Public Nudity Laws in New York City

Public Nudity

While there are differing opinions on whether nudity is morally acceptable, in many states an individual may suffer from serious legal repercussions if they appear nude in public.

In the state of New York, public nudity laws have a lot of gray areas, but you may face litigation for nudity in public. The personal consequences of these allegations may also be steep. People who have had public nudity charges brought against them have suffered from ruined careers and relationships. If you face public nudity accusations, you need to consider retaining experienced legal representation as soon as possible.

When Can You be Arrested for Public Nudity in New York?

In New York, committing lewd acts and exposing your intimate areas in public is typically illegal. The legal definition of a public place includes places where the public or a large number of people have access. Examples of these areas include but are not limited to schools, highways, parks, playgrounds, and transportation facilities.

A person is considered to be performing an act of public lewdness when they expose intimate parts of their body or commit an act that is considered crude or sexually offensive. If found guilty, penalties for public lewdness can include:

  • Jail sentence of up to three months
  • Probation
  • A permanent criminal record
  • A fine of up to $500
  • Class B misdemeanor record

Exposure of a person is when an individual exposes intimate parts of their body in a public place. Penalties for exposure of a person can include:

  • A criminal record for a year or more
  • A fine of up to $250
  • Maximum penalty of 15 days in jail

New York Topless Laws

In 1992, Penal Law 245.01 was changed by the New York Supreme Court. It was amended to state that women could legally be topless in public in areas where it was lawful for men to be topless. Women have been mistakenly arrested for being topless in public since this change, and these women have been able to bring legal action against the police for damages.

Is There Jail Time for Public Nudity?

While there may be legal ramifications for public nudity, the laws in New York are complex and can be difficult to understand. There are potential exceptions to public nudity laws. One exception is that breastfeeding is never illegal. Types of nudity can be legal if you are taking part in a play, exhibition, show, entertainment, or protest. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can analyze the facts of your case and help avoid negative legal repercussions.

When to Hire a Defense Attorney

The consequences for charges related to public nudity can cause an embarrassing criminal record that could be unnecessary depending on the context of the case. Enlisting the aid of a qualified criminal defense attorney gives you the best chance of achieving a positive outcome because of their in-depth knowledge of the specific laws encompassing this complex legal issue.

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