Chicago Indecent Exposure Charges Lawyer
Exposing your genitals in public, also known as indecent exposure or public indecency, is considered a sex crime and carries stiff penalties. That’s why hiring a Chicago indecent exposure charges lawyer is a good idea, even for minor cases.
If you’ve been charged, call O’Meara Law today at 312-909-0706 for a free and confidential consultation.
Elements of Indecent Exposure
According to Illinois, indecent exposure occurs when one of the following takes place:
- You perform a sexual act in public, such as penetration or other forms of sexual conduct
- You expose your body in public as an attempt to arouse others or satisfy your sexual urges
A person must at least 17 years of age in order to be charged with indecent exposure. While those ages 16 and younger cannot be charged with indecent exposure, they can be charged with disorderly conduct.
While indecent exposure is considered a sex crime, no nudity must occur. You can have your clothes on and still be guilty. The main factor for the prosecutor is being able to prove that you performed the sexual act or exposure in a public place. Illinois defines a public place as a location where the sexual act could have been seen by others. This is a broad definition that is subject to misinterpretation.
Penalties and Collateral Consequences of Indecent Exposure
Indecent exposure is a Class A misdemeanor. Penalties include up to $1,500 and as long as one year in prison. In many cases, however, you may avoid jail time by completing probation and/or attending evaluation and treatment.
Subsequent offenses are treated more harshly. A third offense or subsequent of indecent exposure becomes a Class 4 felony. You could also be charged with a Class 4 felony for a first offense if the act occurred within 500 feet from a school. A Class 4 felony is punishable by up to three years in prison and possible fines of up to $25,000.
While indecent exposure is typically a misdemeanor charge, it can have lasting effects. If convicted for a third or subsequent time, the state of Illinois will require you to register as a sex offender. You will have to register at least every year for at least 10 years or whenever you move, which can be quite inconvenient.
You won’t be able to seal or expunge your indecent exposure record, so it will be seen by anyone who does a background check on you. Long after you’ve served your time and paid your fines, you may face any of the following collateral consequences:
- Inability to find a good job
- Barring from certain professions requiring a license or background check
- Trouble gaining admission to college
- For felons, inability to own or possess a firearm
- For immigrants, strong possibility of deportation
How O’Meara Law Can Help
Don’t let the misdemeanor label fool you. Indecent exposure is no minor offense. You’ll have to live with the conviction for the rest of your life. Fortunately, with a Chicago indecent exposure charges lawyer on your side, you may be able to avoid a conviction or to receive reduced penalties.
There are some defenses that may apply to you. Age is one. For example, if you are under age 17, you cannot be charged with indecent exposure. Alternatively, if you can prove that you were coerced into performing the act, thought you were in a private location, or did not intend for the act to be sexual in nature, you might be able to beat the charges.
Attorney Michael O’Meara stands ready to right for your rights and to find the right defense for your case. To learn more about how he can put his two decades of courtroom experience to work in your indecent exposure case, call O’Meara Law today at 312-909-0706.