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Virginia Indecent Exposure Laws

In Virginia, it is considered "indecent exposure" when a person exposes his or her private parts in a public space, or in a place where other people are present. This includes masturbation, sexual intercourse, and any type of exhibitionism in public. If convicted of indecent exposure, a defendant can be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail, as well as be required to pay a fine of up to $2,500. Intentionally exposing private body parts to a child under the age of 15 may result in enhanced penalties.

Also, keep in mind that if convicted of indecent exposure, the defendant will be required to register with the state’s sex offender registry. This can have important implications on the defendant’s future employment, housing, and a number of other issues.

City, Township, and Campus Ordinances

In addition to the state-wide ban on public indecency, there are also local ordinances that citizens must abide by. Check your local city, township, or campus rules for more information. Because Virginia indecent exposure laws can sometimes get complicated it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Virginia's indecent exposure laws.

Code Section

Virginia Code §18.2-387

What is Prohibited

Intentionally exposing your private parts in a public space or place where other people are present is considered to be indecent exposure in Virginia. Sexual acts between two consenting adults and masturbation can be classified as indecent exposure.


  • Intentionally exposing your private parts can count as a misdemeanor offense carrying up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
  • Mandatory registration on Virginia's Sex Offender List.

Enhanced Penalties

Intentionally exposing your private parts to a child under 15, or proposition of that child to expose his or her private parts is considered a felony and can lead to fines as well as up to 10 years in prison.


Breastfeeding in public.

More Information

For additional information on this topic, feel free to take a look at FindLaw’s overview of indecent exposure. You can also learn more about related issues by reading up on Sexual AssaultSex Crimes, and Sex Offenders and Sex Offenses. Finally, as mentioned above, if you are facing indecent exposure charges, you may want to consult or retain a Virginia criminal defense attorney familiar with the laws and ordinances relevant to your specific case.  

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