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How does South Carolina define indecent exposure?

In South Carolina, there are a number of acts that are considered offenses against decency and morality. Anyone caught performing any such acts will typically face criminal charges. This week's column will address just one of these offenses: indecent exposure.

How does South Carolina define indecent exposure? According to state statutes, when a person willfully exposes his or her private parts for public display, he or she is committing an act of indecent exposure. This must be done with the intent to offend others. Intent really is a key word here, as it is in most criminal cases. Not all incidents of exposure are considered crimes, such as when a mother is breastfeeding her child while in public.

What penalties are associated with an indecent exposure conviction? This criminal offense is usually considered a misdemeanor. The potential penalties if one is convicted include fines and/or imprisonment. The length of imprisonment will vary per case, but the maximum sentence is three years. If a fine is ordered, the amount due will be determined by the court.

Indecent exposure is not something that the state of South Carolina will gloss over as a minor offense. It will be taken seriously, and the penalties associated with a conviction can greatly impact one's life. Those facing indecent exposure charges have the right to defend themselves in court with the legal representatives of their choosing. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to assist the accused in pursuing a legal course that will help him or her achieve the best outcome possible.

Source:, "Code of Laws: Title 16 - Chapter 15 - Offenses Against Morality And Decency", Accessed on March 12, 2017

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