Washington Indecent Exposure Laws

Indecent Exposure Crimes in Washington State

The law regarding indecent exposure differs greatly depending on the state that you live in. In Washington, it is considered indecent exposure when a person exposes his or her private parts in a public space, or in a place where other people are present.

The state's indecent exposure law makes it a misdemeanor to "make any open and obscene exposure of his or her person or the person of another knowing that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm."

Simply put, there must be lewd or obscene behavior in order to get arrested. Another element of the crime is that a witness must be willing to come forward and complain and later appear in court to testify against the defendant.

Penalties For Indecent Exposure

In general, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor in the state of Washington. However, if the victim is a under the age of fourteen, the crime is considered a gross misdemeanor with enhanced penalties. If the defendant has been previously convicted of indecent exposure (or has a prior sex conviction), indecent exposure is punishable as a Class C felony.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Washington's indecent exposure laws. See Sexual Assault, Sex Crimes, and Sex Offenders and Sex Offenses for more information.

Code Section

RCW 9A.88.01

What is Prohibited

Intentionally exposing your private parts in a public space or place where other people are present and making any open and obscene exposure of his or her person or the person of another knowing that the conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm.

Penalties

Generally a misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum of ninety (90) days in jail and a thousand dollar ($1000) fine.

Enhanced Penalties

Intentionally exposing your private parts to a child under 14, or if you have prior convictions you can face enhanced penalties including felony charges.

Exceptions

Breast feeding in public

City, Township, and Campus Ordinances

In addition to a state wide ban on public indecency, there are also local ordinances that citizens must abide by. Municipalities may also prosecute simple nudity under various' disorderly conduct' ordinances. For example, check out Seattle's Disorderly Conduct ordinance. Be sure to research your local city, township, or campus rules for more information.

Hiring An Attorney

Because the state of Washington's indecent exposure laws can sometimes get complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced sex crimes lawyer if you have questions about your specific situation.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.