August 23, 2022 | Kentucky Law
Our constitutional rights afford us certain liberties in the privacy of our homes. Generally, we have the right to be naked in our homes. However, some situations could possibly violate Kentucky’s indecent exposure laws, including answering the door naked.
What Are Kentucky’s Indecent Exposure Laws?
Kentucky has two indecent exposure laws that could result in fines and jail time for a violation. First-degree indecent exposure offenses are wobblers, so the prosecutor can charge you with a felony or a misdemeanor offense.
First-Degree Indecent Exposure
Kentucky Revised Statute §510.148 makes it illegal for a person to:
- Intentionally expose their genitals;
- To a person under the age of 18 years;
- When they knew or should have known the conduct would cause alarm or offense to the person.
A first offense is a Class B misdemeanor charge. Second offenses committed within three years increase the charge to a Class A misdemeanor. The charge is a Class D felony if the third offense is committed within three years of the second offense.
Second-Degree Indecent Exposure
Kentucky Revised Statute §510.150 makes it illegal for a person to:
- Intentionally expose their genitals;
- To a person 18 years old or older;
- When they knew or should have known that their conduct would likely cause the person alarm or offense.
A second-degree charge of indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor.
What Are the Penalties for Indecent Exposure in Lexington?
These crimes are considered sex crimes. Therefore, a person convicted of indecent exposure must register as a sex offender for 20 years to life. Additionally, you face jail time and fines for a conviction.
Class A misdemeanor convictions carry up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $500. Class B misdemeanor convictions carry up to 90 days in jail and up to a $250 fine. If you are convicted of a Class D felony, you could serve one to five years in prison and pay a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.
Can I Be Charged with Indecent Exposure if I Answer the Door Naked in My Own Home?
Neither statute for indecent exposure states that the exposure must be in “public.” Instead, the statutes say “under circumstances” where the person knew or should have known their actions could cause offense or alarm.
Therefore, if a jury found that a reasonable person should have known that answering the door naked could cause alarm, you might be found guilty of indecent exposure if you exposed your genitals to someone. Likewise, standing on your porch or in front of a large bay window could be considered exposing your genitals to the public, especially if you try to call attention to yourself when others are passing your home.
However, the statutes clearly state that the person must have “intentionally” exposed their genitals. Therefore, opening your door to pick up the newspaper naked when you thought no one was around might not rise to the level of intent. Therefore, it would be up to the prosecutor to prove intent to obtain a conviction.
What Are Other Defenses to Indecent Exposure Charges in Lexington?
In addition to claiming that you did not have any intention of exposing yourself to the public, other defenses to indecent exposure charges could include:
- You thought you had consent to expose yourself (i.e., you were having consensual sex in a private location)
- You were not the person that committed the crime (i.e., mistaken identity)
- The state lacks evidence to prove all of the required elements for a criminal conviction
- You may have intended to expose yourself, but you had a reasonable belief that the person was over 18 years old
- The police officers violated your civil rights or lacked probable cause for an arrest
If the police arrest you for indecent exposure, you should contact an indecent exposure lawyer immediately. Even though the fines and jail time might be minimal for a misdemeanor conviction, you must register as a sex offender.
Being a registered sex offender has numerous consequences. It impacts your career choices, where you live, and your reputation in the community. Your best chance of avoiding these consequences is to hire a Lexington criminal defense lawyer to present an aggressive defense against the criminal charges.
Trying to talk your way out of the charges or explain your actions to the police without a lawyer present can worsen the situation. It is best to respectfully decline to answer questions without a lawyer and invoke your right to remain silent.
Contact the Lexington Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #212
Lexington, KY 40507