Public Indecency Attorneys in Columbus

Defending Clients Against Indecent Exposure Charges Throughout Ohio

Even a misdemeanor conviction of public indecency can include jail time of up to 6 months. It is a dangerous charge and deserves the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Our firm has represented many individuals accused of indecent exposure and other serious sex crimes. A sex offense conviction could harm your reputation for a long time – even long after a criminal sentence has been served. Don’t let this happen to you!

Contact the team at Koffel Brininger Nesbitt to be put in touch with our experienced attorneys.

Defining Public Indecency: ORC 2907.09

Ohio statute 2907.09 describes public indecency as a “reckless” offense – something that is an “affront to others.” Any of the following can qualify as a public indecency offense if committed within public view, or in a place where the conduct would likely be viewed by others.

There are essentially three ways to commit misdemeanor public indecency in Ohio:

  • Exposing your private parts
  • Engaging in sex or masturbation
  • Engaging in conduct that looks like sex or masturbation
  • Exposing your private parts for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or to lure a minor

Classification of Public Indecency Charges

Public indecency in Ohio has five categories -- 5th-degree felony down to 4th-degree misdemeanor. The following is a breakdown of public indecency crimes:

Misdemeanor Public Indecency Crimes
  • Exposing your private parts - fourth-degree misdemeanor
  • Exposing your private parts as a second offense – third-degree misdemeanor
  • Engaging in sexual conduct, masturbation, or what appears as such – third-degree misdemeanor
  • Exposing your private parts to a minor – second degree misdemeanor
  • Exposing your private parts as a third offense – second-degree misdemeanor
  • Exposing your private parts to a minor as a second offense – first-degree misdemeanor
  • Engaging in sexual conduct, masturbation, or what appears as such as a second offense – second-degree misdemeanor
  • Engaging in sexual conduct, masturbation, or what appears as such in front of a minor – first degree misdemeanor
  • Engaging in sexual conduct, masturbation, or what appears as such as a second or subsequent violation – a first-degree misdemeanor
Felony Public Indecency Crimes
  • Engaging in sexual conduct, masturbation, or a second or subsequent violation in front of a minor – fifth-degree felony

Public Indecency charges are escalated to higher-level crimes if the person acts "knowingly", if a minor views the act, or if the person has prior convictions for indecent exposure.

The additional elements of misdemeanor public indecency require the State of Ohio to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person acted "recklessly" and under "circumstances likely to be viewed by and affront others who are in the person's physical proximity."

Defense Strategies for Public Indecency Offenses

We have represented individuals charged with public indecency who were not technically guilty of public indecency. There is quite a bit of confusion between prosecutors and police officers as to what exactly is legal and illegal activity. For instance, if a person exercises caution and finds a private place to urinate outside, that is not public indecency. If a couple engages in sexual activity in a parked car in a remote parking lot, it should be argued that such conduct is not illegal. Essentially, when a person actually tries to avoid being seen, then they cannot be said to act "recklessly" or "knowingly" even though the person may have inadvertently been spotted by another person.

CASE EXAMPLE: Our firm recently had Public Indecency charges dismissed against our client, a registered nurse. He was charged with Public Indecency in Columbus, Ohio for allegedly exposing his genitalia to a fast food restaurant employee. Our client was identified by this same employee while he patronized this restaurant days later. Our client maintained his innocence throughout the case and we developed a mistake of identity defense. A polygraph corroborated our client's position that he was not the individual suspected of this crime. After 3 months of representation Attorney Will Nesbitt negotiated a complete dismissal of the charge.

Proving Intent of Sexual Arousal And/Or Gratification

The law is specific regarding these charges and the intention to cause sexual arousal or gratification is often an integral part of the case. Proving this intention is the prosecutor's job, and when it can be challenged with a strong defense, it can increase the possibility of a better outcome in the case.

In cases in which minors are involved, this is a particularly serious legal problem, and defense actions must be taken immediately in order to determine how to move forward with the defense.

Don't Let One Moment of Poor Judgment Ruin Your Future

In some cases, a person who is merely having fun with friends can have a lapse in judgment and be charged with this offense. College students have been charged with the offense in the past, not realizing that their actions can result in an arrest and possible conviction of a crime of a sexual nature. It is critical that you get legal representation from a Columbus public indecency defense attorney at once if you are facing such a charge.

The moment after the arrest, it is urgent that you get legal counsel. Don't engage in answering questions from law enforcement until the defense attorney from KBN arrives to advise you. It is too risky to make statements or comments of any kind until you have an attorney there to protect your rights. The criminal defense lawyer from the firm knows that your case is important and that your future hangs in the balance, and will proceed carefully, protecting your rights and guiding you through the legal process, while aggressively defending the case from start to finish.


Contact a Columbus Public Indecency Defense Attorney from KBN (614) 675-4845 if you have been arrested and charged with public indecency in Columbus or other area of Ohio.