Outraging Public Decency: What Do I Need to Know?

by | Aug 16 2021 | Criminal Defence

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Outraging Public Decency | Read Time 2 Minutes.

In England, it is a common-law offence to outrage public decency.

From more minor acts such as urinating in public or offensive graffiti to more significant offences such as having sex in public, crimes of this nature vary greatly. Still, they are always crude, vulgar and contrary to the general public standard.

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

Outraging Public decency woman with hands over eyes

What is “public decency”?

The phrase “public decency” refers to a level of public behaviour that we deem to be socially acceptable. This means that the behaviour isn’t upsetting, obscene or shocking. To outrage public decency is to go against the social norm by displaying acts that may offend members of the public. These are forms of criminal behaviour that are lewd and take place in public settings. Some acts of may include:

  • Having sex in public
  • Urinating on statues or war memorials 
  • Wearing attire that provokes upset or disgust, often of an extreme socio-political nature 
  • Publishing outrageous material such as pornography or pedophilia 
  • Masturbating in public 

What is classed as outraging public decency?

As part of the Obscene PublicationsAct 1959, 

To be guilty of outraging public decency, the act will need to comply with the following criterion: 

  • you must carry out an act which is lewd, obscene or of disgusting character, which outrages minimum standards of public decency as assessed by the jury;
  • the act must take place in a public place, or a place which is accessible to, or within view of, the public;
  • the act must take place in the actual presence of two or more persons who are capable of seeing it – it is irrelevant whether these people actually saw the act or were outraged by 
Facts About Outraging Public Decency

What are the sentencing guidelines?

On conviction, the maximum penalty is imprisonment or a fine. If it’s a summary conviction, the maximum sentence is 6 months, but this also depends on the nature of the crime. 

If the crime was also sexual, the offender might have to have their details registered on the sex offender registry. Outraging public decency can be tried at both the magistrates and the crown court. Conviction in the crown court has an unlimited imprisonment time, while most magistrates convictions will come with a hefty fine.

If you witness an act of this nature, you need to report the crime to the police.

However, if someone accuses you of outraging public decency, contact our team today and we will refer you to an experienced LGBT criminal defence lawyer.

What offences the related offences?

Outraging public decency is just one of many crimes that fall under “obscene offences.” Obscene offences cover many crimes, including those that come under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959. Obscene crimes include:

  • Outraging public decency 
  • Obscene publications of any kind 
  • Cottaging, flashing and indecent exposure 
  • Pornography and prostitution
  • Sex crimes
  • Pedofilia and pornography 
Outraging public decency members of the public

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 outraging public decency?

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

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