In Arizona, there are statutes in place that define how much of a person’s body can be “exposed” to someone else without prior consent. According to A.R.S. §13-1402, a person can be charged with committing indecent exposure when they expose their genitalia or anus to another person without consideration for whether a reasonable person might be offended or alarmed at the act. Excluding breastfeeding mothers, a female who exposes her nipples or areolas can also be charged with this crime.
The severity of these charges can vary according to the age of the reasonable person who witnessed the exposure. If the person who witnessed the indecent act was over the age of 15, then this charge will be classified as a class one misdemeanor. However, if a person under the age of 15 witnessed the act, then it will be upgraded to a class six felony.
The most important thing for you to understand about this statute is that for this charge to be upheld, it must be proven that the person who exposed themselves was acting recklessly and the person who witnessed it would be reasonably offended. An example of how this works would be that a person whose genitals were exposed in a public locker room could not be charged with indecency because any other reasonable person could expect to see nudity in this area.
Penalties for Indecency Charges
The punishments for indecent exposure in Arizona will vary according to age of the person who witnessed the act and if there are prior convictions on your record. For a class one misdemeanor, you will face the following penalties:
- Probation with anywhere from zero months to six months of jail time
- $2500 fine with 84% surcharge ($2,100)
- Probation for up to three years with additional counseling and classes
If you are being charged with a first-offense class six felony, then these penalties may apply:
- Probation with zero days to one-year of jail time
- No probation with four months to two years of prison
If you have a prior offense, then the prison sentence can be expanded to two and three-quarter years. If you have two prior felony offenses on your record, then the prison sentence can extend even further to a maximum of five and three-quarter years. Those who are convicted of this charge and hold two prior convictions of the section regarding indecency with a minor under the age of 15 will be sentenced to a minimum of six years in prison with the maximum time served extending to 15 years.
Potential Defenses Used to Fight Indecency Charges
For most people, the most effective defense will be to prove that a reasonable person, in the same circumstances, should not have been surprised to view a person’s genitalia. One of the most common scenarios for this type of defense is if a person was in a sexually-oriented adults-only business such as an adult bookstore. In these instances, we could argue that due to the nature of the merchandise and activities in the store, a patron could reasonably expect to come across nudity if they looked around the corner into one of the video booths.
Another angle that could be used to argue these charges is the inclusion of the word “reckless” in the statute. If a person was attempting to shield themselves from the view of another person, such as by hiding in a dark corner or their own car, then it could be claimed they were not intending to expose themselves. This is a common defense when a law enforcement officer has walked up to a vehicle or behind a person and caused a person to be inadvertently exposed.
In addition to proving that our clients were not acting recklessly, and that police officers did not act as a reasonable person, we at DM Cantor can also use other strategies in your defense. One of our most successful strategies includes asserting that our client’s Miranda rights were not upheld. If you were coerced into making a statement or denied the right to legal counsel, then we have even more opportunities to prove the charges are false.
When you are dealing with indecent exposure in Arizona, you will need an experienced lawyer that knows how to work for your defense. Contact us at (602) 307-0808 for a free consultation, or you can click here to complete a confidential form that will provide us with the information we need to get started on your case today.