Intimate Parts

January 23, 2023

In many states, it is illegal to reveal one’s intimate parts in public. In this article, we’ll define the term “intimate parts” and explain how it relates to indecent exposure law.

Key Takeaways

  • Intimate parts are typically defined as the genitals, anus, groin, buttock, and breasts, although the exact definition varies from state to state
  • Some states’ indecent exposure laws make it illegal to reveal intimate parts in public
  • In most states, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor, although penalties can be expected to be more severe for repeat offenses
  • In Minnesota, indecent exposure is a felony carrying a maximum penalty of 3 years

What Are Intimate Parts?

In law, intimate parts are often defined as the genital or anal areas, groin, inner thigh, or buttock of people of any sex, as well as the breast of a female. This term is most relevant to indecent exposure law. 

Federally in the United States, indecent exposure is defined as the act of exposing one’s genitals in public in a manner that is likely to offend other people. It is considered indecent in any situation in which a reasonable person would or should know that the exposure may be seen by others, including in a public space or through a visible window, and that it is likely to affront or alarm onlookers. 

The elements of indecent exposure as defined in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces case U.S. vs. Ferguson are:

  • “That the accused exposed a certain part of the accused's body to public view in an indecent manner;
  • That the exposure was willful and wrongful; and
  • That, under the circumstances, the accused's conduct was to the prejudice of good order and discipline.”

In most states, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor, meaning it carries a penalty of under one year in jail. 

Intimate Parts and Indecent Exposure

In some states, indecent exposure is defined as revealing not only genitals but all “intimate parts.” The exact definition of intimate parts varies from state to state, but generally includes genitals, groins, anuses, buttocks, and breasts.

These states may also have harsher penalties for indecent exposure. In California, for example, being convicted of a single indecent exposure offense requires a person to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life. 

In Minnesota, indecent exposure is a Class I penalty carrying a maximum penalty of 3.5 years in prison, $10,000.00 in fines, or both. And in all states, the penalty is likely to be stronger for a second offense, and repeat offenses may be treated as felonies. 

Intimate Parts and Sexual Assault Law

If you have been charged with indecent exposure, it is important to work with an experienced lawyer who is familiar with cases like yours. This will give you the best chance of receiving a strong defense and as minimal a penalty as possible.

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