Indecent Exposure: What Do I Do If I’m Arrested?

by | Aug 11 2021 | Criminal Defence

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Indecent Exposure | Read Time 5 Minutes. 

In the UK, an indecent exposure conviction can come with some severe consequences. Indecent exposure is most certainly a sexual offence, under section 66 of The Sexual Offences Act.

If the police arrest you, LGBT Lawyers can provide you with criminal defence services. However, If you are the victim of indecent exposure you must report the crime to the police.

A woman hides a mans face from indecent exposure

What is classed as indecent exposure?

The Sexual Offences Act defines an act of indecent exposure as intentionally exposing your genitals to someone. Whatsmore, the person committing the act intends on someone seeing them and being “alarmed or distressed” by the exposure. 

This essentially means that the exposure has intention and purpose behind it. Based on this logic, you cannot accidentally commit an act of indecent exposure (a commonly asked question). Those who commit this act frequently do so for sexual gratification or arousal from the victim being shocked.

Although a comparatively minor crime, acts like indecent exposure can be gateways to serious crimes like sexual assault and rape. 

What are the “aggravating” factors?

Indecent exposure has a set sentence if the act is simple. However, there are certain “aggravating” factors that will dictate how severe the sentencing is, and can change the type of crime that is committed. These may include:

  • Targeting a person based on specific vulnerability, e.g. because they have a disability 
  • Using intimidating or threatening behaviour
  • Following the exposure with a more severe sexual offence, such as sexual harassment or assault 
  • The victim is under the age of 18 
  • Threatening the victim to stop them from reporting the crime to the police 
  • The exposure involved masturbation 

However, the court can also consider possible mitigating factors such as whether the offender has any criminal history, has any mental disabilities or shows any remorse for their actions.  

What counts as indecent exposure

What is the maximum penalty?

In the UK, indecent exposure carries a maximum penalty of two years. However, this can vary depending on the specific nature of the crime. Typically, a two-year sentence is the worst possible scenario. However, you can also receive a “summary conviction”, in which case the maximum penalty is a six-month prison term, a fine or both. 

If you are the victim of indecent exposure, you need to report the crime to the police, as it is a criminal, not a civil matter, and at this stage a lawyer won’t be able to help you just yet.


However, if someone accuses you of an indecent sexual offence, contact our team today and we will refer you to an experienced LGBT criminal defence lawyer.

Is indecent exposure a sex offender crime?

Many of those who commit crimes of this nature are often unaware that their actions can lead to severe consequences. Whether the offender receives a community order or prison time, they will always have to register their details onto The Sex Offenders Register.

This can have a huge knock-on effect for future employment and relationships. 

A man about to commit indecent exposure

What evidence is used in court?

Indecent exposure can be quite hard to prove, especially if the case is word of mouth with no objective evidence to support it. 

Most indecent exposure cases rely on evidence such as CCTV footage, video or photographs, statements and eyewitnesses. It can also be challenging to prove the intention behind the exposure, thus difficult to prove it wasn’t an accident. 

What should I do if I’m arrested?

In this case, you’ll usually go to a local police station, held in question and subsequently called for your interview. Furthermore, it’s at the interview stage where you’ll need to have a criminal defence lawyer present to represent you and make sure you know and understand your rights. 

Facing charges for indecent exposure?

Get in touch today to talk to an LGBT criminal defence lawyer.

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