Kansas City Criminal Defense Lawyers
Can a Woman Face Criminal Charges for Going Topless at Home?

Can a Woman Face Criminal Charges for Going Topless at Home?

A Utah woman named Till Buchanan is facing three counts of lewdness in front of a child for being topless in her own home in front of her stepchildren.

Each count is a class A misdemeanor in the state, which is punishable by a maximum 364-day jail sentence and fine no more than $2,500. In addition, she could be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

In Kansas, lewd and lascivious behavior in front of a minor who is 16 years old or younger is a class B misdemeanor, which carries a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine not exceeding $1,000.

What Happened?

Buchanan and her husband were installing insulation inside the garage while wearing long-sleeved shirts and protective clothing, causing the couple to sweat, itch, and eventually took of their clothes except for their underwear. After Buchanan removed her top, her three stepchildren—two boys, ages 9 and 13, and a 10-year-old girl—walked into the garage and saw her exposed breasts.

Although the kids were initially embarrassed, Buchanan turned the incident into a teaching moment by explaining they shouldn’t be uncomfortable with seeing her chest since they’re fine with seeing their father’s. However, the children’s biological mother became “alarmed” after learning about the incident and reported it to law enforcement.

Is Utah’s Lewdness Law Unconstitutional?

Buchanan’s lawyer filed a motion in court, requesting a judge to determine if the state’s lewdness law is unconstitutional. His argument heavily relies on a 10th Circuit Court ruling, where the appellate court overturned a topless ban in Ft. Collins, CO, after two women filed a lawsuit against the city for the right to publicly go topless.

The court ruling could affect any potential legal cases in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and even Kansas. Buchanan’s attorney accused the state of attempting to condemn his client for performing the same non-sexual act as her husband.

In response, the prosecution argued the 10th Circuit decision resulted in an injunction that blocked the enforcement of a city ordinance, as opposed to a state’s lewdness law. Furthermore, city attorneys said the lewdness statute doesn’t discriminate against gender.

Buchanan’s case is set for November 19.

Legal Defenses to Lewdness

There are several defenses a person can raise after being charged with public lewdness. The most common defense is the lack of sexual motivation.

If a person exposes a private part without a sexual motive, he/she cannot be charged with public lewdness. Common examples include breastfeeding or urinating in public, although the latter may result in indecent exposure charges.

If you have been accused of a lewdness in Kansas City, contact Stein Law, LLC today at (913) 583-0465 today.


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