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Indecent Exposure and Public Lewdness Statutes
Learn what the laws are in your area concerning nudity and indecent exposure.

State & Statute Section
Max Sentence

(Indecent Exposure)

Intent to arouse or gratify desire of himself or another; exposes genitals under circumstances likely to cause affront or alarm.

1 Yr, $2000
(Public Lewdness)

Exposure of anus or genitals in public place & reckless about with or near another who is offended or alarmed or in place likely to be observed by others who are alarmed or affronted.

3 Mos, $500
State Law

CALIFORNIA CODES SECTION 314-318.6 (as of 6/2000): Every person who willfully and lewdly, either: 1. Exposes his person, or the private parts thereof, in any public place, or in any place where there are present other persons to be offended or annoyed thereby; or, 2. Procures, counsels, or assists any person so to expose himself or take part in any model artist exhibition, or to make any other exhibition of himself to public view, or the view of any number of persons, such as is offensive to decency, or is adapted to excite to or thoughts or acts, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Upon the second and each subsequent conviction under subdivision 1 of this section, or upon a first conviction under subdivision 1 of this section after a previous conviction under Section 288, every person so convicted is guilty of a felony, and is punishable by imprisonment in state prison.

A 1972 California court case set the precedent that simple beach nudity is not indecent exposure. However, different localities have their own laws (notably Santa Barbara and Los Angeles Counties) and beach nudity will net you a citation and a fine with no questions asked.

State Parks
Title 14 Section 4322 of the California Administrative Code

No person shall appear nude while in any unit except in authorized areas set aside for that purpose by the Department. The word nude as used herein means unclothed or in such a state of undress as to expose any part of portion of the pubic or anal region or genitalia of any person or any portion of the breast at or below the areola thereof of any female person.
All sections are misdemeanors which carry a maximum punishment of 90 days in jail and/or $1,000 fine.

While this regulation allows for setting aside specific clothing optional areas, the parks department hasn't taken advantage of the provision. However, the State Park rangers operate under a policy known as the "Cahill" policy, named after a former Parks Director: "it shall be the policy of the Department that enforcement of nude sunbathing regulations within the State Park System shall be made only upon the complaint of a private citizen. Citations or arrests shall be made only after attempts are made to elicit voluntary compliance with the regulations." Since the people most likely to make a complaint are also the least likely to make an effort to get to a remote part of a state beach, those areas have become clothing optional. If you stay in those areas, you are unlikely to be bothered. However, if a ranger appears and asks you to put your clothes on, comply and stay clothed for the rest of the day to avoid a citation.

State Law
(Public Indecency)
(Indecent Exposure)
Public Indecency - 18-7-301 (1) Any person who performs any of the following in a public place or where the conduct may reasonably be expected to be viewed by members of the public commits public indecency: (a) An act of sexual intercourse; or (b) An act of deviate sexual intercourse; or (c) A lewd exposure of the body done with intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person; or (d) A lewd fondling or caress of the body of another person; or (e) An act of masturbation. (2) Public indecency is a class 1 petty offense. (3) For purposes of this section, "masturbation" means the real or simulated touching, rubbing, or otherwise stimulating of a person's own genitals or pubic area for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of the person, regardless of whether the genitals or pubic area is exposed or covered.
Indecent Exposure - 18-7-302. Indecent exposure. (1) A person commits indecent exposure if he knowingly exposes his genitals to the view of any person under circumstances in which such conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to the other person.

Public indecency is a class 1 petty offense.

Indecent Exposure is a class 1 misdemeanor.

Indecent Exposure is a class 6 felony if the violation is committed subsequent to two prior convictions of a violation of this section or of a violation of a comparable offense in any other state or in the United States, or of a violation of a comparable municipal ordinance.


Note: Local municipalities have different law such as Boulder's public nudity ordinance.

(Public Indecency)

Lewd exposure of "the body with intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of the person."

6 Mos, $1000

11 Sec 764
2d degree

By a male for exposure of genitals or buttocks and by a female for exposure of genitals, buttocks or breast when likely to cause affront or alarm.
30 days, $575
11 Sec 765
1st degree
If exposure above to person less than 16 years old and which conduct likely to cause affront or alarm.
1 Yr, $2300
District of Columbia
(Lewd, Indecent or Obscene Acts)
Any obscene or indecent exposure of his or her person.
90 days, $300
Nudity is not per se, "obscene." Hearan v. D.C., App.D.C. 178 A.2d 434 (1962).
See also Duvallon v. D.C., App. D.C. 515 A.2d 434 (1986).
(Public Indecency)
In public place:
(1) act of sexual intercourse;
(2) lewd exposure of sexual organs;
(3) lewd appearance in a state of partial or complete nudity or;
(4) lewd caress or indecent fondling of body of another.
12 Mos, $1000 On 3rd offense of (2), (3) or (4) no less than 1 yr or more than 5 yrs
Attorney General Opinion, Feb 12, 1951. addressed to Mr. Norval E. Packwood indicates that "practice of nudism per se as advocated by your association"... "prohibited by law in Georgia".
Exposure of the genitals, pubic hair, anus, vulva, or female breasts or nipples in any public place with the intent of arousing sexual desire or which appeals to prurient interest or is patently offensive.
1st Off: 3 yrs, $2500
2d Off: 3 yrs, $5000
3d Off: 5 yrs, $10000
Prison mandatory w/no probation or parole on 2d or 3d Off. Violation in presence of unmarried person below age of 17 punishment as 3d Off.
State & Statute Section
Max Sentence
17-A Sec 854
(Public Indecency)
1.A. "In a public place... (2) The actor knowingly exposes the actor's genitals under circumstances which, in fact, are likely to cause affront or alarm;
B. "In a private place, the actor exposes the actor's genitals with the intention that the actor be seen from a public place or from another private place."
6 Mos, $500
(Common Law Indecent Exposure)
General intent, including reckless and negligent conduct.
3 yrs, $1000
Not an "infamous crime" nor one of "moral turpitude".
272 Sec. 53
Common Law
6 Mos, $200
May require an intentional lewd act. See Comm v. Bishop, 296 Mass. 459, 6 N.E. 2d 369 (1937)
Will and lewd exposure of the personal or private parts in public place or where others are present or procuring another to expose himself.
6 Mos, $500
Pendergrass v. State, 193 So.2d 126 (), held woman sunbathing nude on wooded tract not visible from public road & who began to clothe herself when uninvited visitors came, not willful and lewd.

(Indecent exposure)

A person commits the
offense of indecent exposure if the person knowingly or purposely
exposes the person's genitals under circumstances in which the person
knows the conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm in order to:
(a) abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade another; or
(b) arouse or gratify the person's own sexual response or
desire or the sexual response or desire of any person.

1st offense: $500 AND up to 6 months in jail
2nd offense: $1,000 AND up to 1 year in jail

3rd offense: $10,000 AND no less than 5 years, nor more than 100 years in the state prison

New Jersey
Disorderly persons offense if a flagrantly lewd and offensive act likely to be observed by other nonconsenting persons who would be alarmed or affronted.
Crime of 4th degree if:
(1) Exposure of intimate parts to arouse or gratify sexual desire of defendant or another where expects to be observed by child less than 13 yrs.
(2) Same as above, but observed by persons suffering mental disease or defect.
Lewd act defined: "include the exposing of the genitals for purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person."

Disorderly persons offense $1000

4th Degree $7500 and/or not more than 18 Mos.

New Hampshire
(Indecent Exposure and Lewdness)
Exposure of genitals or performance of any other act of gross lewdness under circumstances where one should know likely to cause affront or alarm.
State & Statute Section
Max Sentence
New York
(Public Lewdness)
Exposure of private or intimate parts in a lewd manner.
3 Mos, $500
Sec. 245.00 has been held hot to prohibit mere nudity. People v. Ventrice, 96 Misc. 2d 282, 408 N.Y.S.2d 990 (1978); People v. Hardey, 77 Misc. 2d 1092, 357 N.Y.S.2d 970 (1974). People v. Gilbert, 72 Misc. 2d 75, 338 N.Y.S.2d 457.

New York
(Exposure of a person)

Appearance in a public place with private or intimate parts unclothed or exposed. "For purposes of this section, the private or intimate parts of a female person shall include that portion of the breast which is below the top of the areola. This section shall not apply to the breastfeeding of infants or to any person entertaining or performing in a play, exhibition, show or entertainment."
15 days, $250
There remains a question of whether or not that portion of Sec. 245.01 prescribing exposure of the female breast (and not the male) is unconstitutional discrimination because of gender.
North Carolina
Willful exposure of private parts in public place and in presence of others of opposite sex or aiding, abetting or procuring another to do so.
Breastfeeding of infant exempted.
6 Mos, $500
No requirement that exposure be "obscene" or "indecent" - simple act of exposing one's private parts is sufficient and there is no requirement that viewers be unwilling.
State v. King, 285 N.C. 305, 204 S.E.2d 667 (1967).
18 Sec 3127
Exposure of genitals for purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire of himself or another or exposure of genitals where one knows is likely to cause affront or alarm.
2 yrs, $5000
Rhode Island
(Disorderly Conduct)
Exposure of genitals under circumstances likely to cause affront, distress or alarm to others.
6 Mos, $500
South Carolina
Willful, malicious and indecent exposure of person in public place, on property of others, or to view of person on street or highway.
3 yrs, fine in discretion of court
State & Statute Section
Max Sentence
Pub Ch 542
(39-13-511 ?)
Knowingly appears in a public place in a state of nudity.


3d Off. 11 Mos 29 days, $1500

Specific exemption "Public place does not include a private facility which has been formed as a family-oriented clothing optional facility, properly licensed by the state."
It should also be noted that purpose of act as stated in bill is to prevent commercial use of nudity. Arguably an argument like the N.Y. "Exposure of a person" cases might be applicable.
T.13 Sec. 2601
(Lewd and Lascivious Conduct)
Statute prohibits "open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior". Annotations do not indicate whether or not specific intent is required.
5 yrs and/or $300


Intentional obscene display or exposure of person or private parts in public place or any place where others are present.
12 Mos, $1000
Exemption for breastfeeding.


With lascivious intent, knowing and intentional exposure of sexual or genital parts to child under 14 (unless legally married to child) or proposes that child exposes his or her sexual or genital parts.
Class 6 Felony 5 yrs or 1 yr and fine of not more than $1000
West Virginia
(Indecent Exposure)
Intentional exposure of sex organs, the anus of the actor or causes such exposure by another under circumstances where the actor knows that conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm.
90 days, $250

Disclaimer: This compilation was prepared a few years ago and may not be current.
Please check with your local nudist organization if you are unsure of the laws in your area.
If you have updated information for this list, send info to


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