What Are The Elements of Indecent Exposure?
New Mexico considers indecent exposure a sexual crime, and a conviction can result in jail time and costly fines. And because it’s a sex crime, getting charged with indecent exposure could subject you to significant societal stigma. The stigma of a sex offense alone could hurt your reputation and cause you to lose friends, even if the allegations are baseless. And New Mexico’s laws for indecent exposure require the court to order mandatory counseling upon conviction as well as other penalties that can negatively impact your life. A criminal charges defense lawyer can help you minimize the damage caused by charges of indecent exposure.
At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we understand the seriousness of an indecent exposure charge. We know that not every person charged with indecent exposure committed a crime. Our team will listen to the facts of your case and help you determine the best strategy to defend your case. Contact our office today to get started.
What Is Indecent Exposure?
New Mexico defines indecent exposure as knowingly and intentionally exposing a “primary genital area” to public view. According to the statute, the primary genital area means the mons pubis, penis, testicles, mons veneris, vulva, or vagina. New Mexico considers indecent exposure to be a misdemeanor offense. A misdemeanor in New Mexico carries the possibility of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
New Mexico’s statutes also contain a provision for aggravated indecent exposure. Aggravated indecent exposure involves a person knowingly and intentionally exposing their primary genital area in a lewd and lascivious manner, with the intent to threaten or intimidate another person. To qualify as “aggravated,” an indecent exposure incident must also involve one or more of the following offenses;
- Indecent exposure to a child under 18 years of age;
- Aggravated assault;
- Assault with intent to commit a violent felony;
- Aggravated battery;
- Criminal sexual penetration; or
- Child abuse.
New Mexico considers aggravated indecent exposure a fourth-degree felony, which carries the potential of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. New Mexico also prohibits acts of indecent dancing or waitering. Waitering means serving food or drink in a place that is licensed to sell liquor.
It is important to know that an indecent exposure conviction will not land you on the sex offender registry. However, an aggravated indecent exposure conviction will.
If you have questions about charges for indecent exposure or aggravated indecent exposure, our lawyers at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices can help. Contact our office to get started on your case.
What Does Knowingly and Intentionally Mean?
To warrant indecent exposure charges in New Mexico, the perpetrator must expose themselves knowingly and intentionally, sometimes referred to as willfully. Defining “willfully” is harder than one might think. The terms “willful” or “intentional” typically refer to acting in a deliberate and purposeful manner. What this means essentially is that if the exposure occurred by accident, the act is unlikely to satisfy the elements of indecent exposure. The prosecutor bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to expose themselves, that they did so knowingly, and that the exposure occurred in public.
What Counts As Public View?
It seems pretty straightforward at first glance, but what exactly do the courts consider as a public view? In most cases, courts consider an act committed in a publicly accessible location to be committed within public view. There are several New Mexico criminal cases that address the issue of what is considered to be a public view. In State v. Artrip, 1991-NMCA-035, 112 N.M. 97, 811, P.2d 585, the court determined that a vehicle parked on a public street during daylight hours to be open to public view. However, the court refused to extend public view to a case where the defendant was inside his own household (State v. Romero, 1985-NMCA-096, 103 N.M. 532, 710 P.2d 99). Other examples of places within public view include:
- Public parks;
- Grocery stores;
- Public streets;
- Sidewalks; and
- Public transportation.
Exposure of the primary genitals within public view is one of the critical elements of indecent exposure charges. If a prosecutor cannot prove the exposure occurred within the view of the public, they cannot prove the offense itself beyond a reasonable doubt.
How to Defend Against Indecent Exposure Charges
Indecent exposure charges can have serious implications on several aspects of your life. One way to fight indecent exposure charges is by presenting a valid legal defense that applies to your case. Legal defenses that apply to indecent exposure charges include:
- Mistaken identity;
- The exposure occurred in a private place;
- You inadvertently exposed yourself in a public place;
- Involuntary intoxication led to the exposure;
- Lack of evidence; and
- You did not expose a primary genital area.
If one of these defenses applies to your case, a criminal charges defense attorney could negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea agreement to lesser charges. Alternatively, if the legal defense relieves you of any criminal liability, the prosecutor could agree to dismiss your charges entirely.
If you are looking for an attorney who will negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf and advocate for a desirable outcome, you came to the right place.
Facing Indecent Exposure Charges in New Mexico? Contact Our Office Today
At New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we dedicate time to each one of our clients to learn the facts of their case and listen to their desired outcomes. We know that a single defense strategy cannot apply to every case. Our clients receive individualized attention that helps us prepare a tailored defense strategy unique to the facts surrounding their arrest. Our team is committed to conducting a thorough investigation, listening to your concerns, and presenting you with defenses to indecent exposure that can help secure a favorable outcome.
With over 30 years of combined experience representing criminal defendants in New Mexico, we are confident that we have what it takes to defend you against indecent exposure charges. If you or a loved one are facing indecent exposure accusations in New Mexico, contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.