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Illinois Indecent Exposure Laws

The Cubs making it to the playoffs is always a cause for celebration. But sometimes, especially when alcohol is involved, celebrations lead to wardrobe malfunctions. Depending on where that malfunction happens, it could end up violating indecent exposure laws in Illinois, also referred to as public indecency laws.

In Illinois, anyone 17 or older can be charged with public indecency by engaging in the following in a public place:

  • An act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct; or
  • A lewd exposure of the body done with the intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of the person.

Notably, and thankfully, the statute specifically excludes breast-feeding of infants from the definition of public indecency.

What is Public?

Illinois' law contains a fairly broad definition of "public place" to include "any place where the conduct may reasonably be expected to be viewed by others." Granted, you have privacy rights, especially in your own home. However, under this definition the focus is less on where you are geographically and more on whether third parties could reasonably be expected to see your exposure, which could apply even in less-public places. The key to this analysis is the term "reasonably," a term that will be ultimately be defined in your case by a jury, if your case goes to trial.

On the flipside, because the focus is less on physical location, you could technically be in a public place but so secluded that no one could reasonably be expected to see you, in which case you may not be in violation of the statute.

Sex Offender Registration

Public indecency convictions, even if they don't result in prison time, could still subject a defendant to sex offender registration requirements as it is considered a sex crime.

Illinois Indecent Exposure Laws at a Glance

You can learn more about Illinois indecent exposure laws by reviewing the information in the chart below.


Illinois Statutes Section 5/11-30 (public indecency)

Possible Penalties

This is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by under 1 year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.

If committed by someone 18 or older within 500 feet of a school or if it is a defendant's third conviction for public indecency, it increases to a Class 4 Felony punishable by 1-3 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.


Possible defenses to public indecency can include:

  • The offense took place on private property
  • The defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy
  • The conduct was not sexual in nature
  • The conduct involved free speech
  • Coercion
  • Age (public indecency laws don't apply to those under 17)

For more information see Public Nudity, Indecent Exposure: 3 Potential Defenses

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Resources for Illinois Indecent Exposure Laws

Arrested for Indecent Exposure in Illinois? Talk to an Attorney

Sometimes even what seems like an innocent and private mistake could nonetheless turn into criminal charges under Illinois' indecent exposure laws. Remember, though, that the prosecution has the burden to prove the case against you, including your specific intent, beyond a reasonable doubt. If you've been charged with indecent exposure in Illinois, contact a local sex crime attorney to have someone familiar with the laws on your side who will fight to protect your interests.

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