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Public Indecency / Indecent Exposure

Most Chicagoans are generally aware of what indecent exposure is (also known as public indecency), but are often not aware of just how serious this crime can be. Most of us would agree that it is better that individuals do not expose themselves in public, however, when such conduct does happen, accused individuals deserve the best legal representation possible to fight and defend against the criminal charge.

It often catches people by surprise when they find out that indecent exposure is considered a felony in certain situations, and is otherwise considered a misdemeanor. Some individuals mistakenly believe indecent exposure is more like an infraction, where a simple fine is paid and the accused individual moves on. Instead, an indecent exposure charge can cost you significant money and potential jail time. As such, the sooner you or a loved one can speak with a seasoned Chicago Indecent Exposure Defense Attorney, the better able you or your loved one will be to fight the criminal charge.

Indecent Exposure/Public Indecency in Illinois

Under Illinois law, 720 ILCS 5/11-30, a person may be charged and found guilty of public indecency if he or she is age 17 or older, and commits one of the following acts in a public place:

  • An act of sexual penetration or other sexual conduct; or
  • Lewd exposure of the body with the intent to arouse or satisfy the individual’s sexual desire.

These two acts of public indecency are somewhat broad and can encompass a wide variety of conduct. For example, one officer may believe that public urination is considered an act of public indecency, while another officer may not believe such conduct is considered public indecency under Illinois law. Also, breastfeeding in public is not considered public indecency, however, some officers may choose to arrest a woman who is breastfeeding in public despite what the law says.

A criminal charge of public indecency is one that is often left in the hands of a police officer’s discretion, which means that not all public lewdness charges will have the same facts or be treated in the same way. This means it is crucial that you have a Chicago Indecent Exposure Defense Attorney who can ensure that you have not been wrongfully charged with public indecency in Illinois.

Further, there may be a dispute as to what “public place” means, so public indecency charges may be dismissed if it cannot be proven the charged individual actually committed the acts of indecency in a public place. The language of the Illinois public indecency statute defines a public place as “any place where the conduct may reasonably be expected to be viewed by others.” Given that “public place” is even broader than the two acts listed above that give rise to a public indecency charge in Illinois, it is essential that you seek legal representation if you have been charged with public indecency. With the help of Chicago criminal lawyer David L. Freidberg, we can fight your criminal charge by arguing that you did not commit the acts charged with and/or that if you did commit the acts, they were not conducted in a public place under the definition of the statute.

It is important to remember that while it is certainly possible to successfully fight a public indecency charge, the broad language of the statute can also make it much easier to be charged and convicted of public indecency in Illinois. As such, you need the strongest defense possible to prove you are not guilty of the crime. If your attorney believes it may be too difficult to fight the charge and achieve dismissal, then you may have other options that will allow you to overcome the public indecency charge without having to serve jail time or pay a significant amount in fines.

Penalties for Indecent Exposure/Public Indecency in Illinois

Under Illinois law, one conviction of public indecency is considered a Class A misdemeanor which carries with it the potential for the imposition of jail time for up to one year as well as a fine of up to $2,500. While this sentence is at the extreme end, it goes to show that Illinois treats public indecency charges very seriously, and all Illinois residents must be aware of what is at risk if convicted of public indecency.

If you have been convicted of public indecency three or more times, the classification of the crime goes from being a Class A misdemeanor to being a Class 4 felony. If convicted, the penalties are much harsher and the potential for prison time and fines significantly increases. Further, if the charged individual is 18 years of age or older, and the act of indecency was performed within 500 feet of an elementary or secondary school (with children present), the classification of the crime is enhanced to a Class 4 felony, even if this is the individual’s first ever charge of public indecency.

Overall, a conviction of public indecency may result in penalties that can be more serious than other criminal charges, such as driving under the influence (DUI). This may not seem fair given that an act of public indecency doesn’t necessarily result in physical harm to another person. However, fairness is not always taken into account when determining whether or not an individual should be charged and convicted of public indecency under Illinois law, and charged individuals must be fully prepared for the potential consequences of conviction.

How a Cook County Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You

The first goal when facing a public indecency charge in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs is to determine whether or not there are grounds for having the criminal charge dismissed. Your attorney will work diligently to find all possible defenses to your criminal charge, and whether or not the arresting police officer acted in accordance with the United States Constitution. If your constitutional rights have been violated in any way, this alone may be grounds for dismissal of a criminal charge. If you believe pleading guilty is the best option for you to overcome your public indecency charge, your attorney will work closely with the charging prosecutor to come up with a fair and reasonable resolution to the criminal case, such as agreeing to probation or pleading guilty to a lesser crime that does not carry the same serious consequences as a public indecency conviction.

Contact Chicago Indecent Exposure Defense Attorney David L. Freidberg Today to Schedule Your Free Confidential Consultation

Indecent exposure/public indecency is a crime that carries with it consequences that may seem harsh, especially in situations where the conduct in question is not particularly dangerous or egregious. No matter how minor an indecent exposure charge or conviction may seem to be in Illinois, it is imperative to have strong legal representation throughout the entire criminal proceeding. To ensure you are taking all steps possible to protect your rights, you should consider speaking with a highly skilled Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. With more than 20 years of experiencing defending individuals charged with a variety of crimes, Chicago-based attorney David L. Freidberg has the experience, dedication, and resources necessary to provide each client with the individualized representation each of them deserves. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and address your concerns, and David L. Freidberg is prepared to provide you with legal representation right away. To speak with David L. Freidberg, contact our office today by calling (312) 560-7100 to schedule a free confidential consultation, or you may contact us via email and we will respond to your inquiry immediately.