In Maryland, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to three years in state prison, as well as a fine of up to $1,000. However, certain aggravating circumstances, including the presence of young children during indecent exposure, can result in far more serious consequences. This may include being forced to register as a sex offender, which has lasting impacts on a person's life.
Earlier this year, a 48-year-old man was arrested for exposing himself in front of Ridgely Middle School in Lutherville, Maryland. A mother was walking her daughters to school on January 6 when she passed a van parked near the school on Lynncrest Road near Welford Court, which is a high traffic area for students walking to school.
When she passed the van, she allegedly noticed that the man inside was exposing himself. Further, she also reportedly noticed that the license plate was taped over. When the man later drove away, another parent followed the van and was ultimately able to get a license plate number after the motorist pulled over and took the tape off.
The man, a former Baltimore County police officer, eventually turned himself in to the authorities. In March, he was convicted of indecent exposure. He was sentenced to three years in jail, with all but three months suspended. He expects to be released late next month.
A silly action performed on a dare such a mooning a crowd at a sporting event or urinating in an alley after a night of drinking may result in an indecent exposure charge. While many people consider indecent exposure unimportant, the reality is that a simple unintentional act may be perceived by the state's attorney's office or the U.S. attorney's office as a crime and could result in jail time.
Source: Lutherville-Timonium Patch, "Indecent Exposure Incident at Ridgely Middle Raises Questions about Parental Notification," Bryan P. Sears, 9 May 2011