AN ACT relative to the circumstances that constitute indecent exposure and lewdness.


SPONSORS: Rep. Gallagher, Belk. 4; Rep. Hurt, Belk. 2; Rep. Spanos, Belk. 3


COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety






This bill adds circumstances which constitute indecent exposure and lewdness and inserts an exception for breast-feeding.


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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Sixteen


AN ACT relative to the circumstances that constitute indecent exposure and lewdness.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


1  Public Indecency; Indecent Exposure and Lewdness.  Amend RSA 645:1, I to read as follows:

I.  A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if:

(a)  Such person fornicates, exposes his or her genitals, or performs any other act of gross lewdness under circumstances which he or she should know will likely cause affront or alarm; or

(b)  Such person purposely exposes his or her anus or, if a woman, purposely exposes the areola or nipple of her breast or breasts in a public place and in the presence of another person with reckless disregard for whether a reasonable person would be offended or alarmed by such act.

2  New Paragraph; Public Indecency; Indecent Exposure and Lewdness; Breast-Feeding Excluded.  Amend RSA 645:1 by inserting after paragraph III the following new paragraph:

IV.  This section shall not apply to the act of breast-feeding.

3  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2017.








AN ACT relative to the circumstances that constitute indecent exposure and lewdness.




The Judicial Branch, the Judicial Council and the New Hampshire Association of Counties state this bill, as introduced, will increase state and county expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2017 and in each year thereafter.  There will be no fiscal impact on state, county or local revenue or local expenditures.



The Judicial Branch states this bill adds circumstances which constitute indecent exposure and lewdness and adds an exception for breast feeding.  The Branch does not have information on which to estimate how many additional misdemeanor prosecutions may result from the proposed bill, but does have information on the average cost of processing such cases in the trial court.  Regarding the cost of an average misdemeanor, the Branch states misdemeanors can be either class A or class B, with the presumption being class B in accordance with RSA 625:9, IV.  The estimated average cost of a class A misdemeanor in the district division of the circuit court will be $70.33 in FY 2017 and $73.73 in FY 2018.  The estimated average cost of a class B misdemeanor will be $49.56 in FY 2017 and $52.61 in FY 2018.  These amounts do not include the cost of any appeals that may be taken following trial in the district division of the circuit court, the cost of potential appeal of a class A misdemeanor to the superior court for a jury trial, or appeal of a class A or B misdemeanor to the Supreme Court on issues of law.  Finally, the Branch states the cost figures for misdemeanors are based on studies of judicial and clerical weighted caseload times which are now more than ten years old and many changes have occurred during that time span with respect to processing class A and B misdemeanors.


The Judicial Council states this bill expands application of the State’s public indecency law.  The Council assumes the bill would create new criminal offenses and has the potential to increase the number of criminal cases brought by prosecuting authorities by an indeterminable amount.  The Council assumes because the offense is an undesignated misdemeanor most of the violations would be brought as class B misdemeanors under the requirements of RSA 625:9, IV (c), and therefore not trigger the right to assistance of counsel at State expense.  The Council indicates it would have the responsibility of ensuring anyone charged with a class A misdemeanor offense under this statute who could not afford the assistance of counsel would be provided a lawyer at State expense.  Under the statutory order of assignment contained in RSA 604-A:2, representation is provided in the first instance by the Public Defender Program which represents 85% of the indigent defense cases in New Hampshire.  The Council assumes there is sufficient elasticity in this program’s budget to absorb a number of cases without increasing appropriations.  Due to conflicts of interest, about 14% of the representation would be provided by the contract attorney system and 1% would go to the assigned counsel system.  The Council indicates contract attorneys work on a per case basis and are reimbursed at $275 per case for misdemeanor A cases and the assigned counsel are paid on an hourly basis at $60 per hour with a cap of $1,400 for misdemeanors.  The Council assumes the increase in cases resulting from this bill will not be enough to require additional appropriations.


The New Hampshire Association of Counties states the potential cost to the counties could result from prosecution and possible incarceration.  The Association indicates incarceration costs range from $85 to $110 per day and prosecution costs vary throughout the state and are difficult to determine.


The Department of Corrections states this bill will have no fiscal impact on the department since those found guilty under the bill shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.