Indecent exposure refers to the willful exposing of an individual’s private parts (genitals, buttocks or female breasts) in a public place in the presence of others with the intention of either alarming others or for sexual gratification. Under Maryland law, the intent to alarm others or to reach sexual gratification is not required, at least one person must be present, and the people do not have to be present physically near the individual committing indecent exposure, for example, someone viewing the incident from a nearby window may satisfy this element.
In the state of Maryland, indecent exposure is considered as a common law crime, meaning it’s based on judicial case rulings and may vary a lot.
However, the penalties of the crime are set by the indecent exposure statute.
The penalty for indecent exposure can reach up to 3 years in jail time and fine of $1,000, making it one of the more serious misdemeanor charges in the state of Maryland, although the case resulting in jail time is not a very common occurrence.
Moreover, indecent exposure also exists for inmates, this refers to the intentional exposing of the prisoner’s genital in the presence of a correctional officer with intent to annoy, harass or embarrass them.
Many states requires individuals that committed indecent exposure to register as sex offenders, however, this is not the case in the state of Maryland. The state of Maryland does not require perpetuators of indecent exposure to register as sex offenders, even if they serve jail time. However some circumstances might cause the court to impose this, these include the presence of individuals under the age of 18 at the time of the exposure and the exposure was of a sexual nature. Moreover, individuals that committed indecent exposure in the presence of children under the age of 15 might face additional sexual assault charges along with being placed on the sex offender registry.
Furthermore, individuals can still be accused of indecent exposure in their own private property, although people are allowed to do whatever they please in their own property, individuals who change in public eye, for example in front of window or in front people passing by, may face indecent exposure charges with the same implications as indecent exposure in an open public setting.
An exception exists to indecent exposure. This is the case of breastfeeding women. Women in Maryland are allowed to breastfeed in any public setting, and wearing a nursing cover or blanket to cover themselves and the baby is not a legal requirement and is only done if viewed as comfortable by the mother.
As they are seen as serious misdemeanor charges in Maryland, individuals convicted with indecent exposure charges are recommended to contact a defense attorney in order to aid in facing the accusations in the best way possible and in order to avoid the 3 years in jail time but also the public humiliation the individual may suffer if losing the case.