Indecent Act and Indecent Exposure are some of the most serious crimes an individual in Oshawa, Ajax, Pickering, Cobourg and Bowmanville can be charged with. An individual convicted of either offence faces jail time and registration as a sex offender. Donich Law has years of experience developing strong defences for individuals charged with indecent act and indecent exposure across Ontario.

The firm works closely with experts and forensic analysis to challenge the Crown’s evidence. If you have been charged with indecent act or indecent exposure in Oshawa, Ajax, or Bowmanville, Donich Law can help guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are respected throughout.

Indecent act charges in particular are determined by the court on a case-by-case basis. There is no list of activities that are considered indecent, so it is up to the police, Crown, and Court to determine if the actions of a particular individual rise to the level of indecent. As a result, having experienced legal counsel to challenge the Crown’s evidence is very important.

In 2021, Donich Law represented an individual charged with committing an indecent act in a Walmart parking lot in R. v. C.X. [2021]. The accused was alleged to have exposed his penis to a woman inside a parking lot and appeared to be masturbating. Upon arrival of the police, the accused was found in the parking lot, partially undressed. The Firm successfully challenged witness evidence and provided medical evidence to refute the Crown’s case.

In 2018, Donich Law defended a reputable businessman accused of exposing himself in a public parking lot in R. v. A.T. [2018]. There, the firm hired a medical expert who testified that it was impossible for the complainant’s description of events to have occurred.

In 2017, Donich Law represented an erotic photographer alleged to have exposed himself to a client in R. v. M.R. [2017]. There, the firm used forensic evidence to demonstrate that the allegations were made up. Click here for more information on how to defend indecent act charges.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal Offence, Your Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

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Legal Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What Allegations are Considered “Indecent”?
Are Indecent Act and Indecent Exposure the Same Thing?
What is a Promise to Appear?
How do I Defend an Indecent Act or Exposure Charge?

Additional Resources

Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Domestic Abuse
First Offenders
Immigration Consequences
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
Your Rights

What Actions are Considered “Indecent”?

For the offence of indecent act, the Criminal Code does not specify what actions are “indecent.” This will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Typically, individuals are convicted of indecent act for engaging in sexual activity with another person or alone while in public or in clear view of other persons.

However, an indecent act does not need to be sexual. Individuals who expose their sexual organs in public, such as when they are urinating in public, can also be charged with indecent act. Ontario courts have held that to commit indecent act, the individual’s exposure needs to “offend public decency” and be outside “community standards of tolerance,” so sunbathing nude on a nudist beach or being topless in a public park would not result in a charge of indecent act.

For the offence of indecent exposure, any exposure of an accused’s genitals for a sexual purpose to an individual 16 years of age or younger will fulfill the requirements of the offence.

Are Indecent Act and Indecent Exposure the Same Thing?

Indecent Act and Indecent Exposure are two distinct offences. Although they have similar elements, there are several key differences between the two.

A person commits the offence of indecent exposure when they expose their genitals to anyone under the age of 16 for sexual gratification. A person can commit indecent exposure in private, in public, online, or in person.

A person commits the offence of indecent act when they knowingly engage in something indecent in public, around at least one other person, or when they engage in something indecent in public or privately with the intention of offending someone. They do not need to be doing this indecent act to receive sexual gratification and it does not need to be witnessed by a minor, unlike with indecent exposure. Also, unlike indecent exposure, individuals can be charged with indecent act for doing something other than exposing their genitals.

In summary, the three main differences between indecent act and indecent exposure are that indecent exposure requires the accused to expose their genitals while indecent act does not; indecent exposure requires the complainant be 16 or under, while indecent act does not; and indecent exposure requires that the action be done for sexual gratification while indecent act does not.

What is a Promise to Appear?

Sometimes, individuals arrested for indecent act or indecent exposure may be released by police on a promise to appear instead of being held in custody for a bail hearing. A promise to appear, also known as Form 10, is a legal document that accused persons must sign to be released after arrest. The document tells them what they are charged with and when they need to appear in court. If an accused person fails to appear in court on the date specified in the promise to appear that they signed, they will likely be charged with the criminal offence of failure to appear.

A Promise to Appear is usually given in conjunction with a police undertaking, or a Form 11.1. This legal document sets out conditions that an accused person must comply with while they are living in the community pending the resolution of their criminal charges. These conditions could include a curfew, the need to live at a specific address, to live with a surety, to stay away from children or places children are known to be and the requirement to keep the peace. They may also be required to stay away from the complainant who reported them to the police, or the area where they were found committing the indecent act or indecent exposure. Just like with a Form 10, the accused must sign the Form 11.1 before they will be released.

How do I Defend an Indecent Act or Indecent Exposure Charge?

There are several defences available to those charged with indecent act and indecent exposure, depending on the facts of the case and the Crown’s evidence. After analyzing this information, counsel at Donich Law can help you understand and present the strongest defences available to you.

For an indecent act charge, the best defences attack the elements of the offence. This could mean showing that the action was not indecent.  For example, an accused charged with indecent act after a witness described them as walking around an elementary school naked would have a strong defence where they can prove that they were wearing a swimsuit or skin coloured clothing.

Another defence that attacks an element of the offence is to argue that there was no intention for the act to be seen by others or to offend others. For example, the accused could argue that they thought they were hidden and that no one could see them, and that they tried to hide so as not to offend anyone.

For an indecent exposure charge, the accused could argue that they did not expose themselves for sexual gratification. They could also argue that they were not actually exposing themselves at all and that witnesses were mistaken about what they saw.

One defence strategy with an indecent exposure charge is to negotiate with the Crown to reduce the charge to indecent act.  Indecent act does not involve minors and is not always sexual, so it is a less serious offence that does not always require those convicted to register as sex offenders.

Donich Law has years of experience using these and other defences to help those charged with indecent exposure and indecent act achieve favourable results in their cases.

Quick Facts

What is Indecent Act?

To commit the offence of indecent act, a person must knowingly engage in something indecent in public where at least one other person can see them, or in any other setting with the intent to offend someone. There is no predetermined list of what actions are considered indecent, but charges are usually laid on those exposing themselves to strangers or engaging in sexual activity in front of others.

What is Indecent Exposure?

To commit the offence of indecent exposure, a person must expose their genitals, online or in person, in public or in private, to someone under the age of 16 for sexual gratification.

How Do I Get My Indecent Act or Indecent Exposure Charges Dropped?

The best way to get any charge dropped is to present a defence suited to the facts of the case and the Crown’s evidence. Donich law has years of experience developing case-specific defences for indecent act and indecent exposure charges.

Will my Indecent Act or Indecent Exposure Charges be Public?

Most Canadian criminal proceedings are made public, meaning individuals can watch hearings and view conviction records. However, the Canadian sex offender registry is only accessible to law enforcement officials and select individuals. Hiring legal counsel to represent you can help limit exposure.

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