Indecent/Aggravated Indecent Exposure - Wayne County

In over 2 decades as a Criminal Lawyer, I have never had a Client charged with Indecent or Aggravated Indecent Exposure Sentenced to Jail (or Prison) no matter where their case has been. As the largest of the 3 Metro-Detroit Counties, it makes sense that Wayne County processes the largest number of Indecent Exposure cases. From Downriver to Downtown, and from the Grosse Pointes on the east to the Plymouth-Canton area on the west, the circumstances surrounding an Indecent Exposure charge are as different as the communities in which these cases arise.

There are 2 “Indecent Exposure” crimes in Michigan:

  1. “Simple” Indecent Exposure, most often just called “Indecent Exposure” is a Misdemeanor Offense, carrying a penalty of not more than 93 days in Jail and a Fine of up to $500, and
  2. “Aggravated Indecent Exposure,” which is a Felony, and can be punished by up to 2 years in State Prison as well as a Fine of up to $2000.

The distinction between Aggravated Indecent Exposure and simple Indecent Exposure is that Indecent Exposure is generally understood to mean that a person exposes his or her genitals in away that is seen, or can be seen. Aggravated Indecent Exposure involves a fondling of the genitals.

In regular Indecent Exposure cases, a person might have had their “privates” exposed for very different reasons. In that regard, an act of Indecent Exposure is either inadvertent, such as when a man is caught urinating somewhere, or is directly intentional, and involves “flashing” behavior, which itself can either be sexually oriented, or done more as a “prank,” or for shock value.

Aggravated Indecent Exposure usually involves a man being seen masturbating, whether such activity was intended to be seen or not. The cases come rather evenly divided. Sometimes, a man many be trying for a little “alone time” (most often in a car) and winds up not having been as well concealed as he had hoped, while other times, a he might just “act out” in way unusual for him. Frequently, these “acting out” incidents are a reaction to stresses in the person’s life.

Almost all Indecent Exposure and Aggravated Indecent Exposure charges are brought against men. While it’s familiar to me, as a Lawyer specializing in these cases, the reader might be surprised to learn that the vast majority of men who wind up facing one of these charges usually have good backgrounds and stable occupations. The majority of men charged with either of these Indecent Exposure Offenses have little or no Criminal Record. Most Wayne County Indecent Exposure cases come from the suburbs surrounding Detroit, and not Detroit itself.

What is common to every person facing an Indecent Exposure or Aggravated Indecent Exposure charge is that they are understandably afraid, embarrassed, and nervous. They fear being labeled as a sex offender, and they dread the thought of being put in Jail, and having to answer the question “What are you in here for?”

It is important to understand that where an Indecent Exposure case arises is one of the most important factors in determining how a case will play out. In that regard the various Courts in Wayne County kind of “split the difference” between Oakland and Macomb Counties. Not surprisingly, the cities on the east side, such as Harper Woods and the 5 Grosse Pointes are more like Macomb County in terms of their Courts having a more “understanding” and down to earth approach to Indecent Exposure cases. Similarly, those cities closer to the middle of the County, like Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Westland, Romulus and Livonia, also have that more lenient, pedestrian attitude. Things change, however, as one moves west. The more affluent and western cities of the County, like Canton, Plymouth and Northville seem, at least to a Lawyer like me, to have a more “progressive” approach that is characteristic of the Courts in Oakland County. For all the banter, Wayne County often is, and certainly “feels” more lenient than Oakland.

Even though I manage to keep all of my Indecent Exposure and Aggravated Indecent Exposure Clients out of Jail, there are other consequences to avoid, as well. Keeping a person’s Record clean is of the utmost importance in any Indecent Exposure case. It is also important that I make sure my Client doesn’t get wrapped up in all kinds of classes or counseling. Almost all of my Clients are just men who have made a mistake, or acted out in a way they rally regret, and who are not “kooks” that need to be sexually restrained. Fortunately, the real life experience of most Judges in the cities of Wayne County makes it possible for me to differentiate my Clients from other stereotypical predatory sex offenders. At the end of the day, if I do my job correctly, you’ll stay out of Jail and save your Record so that an instance of really poor judgment doesn’t follow you forever.

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