Most US jurisdictions have laws relating to indecent exposure, and Florida is no exception. Although the idea behind indecent exposure laws is relatively straightforward, there is still some nuance in the statute that is not necessarily intuitive. What follows is what you need to know about indecent exposure laws in Florida.
In general, indecent exposure laws in Florida prohibit the display, exposure, or exhibition of one’s sex organs in a place that is public or where it might be viewed by someone who is in public. Under state law, the display must have been made with lewd, lascivious, or indecent intent.
In order for the state to obtain a conviction, prosecutors must establish three things:
the act of exposure, and
the location of the act.
The first element the state must prove is that of intent. Under Florida law, the intent of the defendant during the act must have been
Simply exposing one’s nude or partially nude body is not enough to prove intent, nor is doing so by accident. Exposing one’s self in public for the purpose of urination is not lascivious, lewd, nor indecent. Nor is being exposed at a nude beach.
Prosecutors must also prove that the body part exposed was a sex organ. A skimpy bathing suit that still covers the sex organs is not likely to lead to a conviction for indecent exposure in Florida.
The final element that the state must prove is that the exposure was done in a public place or in a private area that may be seen by someone in a public place. Although the defendant may have been in his own private residence when the alleged indecent exposure took place, prosecutors may establish this element by showing that that private place was able to be seen from a public place, possibly through a door or window. For instance, undressing in one’s own home next to an open window that faced a public road would likely be enough to prove the element of intent in a Florida prosecution for indecent exposure.
In Florida, a conviction of indecent exposure is classified as a first degree misdemeanor. If convicted of indecent exposure in Florida, the penalty handed down by a judge may include a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, a defendant may be required to register as a sex offender depending upon the circumstances surrounding the indecent exposure.
If the act of indecent exposure was done before someone under 16 years of age, the conviction will likely be a felony. The indecent exposure conviction may also become a felony if the defendant is over the age of 18 and commits a solo sex act in front of a child under the age of 16. The act may be done in person or online to be considered an aggravating factor.
In these cases, a conviction of indecent exposure becomes a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.