West Virginia Indecent Exposure Laws

Indecent exposure is a type of sex crime that makes it illegal to expose your genitals in public. Acts of indecent exposure are often committed for sexual gratification or to elicit a sexual response. In West Virginia, indecent exposure is a serious crime and violators are classified as sex offenders. The table below outlines West Virginia's indecent exposure law.

Code Section

West Virginia Code section 61-8-9: Indecent Exposure

What's Prohibited?

Intentionally exposing a sex organ or anus (either your own or someone else's), or engaging in any overt act of sexual gratification under circumstances in which the offender knows that their conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm.
Breast Feeding Exception

A mother breastfeeding a child in any location (either pubic or private) doesn't constitute indecent exposure.

Penalties

Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to 90 days, and/or a fine of up to $250.
  • If the exposure was done for the purpose of sexual gratification, then the misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment for up to 12 months, and/or a fine of up to $500.
  • Second offenses are punishable by imprisonment for between 30 days and 12 months, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Third or subsequent offenses are Punishable by imprisonment for between one and five years, and/or a fine of up to $3,000.

Sex Offender Registration Act

Sex offender registries are mostly aimed towards registering offenders who have committed rape or sexual abuse. However, some states also require sex offenders convicted of lesser sex crimes, such as indecent exposure, to register. In West Virginia, people who are convicted of exposing genitals in public are required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act.

Public Urination

Does urinating in public violate West Virginia's indecent exposure law? While urinating in public can violate the indecent exposure law outlined above, the actor would likely have a good argument that the act wasn't done under circumstances that would be likely to cause affront or alarm, and therefore doesn't qualify as indecent exposure.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information about West Virginia's indecent exposure laws contact a local criminal defense attorney.

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