Code of the District of Columbia

§ 22–1312. Lewd, indecent, or obscene acts; sexual proposal to a minor.

It is unlawful for a person, in public, to make an obscene or indecent exposure of his or her genitalia or anus, to engage in masturbation, or to engage in a sexual act as defined in § 22-3001(8). It is unlawful for a person to make an obscene or indecent sexual proposal to a minor. A person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, imprisoned for not more than 90 days, or both.


(July 29, 1892, 27 Stat. 324, ch. 320, § 9; July 8, 1898, 30 Stat. 724, ch. 638; Sept. 26, 1942, 56 Stat. 760, ch. 565; June 9, 1948, 62 Stat. 346, ch. 428, title I, § 101; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 92, ch. 159, § 202(a)(1); Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-306, § 210, 53 DCR 8610; May 26, 2011, D.C. Law 18-375, § 2(b), 58 DCR 731; Sept. 26, 2012, D.C. Law 19-171, § 79, 59 DCR 6190; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 214(b), 60 DCR 2064.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-1112.

1973 Ed., § 22-1112.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 22-1809, § 22-4001, § 22-4151, § 23-101, and § 23-581.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-306 rewrote subsec. (a), which had read as follows: “(a) It shall not be lawful for any person or persons to make any obscene or indecent exposure of his or her person, or to make any lewd, obscene, or indecent sexual proposal, or to commit any other lewd, obscene, or indecent act in the District of Columbia, under penalty of not more than $300 fine, or imprisonment of not more than 90 days, or both, for each and every such offense.”

D.C. Law 18-375 rewrote the section, which formerly read:

“(a) It shall not be lawful for any person or persons to make any obscene or indecent exposure of his or her person, or to make any lewd, obscene, or indecent sexual proposal in the District of Columbia under penalty of not more than $300 fine, or imprisonment of not more than 90 days, or both, for each and every such offense.

“(b) Any person or persons who shall commit an offense described in subsection (a) of this section, knowing he or she or they are in the presence of a child under the age of 16 years, shall be punished by imprisonment of not more than 1 year, or fined in an amount not to exceed $1,000, or both, for each and every such offense.”

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-171 made a technical correction to the 1892 act which did not affect this section as codified.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 substituted “not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01” for “not more than $500”.

Cross References

Conduct of prosecutions under this section, see § 22-1809.

Obscene conduct, see § 22-2201.

Sexual performances using minors, see § 22-3101 et seq.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 210 of Omnibus Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-445, July 19, 2006, 53 DCR 6443).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 210 of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-490, October 18, 2006, 53 DCR 8686).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 210 of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-10, January 16, 2007, 54 DCR 1479).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 210 of Omnibus Public Safety Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-25, April 19, 2007, 54 DCR 4036).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 302(b) of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-693, January 18, 2011, 58 DCR 640).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 302(b) of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-45, April 20, 2011, 58 DCR 3701).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 214(b) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.