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Obscene Exposure

In NSW, obscene exposure carries a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of 10 penalty units.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a charge of obscene exposure.

You can find a brief description of each of these penalties at the bottom of this page.

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 obscene 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. It some cases, a prosecution may also result in sentences that include imprisonment even where an individual has no previous convictions.

Such offences can be complicated if there are 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 to the charge. It is very important that you obtain legal advice before you take part in any police record of interview. Call us on 1300 168 315 for urgent advice.

The Offence of Obscene Exposure

The offence of obscene exposure is contained in section 5 of the Summary Offences Act 1988. It reads as follows:

A person shall not, in or within view from a public place or a school, wilfully and obscenely expose his or her person.

What Actions Might Constitute Obscene Exposure?

It is important to note that this offence can be made out even if you are not in a public place or school. You merely have to be within view of a public place or school.

Police generally lay a charge under this provision when a person exposes their genitalia to others in a public place, such as parks, public buildings or on the road or footpath.

However, charges have been laid under this provision against people who are within their own home, but can be seen by people in a public area.

Will I Get a Criminal Record from an Obscene Exposure Charge?

Yes. A criminal conviction is likely unless the Court is convinced that they should exercise their discretion not to convict you of the offence.

What Does Obscene Exposure Mean?

Generally speaking, something is obscene if it offensive, based on the contemporary standards of society.

Can I Pay a Greater Fine to Avoid Being Convicted?

No, it is not possible to bargain with the court that you would pay a larger fine to avoid a criminal conviction. If the court deals with you under section 10 there will be no fine, but there may be court costs.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

This matter is a summary offence, meaning that it will be finalised in the Local Court

What the Police Must Prove

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

  • You exposed yourself in an obscene way
  • You did so within sight of the public place or a school

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.

Possible Defence

It is a possible defend a charge successfully if you are able to show that the exposure of your person was not done wilfully.

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

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