West Chester PA Indecent Exposure Lawyer
Indecent Exposure Charges In West Chester PA
Many of those charged with exposing their genitals in public are not expecting to face criminal charges. In the state of Pennsylvania, a person who exposes their genitals can face serious penalties if convicted. In addition to jail time, there is the embarrassment of the crime, and the potential that a criminal record for indecent exposure could result in the loss of your job, an inability to obtain employment you are otherwise well-qualified for, as well as many other adverse consequences. Because the penalties are harsh for something which might have been inadvertent, a necessity or a joke, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Pennsylvania attorney as soon as possible after you are charged.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your indecent exposure, you could be charged under the following statutes, and may face one or more charges:
· Indecent Exposure – Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18, Section 3127, if you expose your genitals in public or any place where others are present, when you knew—or should have known—that exposure would alarm, affront or offend another person, then you could face second-degree misdemeanor charges. If those who saw you expose your genitals were less than the age of 16, the charges are increased to a first-degree misdemeanor.
· Open Lewdness – Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, Title 18, Section 5901, if you engage in any type of lewd act, knowing that act would be seen by others who would be alarmed or offended, then even if you exposed your genitals from a private place which could be viewed by the public (like your own home), you could be criminally charged with a third-degree misdemeanor.
Penalties Associated with Indecent Exposure in the State of Pennsylvania
If you are convicted of a third-degree misdemeanor in the state of Pennsylvania, you face a fine as large as $2,500, and up to one year in a Pennsylvania county jail. If you are convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor in the state of Pennsylvania, you could face a fine as large as $5,000, and up to two years in jail. If you are convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor, you could face a fine as large as $10,000, and a maximum of five years in jail.
Aggravating Factors for Indecent Exposure Charges in Pennsylvania
It is important to remember that if you exposed your genitals in public or from your home where the public could witness the act, but you did so in the presence of a child or children, the consequences can be significantly harsher. If you are at or near a school when you expose your genitals, you are also looking at harsher consequences and penalties. If you have a prior criminal record, especially for a sex offense, that will definitely impact how the prosecutor will approach your case.
Potential Defenses to Pennsylvania Indecent Exposure Charges
While your exact defense will depend on the circumstances surrounding your charges, your Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney may use one of the following defenses on your behalf:
· You had no criminal intent. You may be elderly and could not wait to relieve yourself, you might be taking a certain medication which causes you to need to urinate urgently, or you could have an illness which increases your need to urinate. If any of these things are true, then you did not expose yourself, you were merely relieving yourself with no criminal intent.
· Any exposure was totally accidental. Perhaps you did not realize there was anyone in the area, and did not intend for anyone to see you.
· You are innocent—you did not expose your genitals. Perhaps yours is a case of mistaken identity, in that the person who identified you was mistaken. Or perhaps you have an alibi for the time of the alleged indecent exposure.
· You were unaware your actions would offend or alarm those present.
· You did not think you were in a public place.
· You were in your own home and were unaware others could see you.
· The only evidence against you is the claim of another person.
Things to Remember if You are Charged with Indecent Exposure in the State of Pennsylvania
If you are arrested and charged with indecent exposure, try to remain calm, even if you believe you did nothing wrong. At this point, becoming angry or irate will only make things worse for you, since the police officer has the power to make several important initial decisions regarding your charges. When the charges involve sex crimes, the severity of those crimes can vary widely, from a misdemeanor to a felony, and with the consequence of having to register as a sex offender, or not having to register as a sex offender.
It is likely you will be held overnight in jail. Again, try to remain calm, use your phone call wisely, calling an attorney who can help you through this difficult time. Do not talk to the police without your attorney present. It is normal that you might want to “explain” what really happened, especially if you had no intention of exposing yourself, rather had no choice due to a medical issue. No matter what the circumstances surrounding your charges, do not try to explain your actions to the police officer. Give the officer your name and address, then politely decline to answer any questions until your attorney arrives.
The police are not your friends, even if they attempt to convince you they are. They absolutely can and will use anything you say against you, even taking your words out of context. As soon as your attorney is on your case, he or she will be looking at every avenue possible to minimize the consequences of these charges. Perhaps your attorney can get the charges dropped entirely, or reduced to a lesser offense. When you are up against charges of Indecent Exposure, you are facing community condemnation and a determined prosecutor. Make sure you have an attorney who is truly in your corner and who will stand by you every step of the way.
Contact Our Pennsylvania Sexual Crimes Defense Lawyers
If you have been charged with the indecent exposure in Pennsylvania, it is crucial you speak to an experienced Pennsylvania sex crimes defense attorney in order to ensure your rights are protected and your future holds some hope.
The sex crimes defense attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices have successfully represented individuals throughout the state of Pennsylvania that have been accused of sexual assault crimes. Our Chester County based law firm is based at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380 and serves clients in Kennett Square, Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Exton, Chester Springs, Chadds Ford, Landenberg, Honey Brook, Oxford, Malvern, Parkesburg, Phoenixville and Paoli. Contact us now at (610) 692-8700 or call toll free (877) 529-2422. Don’t wait—contact an attorney immediately.