In New York Indecent Exposure, or exposing a person’s genitals, is a crime under three different statutes in the Penal Law. These charges are called:

Exposure of a Person involves showing private or intimate parts of one’s body. Public Lewdness involves the display of private or intimate parts of one’s body in a lewd manner or those involving in a lewd act. The difference between these charges is explained below.

New York Indecent Exposure

The Exposure of a Person charge is codified in New York Penal Law Section 245.01. Under New York Penal Law Section 245.01, a person is guilty of Exposure if s/he appears in a public place in such a manner that the private or intimate parts of his or her body are exposed.

What is Considered a Private or Intimate Part?

The Penal Law does not provide a definition of what is considered a “private or intimate part.” However, Section 245,01, specifies that for females private or intimate parts also include the “portion of the breast which is below the top of the areola.” However, the Exposure of a Person charge does not apply to the breastfeeding of infants or to any person entertaining or performing in a play, exhibition, show or entertainment.

Sentencing and Penalties for New York Exposure of a Person

Under New York Law, Exposure of a person is a Violation. That means, this charge will not result in a criminal conviction, as violations are not considered crimes. Violations are punishable by a fine or up to 15 days jail. Most frequently, however violations result in a plea to “time served,” even if that time is minimal.

Although this charge is a violation, each jurisdiction in the State of New York, can pass more restrictive local laws. Cities, towns and villages are not prohibited from passing a local ordinance that prohibits exposure of a person in a public place, at any time, whether or not such person is entertaining or performing in a play, exhibition, show or entertainment.

Is New York Exposure of a Person Charge Subject to SORA?

New York Exposure of a Person Charge is not subject to SORA, the Sex Offender Registration Act.

New York Public Lewdness

Another New York Indecent Exposure charge is Public Lewdness. There are two different degrees of Public Lewdness. Specifically,

  • Public Lewdness (Penal Law Section 245.00),
  • Public Lewdness in the First Degree (Penal Law Section 245.03)

Public Lewdness in the First Degree is the more serious charge of the two and requires the presence of an additional criminal element. Specifically, one of the following must also be present:

  • Intent to be observed by an individual under the age of 16 in a public place, OR
  • A prior conviction for New York Public Lewdness in the preceding year.

New York Public Lewdness

This New York Indecent Exposure charge is codified in New York Penal Law Section 245.00. Under New York Penal Law Section 245.00, a person is guilty of Public Lewdness when he or she:

  1. Intentionally exposes the private or intimate parts of his or her body in a lewd manner or commits any other lewd act
  2. In a public place, OR
  3. In private premises under circumstances in which he or she may readily be observed from either a public place or from other private premises, and with intent that he or she be so observed, OR
  4. While trespassing under circumstances in which he or she is observed by a lawful occupant.

What is a Public Place for the Purpose of this New York Indecent Exposure Charge?

There is no legal definition of what constitutes a “public place” under the language of Article 245 of the New York Penal Law. The Courts have held that the definition of a public place from Section 240.00 does not apply to these New York Indecent Exposure charges.

The term “public place” is not defined in this statute or in Penal Law article 245, and the Court of Appeals has held that the definition of “public place” in Penal Law § 240.00 is inapplicable (People v. McNamara78 NY2d 626, 630 [1991]).

The following have been held to be public places for the purpose of the New York Indecent Exposure charges:

  • Bathrooms,
  • Schools,
  • Parks,
  • Places of Amusement,
  • Bars,
  • Clubs,
  • Interior of someone’s car.

Penalties and Sentencing for New York Public Lewdness

This New York Indecent Exposure charge is a Class “B” Misdemeanor. As such, this particular charge is punishable by:

  • Up to 90 days in jail;
  • Probation;
  • Conditional Discharge (with conditions imposed by the court, such as community service or completion of a treatment program);
  • Unconditional discharge (no conditions imposed by the court);
  • Time Served.

Is New York Public Lewdness Subject to SORA?

This New York Indecent Exposure Charge is not subject to Sex Offender Registration Act, commonly abbreviated as SORA.

New York Public Lewdness in the First Degree

Another New York Indecent Exposure Charge is Public Lewdness in the First Degree. This charge is codified in New York Penal Law Section 245.03. New York Public Lewdness in the First Degree has the following elements:

  1. Being nineteen years of age or older AND intending to be observed by a person less than sixteen years of age,
  2. In a public place, OR in a private place in which one may be easily observed from a public or a private place, OR while trespassing and being observed by a lawful tenant while doing so,
  3. Intentionally exposing the private or intimate parts of his or her body in a lewd manner
  4. For the purpose of alarming or seriously annoying such person.

Additionally, it is also Public Lewdness in the First Degree when someone commits Public Lewdness (as defined in New York Penal Law Section 245.00) AND within the preceding year has been convicted of an offense defined in Sections 245.00 or 245.03 of the New York Penal Law.

What is a Lewd Act for New York Indecent Exposure Charges?

The term “lewd act” is not defined in the New York Penal Law. The following conduct has been determined to be lewd acts by the Court:

  • Masturbating and making obscene remarks in front of a window of his residence in full public view is a lewd act.  People v. Darryl M., 123 Misc 2d 723, 726 (Crim Ct, NY County 1984)
  • Repeatedly stroking a covered erect penis and rubbing it against the buttocks of three females in a subway stations a lewd act. People v. Hatton, 26 NY3d 364 (2015) (interpreting Penal Law § 130.52).

Penalties and Sentencing for New York Public Lewdness in the First Degree

Public Lewdness in the First Degree is a Class “A” misdemeanor. As such, this charge is punishable by any of the following:

  • Up to 1 year in jail;
  • Probation;
  • Conditional discharge (with conditions set by the sentencing court – such as completion of a program or performance of community service);
  • Unconditional discharge (no conditions set by the sentencing court);
  • Time Served.

Is New York Public Lewdness in the First Degree Subject to SORA?

New York Public Lewdness in the First Degree is not subject to Sex Offender Registration Act, commonly referred to as SORA.

Contact Top Rated New York Indecent Exposure Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you or your loved one have been arrested for New York Indecent Exposure, you need experienced criminal counsel. These charges can result in a permanent criminal records and jail time. Although these New York Indecent Exposure charges will not result in you having to register as a sex offender under Sex Offender Registration Act, a conviction may have long lasting, if not permanent consequences on your life.

Even if you have received a Desk Appearance Ticket, you need to take these charges very seriously. Picking the right attorney can make all the difference in your case. Read our client testimonials and schedule your consultation today.