Criminal Offences

Obscene Exposure

In accordance to the section 5 of the Summary Offences Act 1988 obscene exposure is a criminal offence. The Act states that:

A person shall not, in or within view from a public place or school, wilfully and obscenely expose his or her person.

Obscene exposure is the act of deliberately and publically show parts of themselves in a manner that is deemed offensive in accordance to social standards and appropriate behaviour. It is important to be aware that obscene exposure is not limited to the exposure of genitals, and any exposure that is deemed offensive is guilty of an offence. You also do not have to be seen by another person, rather the possibility that you could have been seen it is sufficient enough to warrant a guilty verdict. If you are found to be participating in such an act you will be charged and liable to penalties imposed by the Court.


Section 5 of the Summary Offences Act 1988 states that any one guilty of obscene exposure is liable to maximum of 6 months imprisonment and/or 10 penalty units which equates to a fine of $1,100.

However, in NSW the Court has the ability to impose alternative punishments in appropriate circumstances. The Court may decide to impose any of the following:

  • Intensive Correction Order (ICO)
  • Community Service Order (ICO)
  • Good Behaviour Bond
  • Fine

The matter may also be dealt with by the means of a section 10 dismissal. This means that the allegations have been proven, however the Court will not record a conviction for this crime. With this being said, it is important to be aware that in some cases, a section 10 dismissal has no additional punishments, while other cases may have conditions imposed which must be followed, otherwise the dismissal may be revoked.

If you or someone you know is facing charges relating to obscene exposure, contact our criminal defence lawyers for accurate and tailored advice. Schedule a first consultation now!


In order to be found guilty of obscene exposure, the Police must prove the following beyond reasonable doubt.

  • You exposed yourself in an obscene way
  • You do so within sight of a public place or a school

During your case, you will have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. If you choose to agree with the allegations set our against you, which states that you are guilty of obscene exposure and you enter a guilty plea, it is likely that you will be convicted with one of the above penalties.

While a penalty is likely to be enforced, pleading guilty is seen in a favourable manner by the judiciary system as it often demonstrates remorse for your actions. As a result, it is not uncommon to see the Court inflict less impactful penalties on an offender. Whether it be a lesser gaol term or an alternative penalty, this is generally a more positive outcome as opposed to being found guilty otherwise. The Court also has the discretion to deal with offenders by the means of a section 10 dismissal, whereby no criminal conviction is recorded and there are no significant impacts on an individual’s ability to work or participate in their daily activities.

With multiple award wins and a 90% success rate on all criminal cases, Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders is home to some of the best criminal lawyers in Sydney. If you or someone you know is facing charges of obscene exposure, please do not hesitate to schedule a first consultation with our expert criminal defence lawyers, where we can effectively assess your case and accurately advise you on the penalties that you may face.


Alternatively, you also have the option to plead not guilty to the charge of obscene exposure. If this is the case, it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you did commit the offence as per section 5 of the Summary Offences Act 1988. If it can be proven, it is likely that you will be convicted as per the penalties listed above.

However, at Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, our criminal defence have achieved successful results for clients in such situations. In order to avoid conviction, we will challenge the allegations set our against you, by arguing the following defences. If we are able to successfully do this, the Court may completely dismiss the charges in which you will no longer be penalised. It may also result in less serious penalties or be downgraded to a less significant charge which is more favourable than imprisonment.

For relevant advice in relation to whether you should plead guilty or not guilty, please do not hesitate to contact our Sydney based criminal law firm for a first consultation.


There are many defence strategies that may be used to dismiss allegations of obscene exposure. Our expert criminal defence lawyers may use the following:

Duress: Involves the use of harmful threats to coerce an individual to participate in an unlawful activity. Typically, these threats take form of death or grievous bodily harm in which it is firmly believed that by the accused that if they do not participate in the activity, the threat will take place.

Necessity: Our criminal defence lawyers may be able to raise the defence of necessity if it can be proven that our client only acted unlawfully to protect themselves from external threats from either natural or human forces. It must be proved that the situation was some what of an emergency, and the accused would have to believe that if they didn’t act, their life would have been in danger.


Obscene exposure is classified as a summary offence and is heard at a Local Court. Although our criminal defence lawyers are based in Parramatta and Sydney, Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, has extensive experience in representing clients throughout various Local Courts in NSW. For a full list of Local Courts and to find the closest to you, click here.