Naked Pedestrian Spurs Flurry of 911 Calls15-Apr-2013
Midwest City commuters got an eyeful last week and gave 911 dispatchers an earful as a naked man walked along SE 15th Street near Douglas Boulevard on his way to work.
Police say they received about 30 emergency phone calls beginning at about 7:30 last Monday morning. Callers reported, "There's a man taking his clothes off," and that a man was walking naked down the street.
When police arrived, they found Carlton Bell, 21, of Midwest City, wearing nothing but a beanie and walking near Soldier Creek Elementary School. Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes says that Bell told police he was on his way to work when he decided it would be a "good idea" to take off all of his clothes. Surprisingly, police say they do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved in Bell's decision to remove his clothes.
Bell was arrested on a municipal complaint of indecent exposure and booked into the Midwest City jail and held on $845 bond. Taking a naked stroll on during the morning rush turned out not to be such a good idea after all.
What is Indecent Exposure?
In Oklahoma, indecent exposure is a sex offense punishable by a minimum fine of $500 and/or a minimum sentence of thirty days in jail. At maximum, the offense is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of $20,000. Anyone convicted of indecent exposure may be required to register as an Oklahoma Sex Offender, and depending on the circumstances of the case, may be required to register as a sex offender for life.
The state's indecent exposure statute is defined in 21 O.S. § 1021, the same statute that defines and prohibits the manufacture, distribution, and possession of child pornography or the solicitation of a minor to perform in child pornography:
Every person who willfully and knowingly . . . Lewdly exposes his or her person or genitals in any public place, or in any place where there are present other persons to be offended or annoyed thereby . . . shall be guilty, upon conviction, of a felony and shall be punished by the imposition of a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) nor more than Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00) or by imprisonment for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than ten (10) years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Can I Be Required to Register as an Oklahoma Sex Offender for Public Urination?
Many people erroneously believe that getting caught peeing in public can lead to felony conviction and mandatory sex offender registration. This misconception is perhaps caused by people who use "public urination" as a cover story for their indecent exposure conviction and sex offender status. However, Oklahoma law specifically excludes public urination from the indecent exposure statute:
. . . for purposes of this section, a person alleged to have committed an act of public urination shall be prosecuted pursuant to Section 22 of this title unless such act was accompanied with another act that violates paragraphs 2 through 4 of this subsection and shall not be subject to registration under the Sex Offenders Registration Act.
Section 22 is the public indecency statute, which states that urinating in public and any other action which disturbs the peace or public health or outrages public decency or morals is a misdemeanor.
Depending on the circumstances of an arrest, a skillful defense lawyer may be able to negotiate the reduction of a felony indecent exposure charge to a misdemeanor public indecency charge, or may be able to successfully have the case dismissed completely. To find out more about sex crime defense in Oklahoma or to submit a confidential case review form, visit the website of attorney Adam R. Banner at OklahomaLegalGroup.com/sex-crimes.
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