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Indecent Exposure

In the ACT, indecent exposure carries a maximum penalty of 1 year’s imprisonment and/or a fine of 20 Penalty Units.

In the ACT, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a charge of indecent exposure.

The Offence of Indecent Exposure

The offence of indecent exposure is found at Section 393 of the Crimes Act 1900 (ACT).

A person who offends against decency by the exposure of his or her person in a public place, or in any place within the view of a person who is in a public place, commits an offence.

What Are the Consequences Of A Conviction?

The consequences of a conviction can be serious depending upon what you do for a living. Some jobs require you to have no criminal convictions and a conviction for indecent exposure might jeopardise your job or make it difficult to obtain visas for overseas travel. Moreover, a conviction for a sexual offence can completely rule out certain career paths, such as teaching and a range of government employment options. In some cases, a prosecution may result in a sentence that includes imprisonment even where an individual has no previous convictions.

Such offences can be complicated by aggravating factors. It is important to get legal advice at an early stage to ascertain precisely what the consequences of a conviction may be and whether you have a defence. It is very important that you obtain legal advice before you take part in any police record of interview.

What Actions Might Constitute Indecent Exposure?

“Indecent” is not defined in the Crimes Act 1900 (ACT) but, generally speaking, something is indecent if it would be seen as such based on the contemporary standards of society.

“Indecent exposure” does not have to involve the genitals. It could involve the baring of the buttocks (“mooning”) or other parts of the body.

The ACT Legislative Assembly has chosen to make a separate offence of urinating in a public place (other than in a toilet). While that offence has been placed (at section 393A) immediately after indecent exposure in the Crimes Act, its maximum penalty is only a fine (of up to 10 Penalty Units) whereas indecent exposure leaves an offender liable to prison for up to a year (as well as a fine of up to 20 Penalty Units)

What the Police Must Prove

To convict you of indecent exposure, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You exposed yourself in an indecent manner.
  • You did so within a public place, or in any place within the view of a person who is in a public place.
  • The law is not limited to exposure of genitals, and it is not necessary for the prosecution to actually prove someone saw what happened. It is merely necessary to prove that a person could have been seen.

Which court will hear your matter?

Indecent exposure charges are summary offences, meaning they are finalised in the ACT Magistrates Court.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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