Law to stiffen penalties against indecent exposure lands on Governor’s desk

flasher

A bill that would allow law enforcement to make a warrantless arrest for indecent exposure and stiffen penalties against repeat offenders reached the Governor’s desk Monday night.

Current Florida law does not permit a law enforcement officer to make an arrest for indecent exposure when an allegation of the offense is based only on the reporting of a witness or the victim. In other words, an officer can only make an arrest for indecent exposure with a warrant or when the offense is witnessed by the officer.

HB 675 would amend the current Florida law and allow law enforcement to make an arrest if the officer reasonably believes the offense was committed.

Under current Florida law, indecent exposure is a first-degree misdemeanor. HB 675 would enhance the crime to a third-degree felony.

Florida law defines indecent exposure as the exposure of sexual organs to another person with a lewd or sexual intent.

In fiscal year 2018 – 2019, 720 arrests were made for indecent exposure in Florida. Of that, 283 arrests led to a conviction and adjudication of guilt and 76 resulted in adjudication being withheld.

The measure was sponsored by Rep. Amy Mercado of Orange County and con-introduced by Rep. Emily Slosberg of Boca Raton and Rep. Kamia L. Brown of Orange County.

A similar bill was filed by Sen. Linda Stewart of Orlando.

In 2019, both measures received the praise of Orange County Sheriff John Mina.

“This bill will give law enforcement additional tools to act swiftly against those who victimize our residents and visitors with these disturbing lewd acts,” Mina said of the legislation.

If signed, the law would take effect Oct. 1, 2020.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.



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