Crimes that involve sex are taken more seriously, and treated more harshly, by the Oregon criminal justice system. This includes the crime of indecent exposure. Even though most cases of indecent exposure in Oregon are treated as misdemeanors, a conviction for an indecent exposure will have more serious repercussions to your personal and professional life than other misdemeanor offenses. In fact, depending on your past criminal history, a conviction for indecent exposure can result in you being required to register as a sex offender for ten years or even longer.
Oregon’s Public Indecency Statute
An individual can be charged with indecent exposure in Oregon if, while in a public place or in view of a public place, they do one of the following:
- Perform an act of sexual intercourse
- Perform an act of deviate sexual intercourse or
- Expose their genitals with the intent of arousing their sexual desire or the sexual desire of another person.
For the purpose of the statute, the term sexual intercourse has its common meaning. However, it should be noted that any amount of penetration, however slight, is enough to qualify the act as sexual intercourse under the law.
Deviate sexual intercourse is defined as contact between the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another. Again, any amount of contact will be sufficient to qualify the activity as deviate sexual intercourse.
Under the law, exposing your genitals is only illegal if the exposure was done in a public place or in a place visible from a public place with the intent to arouse sexual desire, yours or another person’s. So exposure for sexual arousal that occurs in, say, a public park is certainly illegal, However, under the law, you could be arrested and charged with public indecency if you exposed yourself while in your own home for the purpose of sexual arousal and someone on a public street outside saw you do it.
Public indecency is considered a Class A misdemeanor in Oregon. The state has a three-tier classification for all misdemeanor crimes, with Class A misdemeanors being considered the most serious. This means that a conviction for public indecency is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,250. In addition to jail time and a fine, a period of probation is also usually imposed. Furthermore, a misdemeanor conviction will become a permanent part of your criminal record. Anyone doing a background check will be able to see that you were convicted of public indecency. Obviously, this fact can have an impact on employment and other areas in your life.
Public indecency will be considered a Class C felony if you’ve had a prior conviction for public indecency, third-degree rape or sexual misconduct. Third-degree rape is defined as sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years of age. Sexual misconduct is defined as sexual intercourse with a person under 18 years of age. Oregon also has a three tier classification for all felony crimes, with Class C misdemeanors being considered the least serious. This means that conviction for felony public indecency is punishable up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $125,000. In addition to jail time and a fine, a period of probation will be imposed. As was the case with a Class A misdemeanor, conviction of a felony will become a permanent part of your criminal record with the same negative impacts on your life.
In addition, if you have had a prior conviction for an offense that is classified as a sex crime under Oregon law, you will be required to register as a sex offender as a result of your public indecency conviction. This requirement will last for a minimum of ten years and will have a serious impact on where you can live and the employment that you can accept.
Exposure and Local Municipal Laws
Technically, urinating in public is not considered to be an act of public indecency under Oregon law. However, Oregon gives local governmental entities, like cities and counties, the right to make their own laws, including laws involving exposure. This means that while exposing your genitals without the intent to arouse sexual desire may not be illegal at the state level, it can be illegal at a local level, depending on where the exposure takes place.
For example, within the city limits of Portland, it is illegal for any person to expose their genitalia while in a public place, or in a place visible from a public place if the public place is open or available to persons of the opposite sex. The purpose of Portland’s indecent exposure statute, and similar ones in Eugene, Ashland and Happy Valley, is largely to prevent public nudity. However, under these local laws, you could be arrested and charged with indecent exposure for urinating in public.
As a side note, all of the above laws focus solely on sexual intercourse, sexual contact and the exposure of genitalia, with or without the intent to sexually arouse. This means that a female going topless would not be guilty of violating either Oregon’s public indecency law or any of the local indecent exposure laws. However, doing so could still result in an arrest for disorderly conduct or other similar offense.
Schedule A Free Consultation
Don’t take the public indecency charges against you lightly. The State of Oregon takes public indecency seriously. A conviction for public indecency will have negative repercussions that will last for years. Take the time to contact our experienced sex crime defense attorneys for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your options.