Indecent exposure is a sex offender crime in Canada. When you have an indecent exposure charge, it can greatly impact your ability to obtain work and result in a criminal record. 

Under Canada’s criminal law, there is a difference between the crime of indecent exposure and indecent acts. But the line between nudity and indecency can be difficult to see, especially since the Criminal Code is vague on what it constitutes as “nudity.”

Sicotte & Sandhu will explain the indecent exposure laws in Canada to answer the question: Is indecent exposure a sex offender crime?

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What’s Considered Indecent Exposure?

Indecent exposure is when an individual reveals their genitals in a public place to persons under the age of 16. Whether the crime is committed in a parking lot, a park, or restaurant, as long as it’s a public place and you intend to offend or insult others around you, you will face charges.

Can I Be Charged for Nudity? 

Being charged for public nudity can go either way. A 2000 B.C. Supreme Court decision found that it was not against the law for a woman to be topless in public. Cases dealing with nudity and possible indecency need to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Understanding the context is essential.

Some indecent exposure cases do not offend community standards of tolerance. Your voice deserves to be heard, so to help your case go smoothly, have an experienced criminal defence lawyer fight for your rights. 

What is an Indecent Act and is it the Same as Indecent Exposure?

According to Canada’s Criminal Code, an indecent act and exposure are two different crimes. An indecent act is when an individual willfully performs an indecent act with the intent to insult or offend in a public place where another person or multiple people are present.

An indecent act is not restricted to acts of a sexual nature. Public urination, for example, would fall under this category. But since the Criminal Code is vague, it is up to the Court to decide what constitutes indecent conduct.

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What Happens When You are Charged for Indecent Exposure?

People charged with indecent exposure face the following consequences:

  • Minimum penalty if the Crown proceeds by indictment: 90 days in jail
  • Maximum penalty if the Crown proceeds by indictment: 2 years in jail
  • Minimum penalty if the Crown proceeds by summary conviction: 30 days in jail

The Sex Offender Registry

Under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA), certain offences obligate individuals to register as a sex offender. These acts can be found under section 490.011(1) of the Criminal Code and include: 

  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Interference
  • Invitation to Sexual Touching
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Bestiality
  • Incest
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Child Pornography
  • Child Luring

SOIRA is a Canadian database that covers the entire country. It’s used and maintained by the RCMP. Individuals 18 years and older who have been convicted of indecent exposure must register because SOIRA was designed as a means of protection for society and sexual crime prevention. 

Offenders must register for a period of 10 or 20 years or for life, depending on their crime. The information they must provide includes:

  • Date of Birth
  • Employment Information
  • Educational Information
  • Residential Address and Contact Information
  • Physical Description 
  • Vehicle Information
  • Sex Offence(s)

Additionally, the offender will remain in the Registry even after their term for reporting has ended.

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What Happens When You are Charged for an Indecent Act?

An individual can face imprisonment of up to two years if their offence is treated as an indictable offence. The Criminal Code under section 173 (1) (a) says an indecent act is punishable if it’s treated as a summary conviction, with a maximum punishment of 6 months in jail. .

When a criminal defence lawyer has a client suffering from mental health issues, they can make an initial determination. The accused maybe assessed by a psychiatrist to confirm whether or not the accused suffers from a treatable mental illness or disorder. The psychiatrist can provide the court with a report of their findings and suggestions for treatment for the purpose of reducing the accused’s potential for a repeat offence. 

Get the Best Representation to Fight Indecent Exposure Charges

You will want the best sexual assault lawyer Surrey has to reduce your penalties, such as your jail term, or remove your charges altogether.

Contact us immediately, so we can help you to avoid an indecent exposure conviction.