While public indecency is one of the less offensive sex crimes, it should still be taken seriously. A conviction can include mandatory registration on the Sex Offenders Registry, which can have life-altering consequences.
Public indecency laws are worded carefully in order to prevent charges being brought against innocent actions. The law is typically defined as an act of sexual conduct or self-exposure in public with the intent to cause arousal in the offender. The final phrase is important. Not every instance of exposure is unlawful. For example, breastfeeding in public is not considered criminal. On the other hand, having consensual sex in public is against the law.
One of the primary concerns for citizens with this law is public urination. This is something of gray area when it comes to public indecency charges. It is illegal to urinate in public spaces under Illinois law, however, the act typically does not involve an attempt to “cause arousal” in another individual. That said, there have been cases of public urination that result in a Class A misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure.
The offense typically carries a punishment of up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500 as a Class A misdemeanor. However, the charge can be elevated to a Class 4 felony if one of several aggravating factors exist. For example, if the offense is the third instance of indecent exposure or the act was committed within 500 feet of a school, then the charge will likely be a felony. The punishment for Class 4 felonies is 1-3 years in the state penitentiary and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
Importantly, apart from all of these potential consequences, anyone convicted of a sex crime must register on the Illinois Sex Offenders Registry for life. The consequences of being on this list are wide-ranging and make even the simplest of every day tasks far more difficult. You will be limited in where you can live, work, and travel, in addition to limitations on social media use and participation in public activities, including religious activities.
There are many issues that must be investigated when it comes to public indecency charges in Illinois. A proper attorney can ask the right questions in order to secure your future and rights favorably.
As stated, even though public indecency is one of the lesser sexual crimes, a charge should be taken seriously. This is especially true because the possibility of a felony conviction and placement on the Sex Offender Registry. It is important not to let a simple slip of reasoning define your future.
Kerr & Schmiege are nationally recognized criminal defense lawyers for DuPage County, including the cities of Wheaton, Naperville, Aurora, Westmont, Oak Brook, and Lombard. Give your future the best chance with our highly skilled defense strategies and understanding of prosecutor tactics. Contact us immediately to ensure your rights are upheld to the fullest extent of the law.
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