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Legal to Drive Without Pants?

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. | Last updated on

You've probably heard of going hands-free to talk on a cell phone while driving. But how about going pants-free while driving?

A Washington man driving with no pants was stopped recently by State Troopers. He claimed his "manzilian" bikini wax was chafing against his jeans so he took them off. But a witness reported that he had exposed himself, so he was arrested, reports The Associated Press.

Whether you just received a fresh waxing or just enjoy driving al fresco, is it legal to drive without pants?

Decent Exposure?

Generally, being naked in your car isn't necessarily against the law. Although naked drivers are sometimes arrested, it's usually for something other than just being naked. A naked driver in Nebraska was arrested for DUI and also cited for no seatbelt and "crowding the front seat" with his three naked passengers -- but not for being naked. In Nebraska, authorities said, driving naked is legal as long as no one is "alarmed."

Country singer Randy Travis was arrested for DWI while fully nude in 2012, but the charges in his case were for DWI and for obstructing the officers who responded, neither of which require being naked. What gives?

The Manzilian Candidate

In the case of the Washington man, he was arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure. Generally, indecent exposure requires not just that one's bare genitals be exposed (which doesn't include the female breasts or genitals covered by underwear) but that the exposure alarm or offend someone. In some states, such as California, indecent exposure must include an intent to sexually arouse, offend, or insult someone or be done for sexual gratification.

But just because you might not be going pants-free for any sort of sexual or offensive purpose doesn't mean it's a good idea to test your luck. Penalties for indecent exposure include fines and jail time, and in some states, registration as a sex offender.

If you really need to air out your unmentionables, it's probably best just to wait until you get home.

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