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Home » Choose the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer! » Public Indecency Laws in TN

Public Indecency Laws in TN

man in trenchcoat flashes busy parkAll offenses of a sexual nature are taken seriously in the state of Tennessee. The legal penalties for these types of crimes are long-lasting and often severe, and the social consequences can be even worse. Nobody wants to wind up on a sex offender registry.

Among the less-severely punishable sex offenses are public indecency and indecent exposure — and yes, to be clear, these are two separate crimes. The distinction is subtle, but important, and can mean the difference between one or two sex crimes on your criminal record.

What is public indecency?

If you’ve ever urinated in a public location, you’ve committed the crime of public indecency. If you’ve ever gone streaking or skinny dipping in a public place, you’ve twice more committed public indecency. It’s a fairly common crime with a broad definition.

According to Tennessee state law, each of the following acts fall under the category of public indecency:

  • Getting naked in public;
  • Urinating or defecating in public;
  • Performing any sexual act in public, including but not limited to intercourse, oral sex, bestiality, sodomy, masturbation, and touching the genitals of yourself or another person.

Of course, depending on the location, these acts might not qualify as “public” indecency. If the indecency occurs on your private residence or property, or the property of another consenting individual, then such behavior is not considered public indecency. An exception to this would of course be a private location that’s still visible to the public eye — for example, a front yard.

First and second-time offenders of public indecency are looking at a Class B misdemeanor. They’ll also have to fork over a $500 fine. After that, the misdemeanor bumps up to Class A, the fines increase to $1,500, and jail time enters the picture (a maximum of 11 months and 29 days behind bars).

How is indecent exposure different?

A good question. While public indecency covers a plethora of offensive activities, indecent exposure is all about being sexually indecent with an intended audience.

One big distinction is that this crime can be committed anywhere, as long as the offender would reasonably have expected people to witness the “exposure.” An individual commits this crime when they do something that is both offensive to the average person and performed for the exposed person’s own sexual pleasure.

Body parts considered indecent when exposed include male or female genitals, butts, and female breasts. Masturbation also counts, as well as any form of sexual contact.

If both the defendant and the victim are legal adults, indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor for a first-time offense. If the victim is underage, the charges bump up to Class A.

Legal Representation for Sex Offenses:

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients across a wide range of cases involving sex offenses. If you’re accused of public indecency, indecent exposure, or both, it’s crucial that you seek worthy legal representation to ensure the best resolution possible. Call today, or go online to set up your free initial consultation, and meet with a skilled lawyer who’s ready and waiting to guide you toward the justice you deserve.

(615) 259-2660