Is Indecent Exposure A Misdemeanor Or Felony Offense?

Earlier this month, a Wilsonville man was arrested and charged with indecent exposure. Initially, he was accused of committing a misdemeanor; however, after the District Attorney’s Office reviewed the case, they decided to dismiss the original charge and re-file as a felony against the man.

So what allowed the charge to elevate from a misdemeanor to a felony?

Defining Indecent Exposure

Alabama Criminal Code § 13A-6-68 lists the elements that define indecent exposure and when it can go from one level of offense to another.

Under this statute, a person commits the offense when they, to sexually gratify themselves or another person:

  • Expose their genitals
  • Doing so in a public space or on someone else’s private property, and
  • Knowing that such conduct will cause affront or alarm

It is not an offense under this statute for a person to expose themselves for sexual gratification if the person to whom they are showing their genitals is their spouse.

Levels of Charges for the Offense

Typically, this offense is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. This is the most serious misdemeanor classification, which results in a punishment of up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000.

Indecent exposure becomes a felony when the alleged perpetrator is on their third or subsequent conviction for this same offense. In such circusmstances, the charge becomes a Class C felony. A person found guilty could be sentenced to up to 2 years in prison and be ordered to pay up to $15,000 in fines.

Depending on the specific circumstances, an indecent exposure conviction could also require the individual to submit their information to the national sex offender registry.

In the case of the Wilsonville man, he was alleged to have exposed his genitals to a woman while she was shopping. On Monday, September 23, 2019, he was arrested, booked, and released on $1,000 bond all in the same day. Just a day later, he was arrested again and held in jail without bond.

In 2008 and 2013, the man was previously convicted of indecent exposure. He was also arrested in March of 2017 for the same offense after two separate women claimed he exposed himself to them inside two different stores. He is still awaiting trial for the alleged 2017 incidents.

Because he had two prior indecent exposure convictions, future ones will be treated as Class C felonies.

Get Skilled Defense from Tidwell Law Group, LLC

If you were charged with a sex crime in Birmingham, discuss your case with our attorneys today. Backed by 17 years of experience practicing law, we know how to build effective defenses to fight allegations.

For a free initial consultation, call us at (205) 536-7770 or contact us online.