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NY Penal Law § 245.05: Offensive exhibition

While New York is pretty open-minded with reference to the type of entertainment that people can provide, there are some limitations. If the entertainment may cause physical harm to a person, or if it involves extreme submitting someone to indignities, then such entertainment or performances may be illegal. Under New York Penal Law § 245.05 you could be charged with offensive exhibition if you operate, produce, or furnish a place for an exhibition that:

  1. Involves participants performing an activity that involves physical exertion continuously for more than 8 hours without a break; or
  2. Involves a person being held up to ridicule or contempt by voluntarily submitting to indignities; or
  3. Involves the discharge of a firearm or the throwing of a knife, arrow or dangerous instrument at a person.

Ernie has operated a small circus for many years. However, lately attendance has fallen. In order to sell more tickets, he decided to add a new act that involved knife throwing at an individual. If Ernie does add a knife-throwing act at his circus, he could be prosecuted for offensive exhibition in violation of New York Penal Law § 245.05.

Related Offense
  1. Public display of offensive sexual material: New York Penal Law § 245.10

Under this statute you are not guilty of offensive exhibition under New York Penal Law § 245.05(1) if the participants are allowed breaks during the 8 hour period, if the continuous period is less than 8 hours.


Offensive exhibition 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.

New York Penal Law § 245.05: Offensive exhibition

A person is guilty of offensive exhibition when he knowingly produces, operates, manages or furnishes premises for, or in any way promotes or participates in, an exhibition in the nature of public entertainment or amusement in which:

  1. A person competes continuously without respite for a period of more than eight consecutive hours in a dance contest, bicycle race or other contest involving physical endurance; or

  2. A person is held up to ridicule or contempt by voluntarily submitting to indignities such as the throwing of balls or other articles at his head or body; or

  3. A firearm is discharged or a knife, arrow or other sharp or dangerous instrument is thrown or propelled at or toward a person.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Even though offensive exhibition is not a crime but a violation, you could still end up in jail and you will have to pay a fine. Thus, if you are accused of offensive exhibition it is important that you contact an experienced attorney who will help make sure that your rights are protected. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been accused of public lewdness, indecent exposure, fondling, sex crimes and other criminal offenses. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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