Is It Illegal to Have Sex In a Car in MN?
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Is It Illegal to Have Sex In a Car in MN?


In most cases, sex between two grown adults who have both provided consent is private – and it is not considered a criminal act. But, as with most situations in life, context matters.


If you have sex, even consensual sex, in public, it can be considered indecent exposure, a sex crime. And in Minnesota, which has a very broad law covering indecent exposure, your tryst in a car or any other public space can get you into serious legal trouble.


Is it illegal to have sex in a car in Minnesota? Read on to find out.


What is Indecent Exposure in Minnesota?


In Minnesota, indecent exposure is the likely charge that will be faced if you are caught having sex in a car in public. The law defines indecent exposure as:


  • Lewdly or willfully exposing your private parts or body in any public place
  • Getting someone else to expose their body parts,
  • Engaging in lewd and lascivious behavior in the open


The statute that covers this type of criminal activity isn’t always clear, so there is much room for law enforcement and prosecutors to make a case against you.


What Is a Public Place?


One of the most interesting things about the laws surrounding indecent exposure is that the acts covered by the law aren’t in and of themselves unlawful – it’s simply where they are taking place that makes them so.


The laws, however, go beyond acts that take place in public, as acts can also become illegal in situations where others are present. This may mean that you can be on private property or in public when this charge occurs – you simply are exposing yourself to people who weren’t expecting it.


Intent Matters


As with many other crimes, indecent exposure is a crime where intent makes a difference. You must willfully or lewdly expose yourself to others who have not consented to be a part of what you’re doing. Because intent is so important, if you are arrested for indecent exposure, and the prosecution cannot prove intent on your part – then the case against you will and should crumble.


What Penalties Can You Face?


If you are found guilty of indecent exposure in Minnesota, then you can face penalties for a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony.


Misdemeanor Indecent Exposure


Misdemeanor indecent exposure is typically faced for this crime if no other enhancing factors are present. You can face up to three months in jail for a misdemeanor and be responsible for fines of as much as $1,000.


Gross Misdemeanor Indecent Exposure


A gross misdemeanor will be charged if there are factors present that the court feels enhance the crime. Some of these factors include having a minor under 16 present during the act or acts, a perpetrator with a prior conviction for this same offense, or a prior conviction for another sex offense.


Minneapolis Indecent Exposure Charges



You can spend up to one year behind bars if found guilty of a gross misdemeanor for indecent exposure in Minnesota.


Felony Indecent Exposure


Indecent exposure can sometimes become a felony if, while exposing yourself, you were confining or restraining another person – or you committed the act with a minor present on top of a previous criminal record for a sex offense.



About the Author:

Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge and has been named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyser is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.


If You Need a Top Minnesota Criminal Lawyer Call 312-338-5007



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