Public Indecency Charges in Columbus

Columbus Public Indecency Defense Attorney

Public indecency in Ohio has 5 categories -- 5th degree felony down to a 4th degree misdemeanor. The controlling code section is Ohio Revised Code 2907.09. It is a sex offense under Ohio law.

There are essentially three ways to commit misdemeanor Public Indecency under Ohio law:

  1. exposing private parts; or,
  2. engaging in sexual conduct or masturbation; or,
  3. engaging in conduct that to an ordinary observer would appear to be sexual conduct or masturbation.

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."

Public Indecency charges are escalated to higher-level crimes if the person acts "knowingly", if minors view the act, or if the person has prior convictions for Public Indecency.

You cannot be held criminally responsible for Public Indecency if the other person is your spouse or, in certain circumstances, if the other person resides in the same household.

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.

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.

Also, Ohio law is pretty clear -- "masturbation" includes stimulation of the penis or manipulation of the genital organs. It does not require the State of Ohio to prove anything beyond one of those two acts.

Charged with Public Indecency?

Even a conviction of a misdemeanor offense of public indecency can include jail time of up to 6 months. It is a dangerous charge in any case, and deserves the assistance of Koffel Brininger Nesbitt.

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.

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.