A man in Belfast is being charged with indecent conduct for allegedly exposing himself in public. The incident is a good example of how a defendant's intent can be a big factor in the allegation and whether it is likely to lead to a conviction.
Belfast Man Lies Naked on Hiking Trail, Arrested for Indecent Conduct
The arrest happened in Belfast, where police say a 64-year-old man was found lying naked on a hiking trail.
The police say that he was doing it in the hope that he would be seen by passersby, claiming that this is not the first time he has been arrested for doing this.
Police arrested him and are now charging him with indecent conduct.
Indecent conduct is prohibited by Maine Revised Code 17-A §854.
This law has separate rules for what amounts to indecent conduct, depending on whether it happened in a public or a private place.
In a public place, indecent exposure involves someone who either engages in a sexual act or who “knowingly exposes [his or her] genitals under circumstances that in fact are likely to cause affront or alarm.”
Without more, indecent conduct is one of the least severe of Maine's sex crimes. First-time offenses are Class E crimes that carry up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
The Importance of Intent and the Intoxication Defense
One of the most important factors that prosecutors have to prove in order to get a conviction for indecent exposure is that the actor knowingly exposed him or herself in public in a way that would cause a reaction. Accidental exposures – like a dog biting and pulling down your shorts – are not illegal.
Any time a criminal statute requires conduct to be at least knowingly done, the intoxication defense becomes a possible argument against the allegation.
Whenever someone is intoxicated, whether by alcohol or drugs, the ability to do things on purpose becomes limited. The law recognizes this and allows defendants to claim that they were intoxicated at the time of an alleged crime. In essence, this argument claims that the defendant was unable to form the mental state necessary to commit the crime he or she has been accused of committing.
In this particular case, the intoxication defense could be a possible way of challenging the prosecutor's evidence. If the man was only lying naked on the hiking trail because he was so drugged that he did not know what he was doing – so drugged that he could not knowingly expose himself – it could be an effective defense to the charge of indecent exposure.
However, such a defense could also lead to future police efforts related to drug possession.
Criminal Defense in Maine at WTB Law
The criminal defense lawyers at WTB Law strive to legally represent those accused of a crime in Maine. With our vigorous defense, you can invoke your rights and challenge the evidence the prosecutor is going to bring to court. Contact us online or call our law office at (207) 571-8146.