requires the mere exposing of intimate parts in public. Public can mean almost any place that is open to the general public such as a park, subway station, bus, train, library, or public restroom. But it can also mean a place that while not open to the public is not private. For example, in People v Gowdy, 2013 NY Slip Op 50263(U), defendant Vernon Gowdy exposed himself in an office cubicle. A public place can even be a parked car if the car is parked in place where people passing can see inside. Even though indecent exposure is not a crime, but a violation, if you are charged with indecent exposure there is a good chance that you will also face additional more serious charges. Thus, if you are accused of exposure of a person, you should immediately contact an experienced Queens Indecent Exposure Lawyer who will aggressively defend you from the beginning of your case until its resolution.

Indecent Exposure and Sex Crime Charges

If you are charged with indecent exposure you may also face other charges. These charges may not be violations but misdemeanors or felonies. For example, in People v. Gowdy and People v. Younes, 2010 NY Slip Op 52280(U) (2010), both defendants were arrested and charged with exposure of a person as well as public lewdness. In other cases, defendants charged with indent exposure were also charged with sexual abuse and forcible touching.

  • Exposure of a Person. The act of exposure of a person involves exposing your private or intimate parts, such as your the penis, buttocks, vagina , or breasts below the top of the areola in a public place. It is a violation. N.Y. Pen. Law § 245.01. You cannot be charged with exposure of a person for the act of breastfeeding. Furthermore, if the exposure is part of a show, play, or other type of entertainment, you have a defense to am indecent exposure charge.

  • Public Lewdness. If you intentionally expose your private parts, such as your buttocks, penis, vagina or breasts in public in a lewd or licentious manner, you may be charged with public lewdness. It is a Class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 245.00

  • Forcible Touching. If you touch another person's intimate parts for sexual gratification or to degrade or abuse, then you may be charged with forcible touching. It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.52.

  • Sexual Abuse. The criminal charge of sexual abuse has three degrees of severity. You will be charged with sexual abuse in the third degree if you subject another person to sexual contact without that person's consent. It is a Class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.55. Sexual contact is touching another person's intimate parts for sexual gratification. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.00(3).

    Sexual abuse in the second degree involves nonconsensual sexual contact where the other person is less than 14 years old or is incapable of consent for any other reason. It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.60.

    Sexual abuse in the first degree is the most serious sex abuse charge. You will face this charge if the sexual contact is with someone who is physically helpless or with a person who is less than 11 years old. Sexual abuse in the first degree will also be the charge you face if you are at least 21 years old and the victim is less than 12 years old. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.65.

The Arrest and Arraignment Process

If you are arrested for exposure of a person, there is a good chance that you will be issued a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT). A DAT is a notice to appear in court for your arraignment hearing. N.Y. CPL. Law § 150.10. It will state that you have been charged with exposure of a person, as well as the day, time and place that you must appear in court. DATs are commonly issued if the charge is a violation, misdemeanor or in some cases Class E felonies. If you do not receive a DAT, you will end up in Central Booking until your arraignment.

When the prosecutor prepares for your arraignment he or she will review the facts of your case as well as your criminal background. Based on that information, the prosecutor will decide the charges you should face. In many cases the prosecutor will add charges or increase the degree of severity of the charge. At your arraignment you will learn of the exact charges against you. You will also find out whether or not you will be required to post bail, and you will learn when you will have to again appear in court. You are required to appear at every court date. If you fail to appear the judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest.

Several hearings and meetings with the prosecutor may occur prior to the trial. The prosecutor may offer you a plea agreement that would require you to plead guilty to fewer charges or lesser charges, and as a result the your potential sentence would be lighter than if you were convicted at trial on the original charge or charges. It is up to you to decide if you want to go to trial, or if you prefer to accept a plea deal.

Sentencing

The sentence you will face for an indecent exposure conviction or a sex crime conviction varies depending on the charge.

  • Indecent Exposure. This is a violation. If convicted the possible sentence is up to 15 days in jail and a fine of up to $250. However, a conviction for a violation will not result in a criminal record.

  • Public Lewdness. As a Class B misdemeanor, if convicted of public lewdness you will be sentenced to up to 3 months in jail, probation, and a fine of up to $500.

  • Forcible Touching. As a Class A misdemeanor, if convicted of forcible touching you face up to 1 year in jail, 6 years of probation, and a fine of up to $1,000. You will be required to register as a sex offender.

  • Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree. As a Class B misdemeanor, if convicted of sexual abuse in the third degree, the maximum sentence that you will receive is 3 months in jail. Your sentence could also include probation for 6 years and a fine of up to $500. You will have to register as a sex offender.

  • Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree. As a Class A misdemeanor, if convicted you face up to 1 year in jail. Your sentence could also include probation for 6 years and a fine of up to $1,000. You will have to register as a sex offender.

  • Sexual Abuse in the First Degree. As a Class D felony, if convicted of sexual abuse in the first degree you face up to 7 years in prison. Your sentence could also include a probation term of 10 years and a fine of up to $5,000. You will have to register as a sex offender.

If you are sentenced to probation, you will be subject to several restrictions. Of course, you must not commit another crime while on probation. However, you may also be required to adhere to a curfew, stay away from other felons, stay away from disreputable places, have a job, support your family, submit to warrantless searches, and report to your probation officer on a regular basis. If you violate your probation you may be sent to prison.

If you are found to have committed the offense of indecent exposure, you will not have to register as a sex offender. However, if you were are also charged with almost any other sex offense, you will be required to register as a sex offender. This means that you will be required to register your name, aliases, home address, school address, work address, email address, screen names and various other information with law enforcement who will maintain the information in a special database. You will have to verify your address and provide updated photos at regular intervals. If it is determined that you present a high risk of re-offending, your information will be part of a database that is accessible by the public so that anyone will be able to go online and learn that you are a registered sex offender. You will be required to register for at least 20 years. You may have to register for the rest of your life.

While a charge of indecent exposure is merely a violation, it is important to understand that the prosecutor may find other offenses to charge you with, including felony sex crimes that could land you in prison. Not only might you end up incarcerated and have a criminal record, you may also end up being a registered sex offender, a designation that could stay with you for at least 20 years. If you are charged with exposure of a person, take it seriously and immediately consult an experienced Queens Indecent Exposure Lawyer. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who are accused of indecent exposure, lewd acts, as well as sex crimes such as forcible touching and sexual abuse. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of sex crimes in the following locations:

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