It's a particularly raucous Mardi Gras night in the Quarter and you get caught up in the moment and decide to bare it all. When in Rome, after all. Seems innocuous enough, right? Not necessarily. Could flashing your privates mean you’ve committed a sex crime? Could you get arrested for this? Despite its reputation for partying, there are limits under Louisiana's public indecency laws. And what is written in the Louisiana statutes and what New Orleans police enforce in a crowd of revelers can sometimes be different things altogether.
Further, most everyone knows that non-consensual sex like a rape or sexual assault is illegal. But could consensual sexual activity get you into legal trouble as well? These laws aren’t quite as obvious or well-publicized, so here’s a brief summary of prohibited consensual sexual activity laws in Louisiana.
Sexual Activities Laws
Each state has laws that prohibit certain kinds of consensual sexual activity. Normally these correlate with the social norms of that particular state, and tend to change with the times. Louisiana’s prohibited consensual sexual activity laws include regulations found in most other states, like provisions for public indecency and indecent exposure. However, the state also makes it a misdemeanor for someone who is HIV positive to expose another person. There is also a provision involving bestiality.
Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in Louisiana
The main provisions (but not all) of Louisiana’s prohibited consensual sexual activity laws are listed in the following chart.
|Sodomy Laws Applicable to||Both sexes or with an animal|
|Penalty for Sodomy||14§89 Crime against nature: fined not more than $2,000, or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than 5 years, or both|
|HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders||14§43.5 Intentional exposure to AIDS virus: fined not more than $6000, imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than 11 years, or both 15§535 Court shall order HIV test of person convicted of sexual offense|
|Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts||14§106 Obscenity (indecent exposure): not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,500, or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not less than 6 months not more than 3 years, or both|
Louisiana prohibits public and non-public indecency, covering behavior from public sex to non-public nudity intended to be seen by other people. These laws are not very well known and it is possible that someone urinating in public could even find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Again, during major events or festivals throughout the state, this kind of behavior may become rampant. That doesn't necessarily mean you won't be arrested or charged for doing so.
Louisiana Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources
Social attitudes regarding sex are often changing, and state laws often follow suit. If you have been charged with public indecency, a sex crime or would like to fully understand your rights, you can contact a Louisiana criminal defense attorney in your area. You can also visit FindLaw's Sex Crimes section for more comprehensive information on this topic.
Contact a qualified attorney.