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Public Indecency

While public displays of nudity may be done for shock or amusement, people who expose their private parts may be charged with public indecency. Commonly referred to as “indecent exposure” in other jurisdictions, alleged offenders can face enhanced charges if they have prior convictions or they knowingly committed offense likely to be viewed by a minor.

Public indecency is considered a sex offense in Ohio and is often prosecuted as a misdemeanor, but certain factors can result in felony charges. Regardless of the classification, any public indecency conviction can be an extremely embarrassing and damaging offense for a person to have on his or her criminal record.

Attorney for Public Indecency Arrests in Dayton, OH

Were you arrested anywhere in the greater Montgomery County area for an alleged public indecency offense? You will want to contact Joslyn Law Firm before you make any kind of statement to authorities.

Dayton criminal defense lawyer Brian Joslyn represents clients accused of sexual offenses all over Montgomery County, Greene County, Clark County, and Miami County. Call (937) 356-3969 right now to have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


Overview of Public Indecency Crimes in Ohio


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Montgomery County Public Indecency Charges

Under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.09(C)(2), it is a fourth-degree misdemeanor if an alleged offender recklessly exposes his or her private parts, under circumstances in which the alleged offender’s conduct is likely to be viewed by and affront others who are in the alleged offender’s physical proximity and who are not members of the alleged offender’s household. If the alleged offender has been previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to a public indecency violation, a subsequent violation is a third-degree misdemeanor or, if any person who was likely to view and be affronted by the offender's conduct was a minor, a second-degree misdemeanor.

If the alleged offender was previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to two public indecency violations, a subsequent violation is a second-degree misdemeanor or, if any person who was likely to view and be affronted by the offender's conduct was a minor, a first-degree misdemeanor. If the alleged offender has been previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to three or more public indecency violations, a subsequent violation is a first-degree misdemeanor or, if any person who was likely to view and be affronted by the offender's conduct was a minor, a fifth-degree felony.

Ohio Revised Code § 2907.09(C)(3) makes it a third-degree misdemeanor for an alleged offender to recklessly do any of the following, under circumstances in which the person's conduct is likely to be viewed by and affront others who are in the person's physical proximity and who are not members of the person's household:

  • Engage in sexual conduct or masturbation; or
  • Engage in conduct that to an ordinary observer would appear to be sexual conduct or masturbation.

If the alleged offender has been previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to a public indecency violation, either of the violations above is a second-degree misdemeanor or, if any person who was likely to view and be affronted by the offender's conduct was a minor, a first-degree misdemeanor. If the alleged offender was previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to two or more public indecency violations, either of the violations above is a first-degree misdemeanor or, if any person who was likely to view and be affronted by the offender's conduct was a minor, a fifth-degree felony.

Under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.09(C)(4), it is a second-degree misdemeanor if an alleged offender knowingly does any of the following, under circumstances in which the person's conduct is likely to be viewed by and affront another person who is a minor, who is not the spouse of the offender, and who resides in the person's household:

  • Engages in masturbation;
  • Engages in sexual conduct; or
  • Engages in conduct that to an ordinary observer would appear to be sexual conduct or masturbation.

If the alleged offender has been previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to a public indecency violation, any of the violations listed above is a first-degree misdemeanor. If the alleged offender was previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to two or more public indecency violations, any of the violations listed above is a fifth-degree felony.

Ohio Revised Code § 2907.09(C)(5) makes it a first-degree misdemeanor for an alleged offender to knowingly expose his or her private parts with the purpose of personal sexual arousal or gratification or to lure a minor into sexual activity, under circumstances in which the person's conduct is likely to be viewed by and affront another person who is a minor, who is not the spouse of the offender, and who resides in the person's household. If the alleged offender has been previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to any public indecency violation, this violation is a fifth-degree felony.


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Public Indecency Penalties in Dayton

The possible sentence an alleged offender receives if convicted for public indecency depends on the classification of the alleged offense. Maximum sentences in these cases are generally as follows:

  • Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 30 days in jail and/or fine of up to $250;
  • Third-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 60 days in jail and/or fine of up to $500;
  • Second-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 90 days in jail and/or fine of up to $750;
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $1,000;
  • Fifth-Degree Felony — Up to 12 months in prison and/or fine of up to $2,500;

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Ohio Resources for Public Indecency Offenses

State v. Wilcox, 2012-Ohio-3400 — Robert S. Wilcox was a passenger in a stopped vehicle with a horn malfunction. The driver of the vehicle was being cited for driving with a suspended license when Wilcox urinated on the curb, leading to his arrest for public indecency and a subsequent search that resulted in police discovering three plastic baggies police believed contained illegal drugs. The trial court found that Wilcox’s arrest for public indecency was improper, because he “was not committing acts, but rather responding to a natural biological function,” and it suppressed the evidence that the officers found when they searched Wilcox incident to his arrest. The state appealed but the Second District Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court, concluding that the “trial court correctly found that Wilcox’s arrest for public indecency was improper” and he was being held at the scene in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, after repeatedly expressing his need to urinate, when he committed the alleged public indecency violation.

State v. Flanagan, 2013-Ohio-5456 — Eric C. Flanagan was convicted on one count of public indecency stemming from his participation in sexual conduct in a parked car in a parking lot. A jury found Flanagan guilty of violating Ohio Revised Code § 2907.09(A)(3) and imposed a partially suspended jail sentence, a fine, and other sanctions. The Second District Court of Appeals found legally insufficient evidence to convict Flanagan under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.09(A)(3), reversing the judgment of the trial court and vacating his conviction.


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Joslyn Law Firm | Dayton Public Indecency Defense Lawyer

If you were arrested for an alleged public indecency crime anywhere in the Miami Valley area, it will be in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Joslyn Law Firm defends individuals in Huber Heights, Kettering, Piqua, Springfield, Troy, Beavercreek, Dayton, Fairborn, and many surrounding areas of Montgomery County.

Brian Joslyn is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Dayton who can fight to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties. He can review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call (937) 356-3969 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


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