Georgia Indecent Exposure Laws

You might say that you were simply urinating in public, but those around you claim it was much more – public indecency that offended them and you now have to answer for the charges. When we think of someone “exposing” themselves, we often get the notion from popular culture of the creepy guy in a trench coat, running around flashing their private parts to get their kicks. But one can violate the laws in several other ways, as noted below. If you’ve been accused of violating indecent exposure laws in Georgia, you’ll want to understand the charges and any possible defenses that may be available to you.

Elements of Indecent Exposure

The basic elements of indecent exposure, more formally known in Georgia as “public indecency,” involves intentionally exposing oneself in public or performing lewd acts in a public place. Keep in mind, this is a type of sex crime that may require a person who is convicted or pleads guilty to register as a sex offender

Public Places

In general, a public place is anywhere that is open to the public, i.e. any place where the conduct involved may reasonably be expected to be viewed by people. For locations like parks and sidewalks, this isn’t much of a question. But sometimes this becomes a question of fact for a jury to decide. However, lawmakers have provided further guidance in the statute by defining “public places” as also includes jails, and penal or correctional institutions.

Possible Defenses to Indecent Exposure

There are several possible defenses to indecent exposure in Georgia. First, the defendant may claim that the person who saw the conduct consented to its viewing. However, this becomes tricky when a third person(s) also sees the conduct, but never gave consent. For instance, if a man exposes his penis to his partner at a public park, although his partner might not mind, those around him likely will and that can be considered “lewd conduct.” A second defense is lack of intent or that the exposure was accidental. Finally, the actor may claim that their motivation wasn’t sexual in nature, such as urinating in public.

Georgia Indecent Exposure Laws at a Glance

The following table provides a basic overview of Georgia’s indecent exposure laws and penalties.

Statutes

Penalties

  • First Offense: Misdemeanor, up to one year in jail, fine, and likely have to register as a sex offender
  •  Third or subsequent offenses: Felony, one to five years in prison, fine, and likely have to register as a sex offender

What Conduct is Prohibited Public?   

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Lewd exposure of the sexual organs
  • Lewd appearance in partial or complete nudity, or
  • Lewd caressing or fondling of another person

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Additional Resources

If you have additional questions about Georgia indecent exposure laws, click on the following links below:  

Accused of Indecent Exposure? Get a Free Case Evaluation

If you’ve been charged with public indecency, keep in mind that this is considered a sex offense and can carry serious penalties and consequences that could have a lasting impact on your life such as having to register as a sexual offender. Before going to court, you should meet with a lawyer to discuss your options. Start today with a free case review from an experienced Georgia criminal defense lawyer.

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