An arrest for indecent exposure in Michigan isn’t just embarrassing — it’s a serious issue. Sometimes charges take defendants by surprise because exactly what “counts” as indecent exposure can be puzzling and vague. 

Here’s what you should know about indecent exposure laws in Michigan:

Indecent exposure is broken into two categories: Simple indecent exposure and aggravated indecent exposure. A “simple” indecent exposure involves knowingly exposing your body openly or indecently where another person is likely to see you and take offense. Aggravated indecent exposure involves actually touching your private parts or participating in a sexual act.

The definition of indecency can vary by your location

What often trips people up is the fact that “indecency” can be a matter of perspective. It’s a subjective term that is usually defined by the surrounding community’s standards of morality or decency, rather than a concrete definition. This can make it difficult to know, especially in a time where there is a lot of conflict over what is considered “indecent” behavior.

Indecent exposure can occur even inside your own home

This is important to understand. Many people don’t realize that they can be charged with indecent exposure for something like walking around nude inside your own home. (It all depends on whether someone was there and you exposed yourself knowing that they might be disturbed or offended.) 

The stigma of an indecent exposure conviction can follow you for the rest of your life and the penalties are fierce. Even a misdemeanor conviction can land you in jail for two years — and a felony conviction can result in life imprisonment. Both juveniles and adults can end up being charged after a single careless action. Even when something is clearly an isolated event, the prosecutor isn’t likely to be sympathetic, so it’s wisest to have experienced, aggressive representation by your side.