Indecent Exposure Laws and Penalties in Arizona

Arizona Indecent Exposure Laws and Penalties

You may think that indecent exposure is a minor transgression but it still qualifies as a criminal offense in Arizona. Local regulations make it clear how much of the body can be exposed without another person being offended by the nudity. The penalties under indecent exposure laws vary and they have based on the age of the witness and whether the defendant has a prior conviction.

Arizona Indecent Exposure Regulations

Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1402 states that indecent exposure is committed whenever a person exposes recklessly either genitals or their anal region or in the case of women – areolas and nipples in front of another individual without consideration about a witness getting either alarmed or offended by the act.

Breastfeeding is, needless to say, excluded from the statute.

As far as the seriousness of the offense is concerned, people who commit indecent exposure in front of individuals aged 15 or younger should expect more serious penalties. Typically, indecent exposure is classified as a misdemeanor but if there are aggravating circumstances, a person may eventually be charged with a Class 3 felony.

On top of the state-wide regulations, Arizona cities may have individual local indecent exposure laws to target such behavior. Downtown Scottsdale, for example, has fines imposed on individuals found guilty of urinating in public. In Bullhead City, a person found guilty of solicitation by indecent exposure faces Class 3 misdemeanor charges.

Keep in mind that indecent exposure is different from engaging in a public sex act. Public sexual indecency is defined in Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1403 and the severity of the sanctions will once again depend on previous offenses and whether the act took place in front of a minor.


A.R.S. 13-1402 states that indecent exposure to a person aged over 15 is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The only exception is an offender having two or more prior convictions. In this case, the individual will be charged with a Class 6 felony.

Whenever indecent exposure occurs in front of a minor, it is a Class 6 felony, as well.

Individuals who have at least two felonies before the conviction and who commit indecent exposure in front of a minor will face Class 3 felony charges. The minimum presence sentence in such a situation is eight years and the maximum is 15 years.

People who are found guilty of indecent exposure in front of a minor will have to complete a risk assessment screening profile. The aim of this test is to determine whether the risk of the respective individual re-offending is high. Depending on the result, sex offender registration requirements may be imposed.

A person charged with a misdemeanor may be freed from having to serve jail time but they will still have to pay a fine. Depending on the specifics of the violation, a fine can reach up to 2,500 dollars. Probation of up to three years is also likely. A court can decide to make the defendant sign up for classes and counseling, as well.

Defense Scenarios

The aim of a lawyer, in this case, is to prove that a reasonable person witnessing the exposure isn’t going to feel offended or alarmed by the act.

There’s also a requirement for reckless behavior on behalf of the defendant. An attorney could focus their efforts on proving such hasn’t taken place. A person attempting to hide their actions (for example, having to urinate in public and looking for a dark corner for the purpose) cannot be blamed for being reckless.

Just like in the case of other criminal charges, a lawyer could also look for procedural errors. If the rights of the defendant are not upheld, a criminal defense lawyer can challenge the entire procedure. Something as simple as a failure to read one’s Miranda Rights provides an attorney with the ammunition necessary to defend their client.

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