If you’ve been accused of a charge of public indecency in Ohio, I know you are extremely concerned about what could happen to you. Besides being extremely embarrassing, the consequences of such an accusation being public and being considered a “sex offender” is frightening. But we can help you get through this.
What is considered Public Indecency under Ohio Law?
Public Indecency charges include lewd behavior, public sexual conduct, public masturbation, or otherwise engaging in sexual activity or publicly exposing your private parts in a manner that suggests sexual conduct, sexual gratification or arousal. So this generally excludes activity like public urination.
The penalties for these offenses depend on whether you act recklessly but not intentionally, or knowingly expose yourself in view of a minor.
Ohio Public Indecency Laws and Penalties
The penalties for public indecency under the Ohio Sex Offenses statutes are as follows:
Exposing your private parts in a manner which is “likely to be viewed by” and be an “affront” to others is a public indecency offense is typically classified as a 4th Degree Misdemeanor.
- A 4th-degree misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $250.
- A second offense would make it a 2nd-degree misdemeanor.
- If the exposure was viewed by a minor, that would make it a 1st-degree misdemeanor, or a 5th-degree felony for a second offense.
Engaging in any public sexual conduct or public masturbation (or that would appear to be such actions) is typically classified as a 3rd-degree misdemeanor.
- A 3rd-degree misdemeanor has a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
- A second offense of this act would make it a 2nd-degree misdemeanor
- If the sexual conduct was viewed by a minor, that would make it a 1st-degree misdemeanor, or a 5th-degree felony for a second offense.
Knowingly exposing yourself, either via sexual conduct or exposed nudity to a minor is a 2nd-degree misdemeanor.
- A 2nd-degree misdemeanor has a maximum penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $750.
- A second offense of this act would make it a 1st-degree misdemeanor.
- Exposing oneself knowingly to a minor with the intention of luring a minor into sexual activity would make this a more serious charge of a 5th-degree felony.
See Ohio Revised criminal code Chap. 2907 Sec. 09
What if both the accused defendant of a public indecency charge and the victim are minors ?
The law makes no specific allowance for actions between minors. If you are a minor or your minor child acted foolishly and potentially engaged in public indecency by doing something that he or she either thought was consensual, or was simply a dumb act by a juvenile, you could still be in real legal trouble.
Please call me to discuss the situation, and what we can do to avoid a criminal record and other embarrassing or potentially life-altering consequences of a charge like this.