Criminal Defense Law Center
West Michigan

Indecent Exposure

Indecent Exposure Defense Attorneys
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Misdemeanor indecent exposure is a crime punishable by up to one year in jail. The law provides that if the person was fondling his or her genitals, pubic area, buttocks or if the person is female, breasts, while indecently exposed, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than two years. 

Indecent Exposure charges happen a lot more than a person might think. However, of all the possible charges a person can face, there are only a few that strike as much embarrassment and fear into the heart of a person who is facing Aggravated Indecent Exposure or Indecent Exposure. In the cases I have handled, I have not had one single client that was not completely remorseful about what happened and mortified about what they did and the possible punishments they are facing.

 

 

 

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The Three Levels of Indecent Exposure Crimes In Michigan.

(I) INDECENT EXPOSURE – MCL 750.335a(2)(a)

To be found guilty of indecent exposure contrary to MCL 750.335a(2)(a), the prosecutor must prove each of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The individual knowingly made an open or indecent exposure of his or her person.
  2. The individual did this in a place under circumstances in which another person might reasonably have been expected to observe it and which created a substantial risk that someone might be offended or in a place where such exposure is likely to be an offense against your community’s generally accepted standards of decency and morality.

AGGRAVATED INDECENT EXPOSURE – MCL 750.335a(2)(b)

To be found guilty of aggravated indecent exposure contrary to MCL 750.335a(2)(b), the prosecutor must prove each of the following beyond a reasonable doubt.

  1. The individual knowingly made an open or indecent exposure of his or her person.
  2. The individual was fondling his or her genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if the person is female, breasts.
  3. The individual did this in a place under circumstances in which another person might reasonably have been expected to observe it and which created a substantial risk that someone might be offended or in a place where such exposure is likely to be an offense against your community’s generally accepted standards of decency and morality.


The penalty for aggravated indecent exposure is:

  1. High court misdemeanor conviction punishable by up to 2 years in prison or a fine up to $2,000.00, or both.
  2. Sex Offender Registry as a Tier I offender if the victim is a minor.
  3. Sex Offender Registry as a Tier II offender if BOTH the victim is a minor AND the individual was already a Tier I offender.
  4. Sex Offender Registry as a Tier III offender if BOTH the victim is a minor AND the individual was already a Tier II offender.

INDECENT EXPOSURE BY A SEXUALLY DELINQUENT PERSON – MCL 750.335a(2)(c)

To be found guilty of indecent exposure by a sexually delinquent person contrary to MCL 750.335a(2)(c), the prosecutor must prove each of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The individual knowingly made an open or indecent exposure of his or her person.
  2. The individual did this in a place under circumstances in which another person might reasonably have been expected to observe it and which created a substantial risk that someone might be offended or in a place where such exposure is likely to be an offense against your community’s generally accepted standards of decency and morality.
  3. The individual is a “sexually delinquent person”, defined by MCL 750.10a as “any person whose sexual behavior is characterized by repetitive or compulsive acts which indicate a disregard of consequences or the recognized rights of others, or by the use of force upon another person in attempting sex relations of either a heterosexual or homosexual nature, or by the commission of sexual aggressions against children under the age of 16.”

The penalty for indecent exposure by a sexually delinquent person is:

  1. Felony conviction punishable by imprisonment for an indeterminate term, the minimum being 1 day in jail and the maximum being life in prison.
  2. Sex Offender Registry as a Tier I offender as a first offense.
  3. Sex Offender Registry as a Tier II offender if the offender was already a Tier I offender.
  4. Sex Offender Registry as a Tier III offender if the offender was already a Tier II offender.

Here are some examples when indecent exposure convictions were upheld:

  • “Open and indecent exposure” does not necessarily require a public place. A male was convicted of indecent exposure where he summoned a minor female to the bedroom of his own house and exposed his erect penis through the zipper of his shorts. People v Neal, 266 Mich App 654; 702 NW2d 696 (2005).
  • A witness does not actually have to see the exposure but rather the prosecutor must show that the exposure happened under conditions which another person “might reasonably have been expected to observe it”. A male was convicted of indecent exposure where he was sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle near an elementary school with his bare legs exposed and his right hand moving at his crotch but no witness could testify that they saw his genitalia. People v Vronko, 228 Mich App 649; 579 NW2d 138 (1998).

Am I A Bad Person?

 have not had one single case where a client of mine facing Indecent Exposure was a female. Every single one of them were males. The vast majority of those cases are brought against males. 

The majority of these cases do not have anything to do with sexual release and instead are brought about by stresses that are in a person’s life. The stress then suddenly gets the better of the person causes them to act out. In some cases there is only simply exposure, while other instances deal with fondling behavior that are done simply to shock someone. In a few cases, the exposure was accidental.  Many of the aggravated indecent exposure charges that come into court deal with men masturbating in a parking lot or somewhere they thought was private but turned out not to be so private. 

When these men have to face the legal consequences of Indecent Exposure charges, the shock of the potential punishments, regret and humiliation leads them to my office seeking my professional guidance. 

Every single client I have represented have been employed and had amazing jobs. These clients have had college degrees and amazing families. I would say these clients were men who had a ton to lose because of these charges.  

When these men call me, their fear, their concern and the high level of embarrassment they are feeling can be felt right over the phone! I assure my clients that I am here to help them and that I will do my best to do so. I understand what it takes to get them the best results possible. I will assure them that when we go to court, they will not be going out in handcuffs. I will do all that I can do get them a diversion program to keep this poor decision off their criminal record. I will do my best to make sure they are not branded a sexual deviant. I assure my clients that their life won’t be impacted by this forever. 

Indecent exposure charges can be embarrassing and will stick on your record

What is a Sexually Delinquent Person in Michigan?

An individual whose sexual behavior is defined by any of the following:

  • Compulsive or repetitive acts indicating a disregard of consequences or the recognized rights of other people; or
  • The application of force upon other people in attempting to engage in sex acts; or
  • Committing sexual aggression against children under 16 years old.
    At trial, the people must prove a person is a sexual delinquent beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Criminal Defense Law Center West Michigan

Attorney Shawn Haff
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