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Indecent Exposure in Washington State

In Washington State a misdemeanor Indecent Exposure offense can have a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If you are charged with exposing yourself to a minor (under 14 years of age), or this is your second offense, you may be charged with a gross misdemeanor or felony.  If you are convicted of Indecent Exposure you could be facing jail time, trouble securing employment and difficulty renting an apartment or finding housing.

Often times Indecent Exposure charges are prosecuted in city courts with differing procedures and penalties. A misdemeanor Indecent Exposure charge may sound relatively harmless, but it can have a long-lasting impact on your ability to obtain housing, find employment. Additionally, sex crimes like Indecent Exposure create significant barriers to employment for many people and can cause reputation harm in the community.

For many people charged with Indecent Exposure charges in Washington State this is the first time they have been on the wrong side of the law. Additionally, there may have been a misunderstanding.

Below I have listed the Washington State Law for Indecent Exposure:


RCW 9A.88.010 Indecent Exposure

(1) A person is guilty of indecent exposure if he or she intentionally makes any open and obscene exposure of his or her person or the person of another knowing that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm. The act of breastfeeding or expressing breast milk is not indecent exposure.

     (2)(a) Except as provided in (b) and (c) of this subsection, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor.

     (b) Indecent exposure is a gross misdemeanor on the first offense if the person exposes himself or herself to a person under the age of fourteen years.

     (c) Indecent exposure is a class C felony if the person has previously been convicted under this section or of a sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030.


There are two main defenses that defendants generally assert when they are charged with indecent exposure.

1. Urinating in Public: In many cases when a defendant urinates in public this may be confused for indecent exposure. In Washington State the offense of "Urinating in Public" is generally an infraction punishable by a $250 fine.  If you were intoxicated or simply needed to urinate then the police officer may cite you for urinating in public, but this is not a crime.  Additionally, if you have been charged with indecent exposure and your intention was to urinate then negotiation with the prosecution or police may result in a criminal charge being amended to an infraction of "urinating in public."

2. Lack of Intent: Washington State law requires that for a defendant to be charged with indecent exposure "he or she intentionally makes any open and obscene exposure." The law requires that the defendant intended to engage in this act.  If the act was unintentional or accidental then this is a defense to a charge of indecent exposure.

Mental Health Treatment for Indecent Exposure

Sometimes a defendant will admit that they have a problem and simply want help. I have the knowledge and connections to allow you to seek treatment without exposing you to increased scrutiny for seeking help.

I will be able to prepare you for a psychosexual evaluation and prepare you for treatment. When you seek treatment you arm yourself and your attorney with a valuable tool in mitigating the punishment that a judge or prosecutor may seek. When a judge or prosecutor sees that you are proactively addressing these mental health issues your punishment may be reduced.

Sex Offender Registration for Indecent Exposure?

Washington State law does NOT require sex offender registration for convictions of Indecent Exposure.  However, some states do require registration on a sex offender registry for a conviction of indecent exposure. If you do move states and move to a state that requires registration, then you may have to register as a sex offender.  This is generally true if you were convicted for a "gross misdemeanor" because the "victim" was under 14 years of age.

Vacating or Expunging Indecent Exposure

In Washington State a conviction of Indecent Exposure can be vacated and removed from your criminal record. Vacating your criminal record of indecent exposure generally requires a three year peroid since the conviction. During this period you must have not had any new criminal charges.


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