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The difference between an exhibition and an exhibitionist

Many people travel to New York for shopping, live entertainment and site seeing. However, while many people may embrace different beliefs and ideals, the law does not permit some behaviors. For instance, you may enjoy the raucous behaviors and rampant nudity that may be displayed in shows on or off-Broadway, but buyer beware. "When in Rome" need not apply when leaving those heavy theater doors and making your way back onto the streets of New York.

What is legal in a theater by performers for the purpose of a show or exhibition is not legally permitted by someone feeling the inclination to be an exhibitionist in public places. With the exclusion of a breastfeeding mother and the aforementioned performers, anyone publicly showing the intimate parts of his or her body can be arrested for indecent exposure, held in jail for more than two weeks and fined.

Also, anyone promoting or managing such a knowing and planned exposure in a public place can also be criminally charged for the promotion of a person's exposure, which is a separate charge as defined under New York law. However, theater managers and promoters would not be guilty of the offense for the promotion of a play with nudity as long as any exposure of private bodily parts is done in private and never put upon the general public.

If you have been charged with indecent exposure, you may not understand your charges and you may have a sound and reasonable defense. Working with a criminal defense attorney familiar with New York laws and systems may improve your odds of seeing your charges dismissed or penalties reduced.

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