How to Defend Indecent Act and Indecent Exposure Charges?

Indecent act and indecent exposure are outlined in sections 173(1) and 173(2) of the Criminal Code, respectively. Both offences involve an individual exposing themselves in some way to others without consent. Both offences are considered sexual offences. Specifically, an individual commits an indecent act when they willfully commit an indecent act in public, in the presence of others, or in any other place with the intent to offend any other individual.

Common examples of indecent acts include an individual exposing their sexual organs to another individual in public, an individual masturbating in public, or an individual engaging in sexual activity in public. An individual may also be charged with an indecent act if they expose themselves to another individual in private if the accused’s intent was to offend the other individual. The court will decide on a case-by-case basis whether a particular act is considered indecent by examining the context in which the act occurred.

An individual commits indecent exposure when they expose their genitals, for a sexual purpose, to an individual under the age of 16. Common examples of indecent exposure include an individual exposing their genitals to an individual under the age of 16 in public or in a private setting, or an individual masturbating at or near a park or school where children are present. To gain a conviction, the Crown must prove that the accused committed the act for a sexual purpose.

Both indecent act and indecent exposure are considered sexual offences. As a result, the penalties for those convicted are harsh. Individuals convicted of either offence may be ordered to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act. A SOIRA order may remain in place for between ten years and life. Those convicted of these offences may also face fines and jail time.

If you have been charged with indecent act or indecent exposure it is important to consult with legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected. Donich Law has experience defending individuals charged with both indecent act and indecent exposure. We have successfully defended individuals caught exposing themselves in public, including to individuals under the age of 16.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to Beat an Indecent Act Charge?
How to Beat an Indecent Exposure Charge?
Can I get my Indecent Act Charge Dropped?

Additional Information

Assault
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Child Pornography Forensics
Children’s Aid Society
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
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Consequences of a Criminal Record
Domestic Abuse
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Immigration Consequences
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How to Beat an Indecent Act Charge?

Both indecent act and indecent exposure are considered serious sexual offences. Those who are convicted may face jail time, fines, and registration as a sex offender. Due to the high risks involved with a conviction, it is important to protect your rights from the outset of your criminal matter. In many cases, the most effective way to accomplish this is by hiring legal counsel to guide you through the process.

When formulating a defence for an indecent act charge, it is important to first understand the evidence in the possession of the Crown. In Canada, the Crown is legally obligated to provide the defence with all the evidence collected, through what is called disclosure. Once the defence has received all the important disclosure items, a defence unique to the facts of the case can be established.

As with all criminal offences, the burden lies with the Crown to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused is guilty of the offence of indecent act. To prove this the Crown must present evidence to the court that shows that the accused willfully exposed him or herself in a public place, or in the presence of another individual, with the intent to offend.

To beat the charge, the accused may argue that they did not expose their genitals, that they did not expose themselves willfully or with the intent to offend, or that they did not expose themselves in the presence of others.

As outlined above, to gain a conviction the Crown must prove that the accused exposed their genitals. If, in fact, the accused only exposed an area above or below their genitals, they may make this argument. If the court has reasonable doubt as to whether the accused genitals were exposed, the accused will not be convicted.

In addition to proving exposure, the Crown must prove that the accused exposed him or herself willfully and with the intent to offend. If an accused lacked the knowledge or intent because they, for example, accidentally exposed themselves, they will not be convicted.

Finally, an accused charged with indecent act may argue that they did not expose themselves in the presence of another individual. If an accused charged with indecent act can demonstrate that they were inside their home or in another location where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy, they will be convicted.

How to Beat an Indecent Exposure Charge?

Prior to developing a defence to your indecent exposure charge it is important to ensure you have received all the evidence against you. The Crown is obligated to provide you with all the evidence they have collected through what is called disclosure. Once you have received disclosure and reviewed it in full, you can begin to develop a defence unique to your case.

When dealing with an indecent exposure charge or any other sexual offence, it is important to consult with legal counsel prior to advancing any defence due to the serious consequences associated with a conviction. To beat an indecent exposure charge, an accused may argue that they did not expose their genitals or that they lacked the necessary sexual intent to be guilty of the offence.

To gain an indecent exposure conviction the Crown must prove that the accused exposed his or her genitals. To successfully beat the charge, an accused may present evidence to the court that shows that they did not expose their genitals. If, for example, the accused can show that they exposed only the area above their genitals, they will not be convicted of the offence.

The Crown must also prove that the accused exposed his or herself to an individual under the age of 16 for a sexual purpose. To beat the charge, an accused may argue that they did not expose their genitals for a sexual purpose. If, for example, the accused had accidentally exposed themselves to a child and can present evidence proving this to the court, the accused will not be convicted.

Can I get my Indecent Act Charge Dropped?

Due to the sexual nature of most indecent act charges, it may be more difficult to have these charges dropped. As a general rule, the Crown will withdrawal charges where there is no reasonable prospect of conviction or where it is not in the interests of justice to prosecute the accused.

There will be no reasonable prospect of conviction where the Crown lacks the necessary evidence to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, if the complainant is no longer willing to participate and testify at trial, the Crown may be forced to withdrawal the charge.

The Crown will also withdrawal charges against an accused where it is not in the interest of justice to prosecute the individual. It is less likely that the Crown will withdrawal an indecent act for this reason. Due to the sexual nature of many indecent act charges, there will be a high public interest in prosecuting accused individuals. In certain cases, however, where the allegations are very minor, the Crown may withdrawal the charge if they do not believe the offence warrants the accused having a criminal record.

If you have been charged with indecent act or indecent exposure and your goal to get the charges dropped, it is important to hire legal counsel to negotiate with the Crown on your behalf. Donich Law regularly defends individuals charged with indecent act and indecent exposure all over Ontario. We achieve favourable results for our clients by combining risk management, negotiation, and litigation.

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