Monday, May 4, 2015

THE LAW OF PUBLIC INDECENCY IN ILLINOIS

You were walking in the forest preserve, when that coffee you drank ran right through you. As it turns out, the preserve is a cruising area, which you may or may not have known. You start to unzip, thinking you are unobserved, when an undercover officer spots you.

Now you are charged with public indecency. What can you do?

In Illinois, the crime of public indecency (720 ILCS 5/11-30) applies to persons over the age of 17 who perform in a public place a sexual act or a lewd exposure of a body part with intent to arouse. A public place is defined as anywhere that someone would reasonably expect to be observed.

Public indecency is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail or a $2,500 fine. Repeated exposures or exposure within 500 feet of a school when children are present can upgrade the charge of a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison.

Public urination is not considered public indecency under state law. However, some municipalities such as Chicago have specific ordinances concerning such conduct.

If you are charged with public indecency, do not try to explain yourself to the police. What you think is a reasonable explanation may give the prosecutor the evidence needed to convict you. Contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. As with most crimes, the prosecution must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. Can the police really prove your intent was sexual? Were you really in a public place?

Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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