Exposure is when a person intentionally exposes their genitals, in a public place, with the intention of someone seeing them and them being alarmed or distressed.
Indecent exposure is a sexual offence which carries a maximum punishment of two years imprisonment and, the potential for a convicted person to become subject to the sex offender notification requirements.
What is exposure - the law
Section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes exposure a criminal offence. It is what we refer to as an either way offence which means the accused case could be heard by the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court.
A conviction of indecent exposure can have serious consequences under UK Law. It is classified as a sexual offence and, not only carries with it the associated stigma, but the potential requirement for a person convicted to sign the Sex Offenders Register. This can have potential consequences for their job, family life and ability to travel abroad.
Indecent exposure is a crime of 'specific intent'. This means that in cases where someone's genitalia is exposed it must have been exposed with that intention. For example, a person urinating in public would not necessarily be exposure, if that person did not mean to cause anyone alarm or distressed. Therefore, it is possible for exposure to be done by accident and if so this would not be a crime.
The sentence for indecent exposure varies, the maximum sentence is two years imprisonment if a persons case is heard by the Crown Court.
There are a number of reasons a case of exposure may be heard by the Crown Court for example:
Intimidating or threatening behaviour;
A sustained cause of behaviour;
Targeting a particular vulnerable person;
A victim who is under 18 years old.
What determines a sentence and which court hears the case is the specific facts of that case and the seriousness. The court would also take in to consideration any mitigating factors relating to the accused.
A Police Caution
Instructing solicitors at the earliest stage is beneficial to any accused person no matter what the offence. However, where there is a possibility of a caution for the offence of exposure it is crucial this is considered by the accused having had legal advice. The potential benefit of a caution is that an accused would not become subject to the notification requirements of the Sex Offenders Register. The notification requirements only apply to this offence in the following circumstances:
1. Where an offender is under the age of 18 and, has been sentenced in respect of the offence to imprisonment for a term of at least 12 months.
2. In any other case:
Where the victim was under 18, or the offender in respect of the offence is or has been:
- sentenced to a term of imprisonment,
- detained in a hospital, or
- made the subject of a community sentence of at least 12 months.
What PCD Solicitors can do for you
PCD Solicitors have a wealth of experience in dealing with cases of indecent exposure. We specialise in sexual offences and deal only with this type of offence on a daily basis. If you are facing allegations that you have intentionally exposed yourself to a person, causing them alarm or distressed, please contact our lawyers today for a free, confidential and non judgemental chat. We can advise you on the law, procedure and potential outcomes specific to your case.