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Minnesota Indecent Exposure Laws

Minnesota, like all other states, frowns upon public nudity that disturbs others, such as publically displaying one’s genitals. This is usually called indecent exposure. It’s illegal to expose oneself like this in Minnesota and can result in serious consequences, including jail time and inclusion on the sex offender registry.

The following table outlines the indecent exposure law in Minnesota.

Code Section Minnesota Statutes Section 617.23 – Indecent Exposure
What Is Prohibited? Minnesota law prohibits the following behaviors as indecent exposure:
  • Willfully and lewdly (indecently or offensively) exposing one’s body or private ports
  • Getting another to exposure his or her private parts
  • Engaging in any other lewd or lascivious (sexual) behavior or public indecency
Penalties The penalties for indecent exposure depend on the age of the victims, any prior sex offense convictions, and the circumstances of the exposure. The possible levels of punishment are:
  • Misdemeanor – The typical punishment for indecent exposure is up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Gross Misdemeanor – If the exposure was in front of a child under 16 or the defendant was previously convicted of indecent exposure or criminal sexual conduct in the 1st-5th degree (rape or sexual assault), then the punishment is increased to up to 1 year imprisonment and up to a $3,000 fine.
  • Felony – If the defendant exposed his or her privates to a child under 16 after already having a conviction of that same type of indecent exposure, including masturbating in front of a child, it’s felony indecent exposure. The penalty is also increased to a felony for intentionally confining or restricting the freedom to move (AKA false imprisonment) of the victim. Felony indecent exposure is subject to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000

In addition, the court will order an assessment of the defendant to determine if sex offender treatment is necessary before sentencing.

If you're convicted of felony-level indecent exposure, you will be required to register as a sex offender in Minnesota. As you can imagine, this will greatly impact your life, including where you can work or live.

Defenses Although exposing one’s breasts could result in an indecent exposure criminal charge, breastfeeding is specifically listed as not a violation of this law. Minnesota legislators wanted to protect moms and their babies from unnecessary hassle from the police or general public. Breastfeeding is permitted in any public or private location, whether or not the mother's nipple is covered during the breastfeeding.

Note: State laws change often. It’s important to verify the accuracy of the laws you're researching by conducting your own legal research or contacting a knowledgeable Minnesota sex crimes attorney.

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