Some crimes like indecent exposure can be difficult to understand because one's actions and intent matter. In North Dakota and other states, indecent exposure usually involves displaying one's genitals in public in an attempt to receive sexual gratification. Indecent exposure is a serious offense that can sometimes lead to time in prison.
One cannot show his or her genitals in public in order to alarm, offend or entice a sexual reaction in others, and any behavior like this may constitute indecent exposure. This type of offense generally only applies to genitals and not breasts or undergarments. While indecent exposure is different from sexual assault, a sexual assault charge may be applicable in cases involving any physical contact. Urinating in public might also be different from indecent exposure depending on the circumstances. People urinating who thought they could not be seen and did not intend to gain anything or offend or arouse others will likely not be charged.
A first indecent exposure offense will in most instances be a misdemeanor, and conviction may result in a fine and a small jail sentence. Subsequent offenses could lead to a more serious felony charge. Regardless of the severity, any indecent exposure conviction could require registration as a sex offender in some states, with all of the negative consequences that would entail.
Any charges related to sex crimes should be taken seriously as convictions can have lifelong consequences, and one may wish to consult an attorney when charged with anything from indecent exposure to solicitation. Depending on the circumstances of the arrest, it may be possible for a criminal defense attorney to get the charges of a client reduced or dropped.