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The Oregon Public Indecency Law Guide: Penalties and Charges

Oregon Indecent Exposure Law

In the state of Oregon, crimes related to sex are taken very seriously. Oregon public indecency laws reflect this. Being charged with public indecency can lead to jail time, probation, and fines and may even affect your ability to get a job. In most cases, public indecency is charged as a Class A Misdemeanor but that can be elevated to a felony in some cases. That’s why it’s important to take these charges seriously.

Are you facing charges or looking to learn more about public indecency laws in Oregon? Read our guide to understand more about how this crime is prosecuted. 

What is Public Indecency in Oregon?

Every state in the US has public indecency laws, aimed to protect the public from indecent exposure and prevent escalation of behaviors. In some states, simply showing the genitals in public, such as while urinating can result in charges. However, in Oregon, public indecency is only charged when there is sexual intent. These laws protect the public from indecent exposure that can be harmful or damaging.  

According to Oregon public indecency laws under ORS 163.465, a person commits the crime of public indecency if, while in public or in view of a public place, the person does any of the following:

  • Sexual intercourse

  • Deviate sexual intercourse

  • Masturbation

  • Exposure of genitals with the intent of arousing sexual desire in oneself or another person 

Under public indecency laws in Oregon, sexual intercourse “has its ordinary meaning” and includes any amount of penetration. Deviate sexual intercourse, on the other hand, refers to any sexual acts involving the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another. 

Private Indecency in Oregon

ORS 163.467 addresses private indecency, which is a similar crime to public indecency. According to the statute, a person commits private indecency if:

  • The person, while in a place where another person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, exposes their genitals with the intent of arousing sexual desire of themselves or another.

  • The person is aware that the other person is present and that the exposure would be alarming or harmful.

Under the statute, a place where another person reasonably expects privacy includes yards, homes, workplaces, and offices. Like with Oregon public indecency laws, private indecency laws place an emphasis on sexual intent. If you did not know the other person was there when the exposure happened, you wouldn’t likely be charged. 

Another key point to private indecency laws in Oregon is that they do not apply for people you live with and have a consensual sexual relationship with. Private indecency charges aim to protect the public from non-consensual exposure. 

Oregon Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure is a broad term used across the United States to refer to the exposure of genitals and women’s breasts in public. While some states prohibit any sort of public nudity, Oregon indecent exposure refers to exposure of genitals for a sexual purpose. Essentially, public nudity isn’t an issue unless the intent is for sexual acts or arousal.

Oregon public indecency laws and private indecency laws generally cover indecent exposure. Both are generally charged as a Class A misdemeanor, but public indecency can be elevated to a felony under certain circumstances.

Additionally, public indecency laws in Oregon do not cover the exposure of a woman’s breasts. However, if you decide to go topless in public, you might be charged with disorderly conduct. 

Penalties and Fines

Public indecency laws in Oregon are more lenient compared to other states, but the penalties and fines are still serious. These laws are meant to protect the public from harm. An Oregon indecent exposure conviction can carry consequences that will impact you for life. 


While the exact penalties and fines for indecent exposure will depend on the specific case, here is a general overview of the penalties in Oregon:

Public indecency:

  • Class A Misdemeanor: Up to one year in jail and fines of up to $6,250

  • Class C Felony: Up to five years in prison and fines of up to $125,000

Private indecency: 

  • Class A Misdemeanor: Up to one year in jail and fines of up to $6,250

Additional penalties:

  • Registration as a sex offender: Depending on the specifics of the case and prior convictions, those convicted of public or private indecency may be required to register as a sex offender. 

  • Probation and community service: Additionally, the court may impose probation, community service, mandatory counseling, or treatment programs as part of the sentence. 

When Is It a Misdemeanor?

Oregon public indecency laws typically classify indecent exposure as a Class A Misdemeanor. This only applies if you have no previous public indecency convictions or no convictions of certain sex offenses, such as third-degree rape or sexual misconduct. 

When Is It a Felony?

Although most public indecency charges are considered a Class A misdemeanor, those charges may be elevated to a Class C Felony in certain circumstances. If you have prior public indecency convictions or convictions for certain other sex crimes, your charges will likely be elevated to a Class C Felony. 

Portland Indecent Exposure Laws

While Oregon public indecency laws are aimed at sexual intent with exposure, Portland has its own set of indecent exposure laws. In Portland, it’s illegal to expose your genitals in a public place or in view of a public place if the public place is open to people of the opposite sex. These laws aim to prevent public nudity of any kind. So even though the state of Oregon does not prohibit public urination, Portland's indecent exposure laws do make it illegal. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Public Urination Illegal in Oregon? 

While Oregon public indecency laws do not prohibit the exposure of genitals for non-sexual purposes, such as urination, certain cities do, including Portland, Eugene, Ashland, and Happy Valley. That’s why it’s important to understand your local laws in addition to the state laws. 

Can I Be Naked in My Own Yard?

To answer this question, it’s important to consider how visible your yard is. If your yard is completely secluded from public view, you won’t have to worry about Oregon indecent exposure charges. If your neighbors can see into your yard, you won’t be charged for simply walking around in the buff. 

Public indecency laws in Oregon focus on sexual intent. If you are nude in your yard performing sexual acts or trying to arouse and your neighbors can see, that’s when you’ll run into trouble with the law. 

Can I Still Work If I’m Convicted?

If convicted of public indecency in Oregon, you’ll face a number of consequences. After completing your jail or prison time, you will still be able to work. However, there are certain types of jobs you may not be able to do. Sex offenders cannot have contact with minors, which means they cannot work at places like schools and daycares. 

Kollie Law Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you’re facing public indecency charges in Oregon, the criminal defense attorneys at Kollie Law can help. We’ll investigate your case and help you defend yourself in court. A public indecency conviction in Oregon can have lasting consequences. Our team will provide caring and expert representation to get you the best outcome possible. 


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