A Brief History of Indecency Laws. We all know what happens next, Eve eats the forbidden fruit, shares it with Adam, and they discover they are naked.
They hide away in shame, God sheds the blood of an animal to clothe them, and banishes them from the Garden of Eden Like Adam and Eve, each child is born naked and without shame. Standards of what is 'decent' and thus 'indecent' varies greatly by location and century.
Women's clothing fashions have changed the most over time. Athletes in the B. Athens, Greece Olympics competed fully nude, however, women were not allowed to participate or be a spectator. The Greek word 'gymnasium' means a place to "train in the nude. For thousands of years, women in these areas, including many native American Indians, ran around bare-breasted with perhaps a grass skirt — or not — and thought little of it. Between and A. As time progressed, the moral virtues of the Victorian Era — spread the nude and lewd taboo.
In fact, the legs of chair and tables were covered so as to not offend the unsuspecting. Except for designated beaches in a few states such as Florida and California, it remains indecent and thus illegal for a woman to go topless in most of the United States. Almost every lawsuit that has been filed by women seeking topless freedom has been won, including such unlikely places such as Ohio, Washington D. However, even in such places it is probably not a wise choice to drive, walk down the sidewalk, or ride the subway with bared breasts.
At the opposite extreme, most Muslim countries require that women cover their arms, legs, and heads; in some places women are required to cover their face with a burqa a head-to-toe covering with a small window for the eyes. Moslem teachings provide that modesty is an important virtue and insufficient dress is forbidden. England and Canada allow women to be topless anywhere in public.
A true, amusing story from Canada. Apparently, the horrified grandparents of the boy quickly pulled him inside the house. The United States of America was founded in the name of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and while the Constitution provided for freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press, it did not include freedom from clothing. Local Decency Standards Vary Greatly. Every developed or modern nation has criminalized public nudity, although local standards of decency vary dramatically.
One community in Florida tried to scientifically determine how much of the female breast could be shown and remain 'decent. Breastfeeding a Child in Michigan. There were about 45 states that had some form of breastfeeding protection. In , Michigan passed the "Breastfeeding Anti-Discrimination Act" to protect nursing mothers breastfeeding a child in public or in a public place, such as a restaurant, grocery store, bus, etc. Also prohibited are signs that attempt to prohibit public nursing of children.
Indecent Exposure in Michigan. There are specific laws that forbid the public showing of the male or female genitals, buttocks, and the female breasts. So what then, is "Indecent Exposure" in Michigan? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. What is "indecent' depends on where you live and who you ask.
We are not aware of any public beaches in Michigan that permit women to go topless or nude. Even though there is a statewide ban against indecent exposure, it is just as easy to get arrested for violating a city, township, or campus ordinance. The City of Grand Rapids public indecency ordinance eloquently states: Note the complete lack of any definition as to what is 'indecent'. Some tell of getting arrested for indecent exposure when walking out of a dark alley because police assumed they were peeing in the alley.
Of course, there are certain acts that are certain to be considered indecent, such as: Michigan law also criminalizes indecent behavior that goes beyond simple exposure of specified body parts. Some examples would include: Worse yet, you may have to disclose this conviction to potential employers, such as a daycare providers, schools, teaching jobs, or volunteer organizations, all of whom will decline to hire or allow you to volunteer.
A Michigan woman was arrested for indecent exposure for sunbathing in a bikini in her front yard neighbors complained that the string bikini was too small for her rather larger endowed figure A woman rafting down the Muskegon river climbed out and 'went' behind some bushes in an unpopulated area. A DNR officer wrote her up for indecent exposure. She protested and was told she should 'pee in the river like everyone else does.
She was wearing underwear, fully clothed, and dancing — arguably seductively — for her husband. The only way to possibly view the 'lewd' action was to peep through a small backdoor window over 75 feet away. But what if it is dark, there are no bathrooms for miles, and you really have to go? The indecent or aggravated exposure does not have to be witnessed by someone else. The crime is committed if you expose yourself, masturbate, have intercourse, etcetera, in a place where an unsuspecting person might stumble upon you.
No one has to actually witness the crime, if they could 'reasonably infer' what was going on. In one case, a witness saw no actual flesh but testified that she saw the defendant with his hand in his lap 'going at it like gang busters.
In a case we handled, a man was at a park that had shuttered its bathrooms for the winter. He had a rather weak bladder and really had to go. He did not want to pee behind a tree as there were several cars nearby. He simply could not hold it long enough to drive to a gas station. In bladder desperation, he slumped down in his car seat and neatly filled a 20 ounce water bottle. A woman and her daughter about 75 feet away saw the man's hand in his lap 'doing something' and helpfully called the cops.
Multiple convictions for indecent exposure or any sexually related crime can lead to being charged as a sexually delinquent person. Being a "sexual delinquent" person is a crime itself. It is a felony that carries not only negative stigma, but serious consequences. While you are not considered a sex offender, a conviction for being a sexual delinquent person can preclude you from getting jobs teaching, daycare, or driving a bus, will cost money in legal fees and court costs, and may subject you to a long jail or prison term.
Under earlier sex offender laws, you were required to register under the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act SORA if you had three convictions for indecent exposure, or two indecent exposures plus an Aggravated Indecent Exposure conviction see our Sex Offenses page for more details. If convicted of a listed offense, you will be required to register as a sex offender and have your name, picture, and address put all over the Internet.
The registration requirements are onerous, tasking, and permit the state to regulate where you can live, work, attend church, and what you do, as you are considered a threat to the community. Michigan also criminalizes "gross indecency. However, 'gross indecency' can occur between a man and woman or a husband and wife. If You are Charged with Indecent Exposure. It might seem like the indecent exposure ticket is no big deal. So you were caught flashing your boobs, messing around with your girlfriend or boyfriend, or taking a leak in public.
No big deal right? Hopefully this page has opened your eyes to the fact that indecent exposure is not a simple crime. An indecent exposure conviction will probably keep you from being able to volunteer at your church nursery or summer camp.
If you are charged with any type of indecent exposure such as: Contact our Indecent Exposure Lawyer at