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Indecent Exposure Laws in Arizona

Indecent exposure is a criminal offense that involves the act of exposing one’s genitals, anus, or female breast’s areola or nipple in a reckless manner in the presence of another person who might reasonably be offended or alarmed by the act. This offense is taken seriously in Arizona, with specific statutes and penalties in place to address it. In this article, we will delve into the details of indecent exposure laws in Arizona, including what constitutes indecent exposure, the relevant statutes, aggravated indecent exposure, and the potential consequences of a conviction.

What is Indecent Exposure?

Indecent exposure, as defined in Arizona, occurs when an individual exposes certain private body parts recklessly in a way that could reasonably offend or alarm another person who is present. These private body parts include genitals, anus, or, in the case of females, the areola or nipple of the breast (excluding breastfeeding situations). The key element in this offense is the recklessness of the act and whether a reasonable person would find it offensive.

It’s important to note that simply walking into a locker room or similar location where nudity is expected does not qualify as indecent exposure. In such cases, a reasonable person would anticipate seeing nudity in those circumstances. However, when someone exposes themselves in a public place where nudity is not expected or appropriate, it may constitute indecent exposure under Arizona law.

What ARS 13-1402 Says about Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure in Arizona is governed by A.R.S. §13-1402, which outlines the specific elements of the offense. This statute makes it clear that the core factors in an indecent exposure case are the recklessness of the act and the potential offense or alarm it may cause to another person.

The law also distinguishes between the age of the witness. If the person who witnesses the indecent exposure is fifteen (15) years of age or older, it typically results in a class one (1) misdemeanor. This can lead to probation with up to six (6) months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500.00 plus additional surcharges, and probation for up to three (3) years, which may include mandatory classes and counseling.

However, if the person who witnesses the indecent exposure is under fifteen (15) years of age, the offense can be charged as a class six (6) felony. For a first-time class six (6) felony conviction, the punishment can range from probation with zero (0) days in jail to one (1) year in jail or four (4) months to two (2) years of incarceration in prison.

Moreover, if the offender has prior felony convictions related to indecent exposure or public sexual indecency to a minor under fifteen years of age, the penalties become more severe. In such cases, sentences can range from a minimum of six (6) years to a maximum of fifteen (15) years of incarceration.

What is Aggravated Indecent Exposure?

In addition to standard indecent exposure, Arizona law allows for the prosecution of aggravated indecent exposure when certain aggravating factors are present. These factors, defined in A.R.S. §13-701, include situations where the victim is over the age of 65 or has a disability, when an accomplice is involved, when the act is committed by a public servant, when impersonation of a police officer is used, or when a disguise like a mask is worn during the offense to prevent identification.

Aggravated indecent exposure can result in harsher penalties than standard indecent exposure charges, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Do you have to register as a sex offender if you’re arrested for indecent exposure?

A conviction for indecent exposure in Arizona may lead to mandatory registration as a sex offender, depending on the circumstances and prior convictions. If an individual is convicted of a second or subsequent indecent exposure offense involving a minor under fifteen years of age, they may be required to register as a sex offender.

It’s crucial to understand the implications of such registration, as it can have long-lasting consequences on an individual’s life, including where they can live and work. Therefore, it’s essential to consult with an experienced attorney to explore possible defenses and options if facing indecent exposure charges.

How to defend yourself

Facing Arizona Indecent Exposure charges is something no one wants to go through alone. 

Understanding what constitutes indecent exposure, the relevant statutes, potential consequences, and defenses available is crucial if you or someone you know is facing these charges. Seeking legal counsel from an experienced attorney is advisable to navigate the complexities of these laws and potentially mitigate the impact of an indecent exposure charge.