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Ohio Indecent Exposure Laws

Ohio Indecent Exposure Law

In Ohio, indecent exposure is also known as "public indecency." Conviction for indecent exposure will result in a criminal record and possibly registration as a sex offender.

A person can commit this misdemeanor crime in three basic ways:

  • Exposing their private parts; or,
  • Engaging in sexual conduct or masturbation; or,
  • Engaging in conduct that to an ordinary observer would appear to be sexual conduct or masturbation.

In order to be guilty of indecent exposure, Ohio law requires the person to be doing these acts recklessly, under circumstances in which the person's conduct is likely to be viewed by and affront others who are in the person's physical proximity and who are not members of the person's household.

Aggravated Public Indecency

Indecent exposure can be charged as a felony in some situations. Anyone caught exposing their genitals or engaging in sexual conduct in front of a minor will face even harsher penalties. Public Indecency charges are also escalated to higher level crimes if the person acts "knowingly" or if the person has prior convictions for public indecency.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Ohio's indecent exposure laws. See Sexual Assault, Sex Crimes, and Sex Offenders and Sex Offenses for more information.

Code Section

Public Indecency: Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.09

What is Prohibited

Public Indecency: Recklessly exposing your "private parts" in front of another person or engaging in masturbation or other sexual conduct in a place likely to be seen by other people.

Aggravated Indecent Exposure : Knowingly doing the same thing, but in front of a child or if the person has prior convictions for Public Indecency


4th degree misdemeanor to a 5th degree felony depending on the facts and possible lifetime sex offender registration

Definition of a Minor

Anyone under age 18

Definition of "Private Parts"

Men or women's genitalia, excluding a woman's breasts. (Law may change in the future).

City, Township, and Campus Ordinances

In addition to a state wide pan on public indecency, there are also local ordinances that citizens must abide by. Check your local city, township, or campus rules for more information.

Overexposed? Get Covered With the Help of an Attorney

Because Ohio indecency laws can sometimes get complicated, it is a good idea to consult an experienced sex crimes attorney if you have questions about your specific situation. An experienced Ohio defense attorney will work to protect your rights and help guide you through the legal process, while aggressively defending your case from start to finish. 

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