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Understanding Public Indecency Illinois

What Is Public Indecency in Illinois?

Under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or intense emotions, many people engage in sexual conduct in public places. However, they do not know that their conduct could lead to criminal charges for public indecency in certain circumstances.

Public indecency is a crime that prohibits explicit or inappropriate sexual activities in public areas. If you are facing such charges, you are at risk of spending time in prison and being classified as a sex offender. Hence, you must fight your charges fiercely and defend yourself with all your might.

When facing accusations of public indecency, the knowledge and skill of experienced sex crime attorneys are invaluable to your defense. You’ll also need to understand what constitutes public indecency to successfully negotiate the legal environment.

The information in this guide clarifies how the offense works to help you prepare adequately for your case. Keep reading to learn more.

Elements of Public Indecency in Illinois

Under Illinois law, public indecency occurs when the following factors are present:

The Offender Is at Least 17 Years Old

The offense specifically targets people who are 17 years old and above. However, this does not imply that those who are below that age are allowed to engage in public sexual conduct.

Even if they cannot be charged with this offense, they could be charged with other offenses, such as disorderly conduct, since their actions could be disturbing to others.

The Offender Engaged in Sexual Activities in a Public Place

Under Illinois law, anyone who engages in the following acts in a public place may be charged with public indecency:

  • Sexual conduct

  • Sexual penetration 

  • A lewd exposure of the body or genitals to evoke sexual arousal or satisfy the sexual desire of the perpetrator.

The problem with this definition is that important terms such as lewd exposure and sexual conduct are not defined expressly by the statute. As such, the meanings of both terms are subjective.

What amounts to sexual conduct or lewd exposure becomes a matter of the interpretation of the arresting police officer. This means a person could be wrongly arrested and charged with public indecency for engaging in acts that ordinarily shouldn’t qualify as sexual.

If you’re facing public indecency charges and you believe this is what happened in your case, speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately. They can evaluate the events that led to your arrest and use them to show that there is no basis for the charge.

What Is a Public Place?

The above sexual acts are not prohibited because they are bad in themselves. They are prohibited because of the location where they occur, in public. No crime would be committed if the same act occurred in private between two consenting adults,

But what is a public place? Under the law, a public place is “any place where the conduct may reasonably be expected to be viewed by others.” 

From this definition, what amounts to a reasonable expectation of public viewing is subjective and depends on whether people can easily view your activities at that location. For instance, even though a home is private, exposing oneself at the window could constitute public exposure and lead to a public indecency charge.

It is left for the jury to decide whether the sexual activity in your case (if any) was committed in a public place. An experienced attorney can advance arguments in your favor to convince the jury to decide in your favor on this point.

Penalties for Public Indecency in Illinois

Public indecency in Illinois is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor. This is the most serious misdemeanor class and is punishable by ;

  • Imprisonment for less than one year

  • The payment of a fine between $75 to $2500

  • Probation or conditional discharge.

However, the offense becomes a more serious Class 4 felony if the defendant;

  • Has at least two prior public indecency convictions

  • Is at least 18 years old and committed the crime on or within 500 feet of an elementary or secondary school when children are present on the grounds.

In such instances, the punishment for the offense increases to imprisonment for up to three years or six years if certain aggravating factors, such as violence, occurred while the crime was committed. The court may also impose a fine or a probation sentence on those convicted. 

Sex offender registration is compulsory for most felony sex crimes in Illinois. If convicted of a public indecency felony offense, you may also be required to register as a sex offender. 

The consequences of being a registered sex offender are far-reaching and remain even after you have served your sentence. Your reputation and future are at stake, so you must do all you can to ensure you do not get convicted for this offense.

How an Attorney Can Help 

If you’re charged with public indecency in Illinois, a lawyer can be a huge help, and their presence on your team might be all you need to succeed with your case.

A knowledgeable Criminal Defense Lawyer can evaluate your case and the evidence against you and help you understand your charges.

Your attorney can also speak for you in court, present a suitable defense on your behalf, and do all they can to puncture the prosecution’s case against you. With their efforts, you’re more likely to get your charges dropped or dismissed.

In deserving cases, your attorney can explore getting a reduced sentence through a plea bargain. They can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf and work to ensure that you get the most beneficial terms as part of your plea deal.

Having a lawyer represent you during your case is akin to having a powerful ally in a time of war. You can rest easy knowing that someone who understands how the criminal justice system works is solidly behind you and working solely to protect your interests and ensure your success.

 Contact Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyers at Hirsch Law Group

A public indecency charge is serious and could change the course of your life. That is why having strong legal representation throughout your case is crucial.

At Hirsch Law Group, we understand the consequences of a public indecency conviction. With several years of experience defending individuals charged with various criminal offenses, we can provide you with the quality legal representation you deserve during this difficult time.

So, if you have further questions about your case or need help with your defense, do not hesitate to contact us.

Let us help you as you work to avoid a conviction and the harsh penalties of the criminal justice system.