According to California Penal Code 314, indecent exposure is when a person exposes their genitals in public. For example, if a person is naked and someone else sees them, that is indecent exposure. In California, indecent exposure is defined as willfully exposing your private parts to someone else or willfully causing another person to be subjected to such exposure without their consent.
The issue of indecent exposure became a topic of controversy recently in Riverside, California. A man named was arrested for indecent exposure, and he has been charged with a misdemeanor. The police report states that the man exposed himself to a child and the grandfather as they took a stroll down the street. The police were called, and they arrested the man for indecent exposure.
The laws on indecent exposure vary from state to state, but indecent exposure is usually charged as a misdemeanor in California. However, it can be charged as a felony depending on the prevailing circumstances. When charged as a misdemeanor, the offense is punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
What Is Indecent Exposure According To California Law
According to California Penal Code 314, indecent exposure is defined as willfully exposing your private parts to someone else or willfully causing another person to be subjected to such exposure without their consent.
To be charged with indecent exposure in California, you must meet the elements of the crime. These elements include:
Exposing Your Genitals Willfully
The prosecution must prove you exposed yourself on purpose. For example, if you show your private parts willfully, the court can find you liable for the offense. However, if your genitals become exposed accidentally, you aren’t liable for the offense. For example, you aren’t liable for indecent exposure if you fall and rip your pants, and many people see your genitals and become offended.
Expose Yourself Or Your Private Parts
According to California law, exposing yourself means revealing your naked body. Exposing your private parts means showing your bare genitals. You can’t be charged with indecent exposure if you expose your underwear. It doesn’t matter how revealing it might be. You can’t also be charged with Penal Code 314 if you reveal a woman’s breast. It doesn’t matter if it's for sexual purposes or while the breasts become exposed while breastfeeding. According to the law, exposing your breasts and buttocks is not included in the indecent exposure charge.
In The Presence Of A Person Who Might Become Offended Or Annoyed
You must expose yourself in the presence of another person who may take offense or be annoyed by your action for the charge to stick. This element gives defense attorneys a golden opportunity to present a strong defense. If you exposed yourself in a secluded spot, even if it were a public place, where you believed no one could see you, the prosecution would have a difficult time proving the charge of indecent exposure.
But you will also be charged with indecent exposure even if you expose yourself to a person who doesn’t show any signs of taking offense or becoming annoyed after exposing yourself. The charges will stick if you expose yourself to an unwilling victim.
Having The Intention To Direct The Public’s Attention To Your Genitals
To be liable for the crime, you must have the intention of directing the public’s attention to your genitals. Exposing your genitals isn’t enough to convict you of the crime. You must direct the public’s attention to your exposed genitals. If you visit the beach, for example, and you fall asleep when sunbathing naked. And after a while, people arrive and see your exposed genitals. You aren’t guilty of Penal Code 314 since you didn’t direct the public’s attention to your genitals.
But you will be liable for the crime if you intentionally expose yourself to a passerby in a dark alley. Although the person might not have seen your genitals, you directed the person’s attention to your exposed genitals.
You Intent To Sexually Or Arouse Yourself Or Someone Else
A charge for violating Penal Code 314 will not stick even if you draw the public’s attention to your genitals unless you do so with lewd or sexual intent.
Lewd and sexual intent means you expose your genitals intending to arouse yourself sexually, intend to arouse another person sexually, or your intention to cause offense or annoyance to another person by your act.
The prosecution must prove you meet every element of indecent exposure to charge with indecent exposure. The court can’t charge you with the crime if the prosecution can’t prove one or more of these elements of the crime.
Penalties For Indecent Exposure In California
Every state has its laws about what constitutes indecent exposure and the penalty for the offense. For example, in California, indecent exposure can be charged as a misdemeanor, but it can also be charged as a felony in certain circumstances.
California has two laws against indecent exposure. The first law under Penal Code 314 PC has to do with indecent exposure in public. The second kind, Penal Code 314.1 PC, has to do with indecent exposure involving children.
Penal Code 314 PC, indecent exposure in public, is the most common kind of indecent exposure charge in California. If you are convicted of indecent exposure in public, the penalty is up to six months in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
If you are charged with Penal Code 314.1 PC indecent exposure involving children, the penalties for indecent exposure are more severe. The maximum penalty for Penal Code 314.1 PC, indecent exposure involving children, is four years in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. In addition, to be convicted of Penal Code 314.1 PC, indecent exposure involving children, the government must prove that you willfully and lewdly exposed your genitals to a child under 14.
If you are charged with either Penal Code 314 PC, indecent exposure in public, or Penal Code 314.1 PC, indecent exposure involving children, you should contact a California criminal defense attorney immediately. An experienced criminal defense attorney in California will know how to defend you against charges of indecent exposure.
Penalties For Indecent Exposure If You’re A First-Time Offender
If you’re a first-time offender, the court will charge the offense as a misdemeanor in most cases. If the court charges the offense as a simple misdemeanor, you can face up to six months into the county jail. The court can also charge you a fine of up to $1,000. You must also register as a sex offender. The registration as a sex offender will be active for a minimum of ten years.
Understanding Aggravated Exposure
Under Penal Code 314, the court can also charge you with aggravated exposure. You will be charged with this crime if you expose your genitals in a public place, in front of a minor, in front of someone on probation, or an inhabited building, trailer, or home. Inhabited means that someone lives in the establishment or trailer. And you entered the trailer, home, or building without permission.
Aggravated indecent exposure is a wobbler which means the court can charge it as a felony or misdemeanor. However, this crime is usually prosecuted as a misdemeanor but is elevated to a felony if you have been previously convicted of indecent exposure, or if your act results in injury to a minor, or if you have previously been convicted of any felony. If the court charges the crime as a misdemeanor, you will face the same penalties for indecent exposure as explained above. However, the maximum jail time is one year instead of six months.
If the court charges the offense as a felony, the court can sentence you to sixteen months, two years, or three years in state prison. You can also be charged a maximum of $10,000, and you must register as a sex offender. The registry will remain active for a minimum of 10 years.
Penalties For Repeat Offenders
In California, the court charges indecent exposure as a felony if you’re a repeat offender of the same crime. It might be the second or subsequent charge of the same crime. The court will also charge the offense as a felony if you have a previous conviction for lewd acts with a minor under Penal Code 288. The penalties for repeat offenders are similar to the penalties for aggravated indecent exposure, as explained above.
You Must Register As A Sex Offender
Another penalty for indecent exposure is that you have to register as a sex offender. The registry will last for ten years. You have to register as a sex offender whether the court charges the crime as a felony or a misdemeanor. If you fail to register as a sex offender, you can be charged with the crime of failing to register as a sex offender.
Failing to register as a sex offender is a felony under California law if the court charges your offense of indecent exposure as a felony. If the court charges indecent exposure as a misdemeanor, the violation to fail to register as a sex offender is charged as a misdemeanor.
You can be sentenced to one year in prison or up to three years in county jail if you’re convicted of failing to register as a sex offender.
If you’re a professional registered under a professional body, the association will also discipline you if you’re convicted of indecent exposure. In addition, some professional associations like doctors’ medical boards, dental boards, and nursing boards, among other professional bodies, can suspend your license or issue other disciplinary measures against you.
Defenses You Can Present In Court Against The Charges Of Indecent Exposure
Luckily you can present various defenses in California against the charge of indecent behavior. An excellent defense lawyer can have your charges dropped or reduced if they present the following defenses against the accusations of indecent exposure.
The prosecution must present sufficient evidence for the court to convict you of indecent exposure. This means the prosecutor must prove all the elements of the crime. You can argue that you couldn’t offend anyone with your actions since no one was around to be offended. You can also state your genitals were partially covered, and you didn’t act lewdly, and that you didn’t satisfy one or several elements of the crime.
False Accusation Or Wrongful Arrest
Another defense you can present is that of false accusation or unlawful arrest. Due to their nature, sex-related offenses like indecent exposure are always marred with false accusations. They require little proof since it's usually a case of “he said/she said '' back and forth accusations. A skilled California lawyer will exploit this aspect of the back-and-forth nature of the accusation to present a strong defense. Your accuser must present hard evidence like pictures to prove your indecent exposure.
It Was A Mistaken Identity
Another defense you can present against the accusation is that of mistaken identity. You can state the victim who is accusing you of exposing yourself is mistaken, and it’s a different person who performed the act. For example, you can note the act took place in a dimly lit area, or the perpetrator’s face was partially hidden. Therefore the victim couldn’t identify you correctly. You can state you, look-alike, with the perpetrator or you, share the same name.
Other Crimes That Are Closely Related With Indecent Exposure In California
In California, indecent exposure is closely related to other offenses. These related charges are often charged in connection to each other. Some of these closely associated charges to indecent exposure in California include:
Lewd Conduct In Public
Under California Penal code 647(a), lewd conduct in public is closely related to indecent exposure. Lewd conduct arises when you touch yourself or someone else in public with the intention to arouse yourself or the other person sexually. The touching part of Penal code 647 separates it from Penal Code 314. Remember, prosecutors can charge you with both lewd conduct in public and indecent exposure if you expose and touch yourself or another person in public for sexual purposes.
Lewd Conduct With A Minor
Under California Penal Code 288, it's against the law to engage in lewd acts with minors. According to the law, a child is anyone under the age of 14. The law also classifies anyone who is 14 or 15 but ten years younger than the accused as a child.
You need to touch the minor to be charged with lewd acts with the minor. So if you expose yourself and touch the minor, you could be charged with both lewd acts with a minor and indecent exposure. But if you only expose yourself to the minor without touching them, you can be charged with indecent exposure.
Lewd conduct with a minor carries more severe penalties than indecent exposure charges. If the minor is 14 or 15, the criminal is charged as a wobbler. If the minor is less than 14 years, the crime is always charged as a felony. When charges as a felony, you can be sentenced to a maximum of eight years in prison.
Another crime which the prosecutor can charge you together with indecent exposure is burglary. According to Penal Code 459, burglary is gaining entry to any structure with the intent to commit a felony. Therefore, if you enter a building, home, or trailer with the intention of exposing yourself indecently, you can be charged with aggravated indecent exposure. The prosecution can also charge you separately for burglary since you unlawfully gained entry in the building, trailer, or building to commit aggravated indecent exposure, which can be charged as a felony.
Entering a building with the intention to commit any felony suffices as burglary. You don’t have to steal anything. However, if the court charges you with burglary, you can be sentenced to two, four, or six years in prison.
Another offense that is closely related to indecent exposure is trespass. According to California Penal Code 602, you’re guilty of trespass when you enter a building or other property without permission. According to the law, it doesn’t matter if you intended to commit any crime once you gain entry. Trespass is usually charged as a misdemeanor, but it can be charged as a felony in some cases.
What The Prosecution Must Prove To Charge You With Indecent Exposure
Proving indecent exposure can be difficult, especially if the prosecutor doesn’t have the evidence to back up the claims.
The first step in proving indecent exposure is to have solid evidence. First, the prosecution needs to have pictures of the suspect in the act.
The prosecution must prove that you engaged in an indecent act. Indecent behavior is any act or deed that is considered indecent by the general public. The prosecution must also prove that you knew your actions were indecent.
Indecent exposure refers to a person being naked in a public place, where this nudity is offensive to ordinary people.
To prove indecent exposure, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person in question exposed their genitals in a public place and that they did so for sexual gratification or to cause intimidation, harassment, or alarm to another person.
The prosecution must also prove you meet all the elements of the crime. The aspects of indecent exposure in California include willfully exposing your genitals in public where a person might have been offended or annoyed by your actions. The prosecution must also show you directed the public’s attention to our exposed genitals to satisfy or sexually gratify yourself or someone else. Or that you directed the public’s attention to your genitals to sexually offend a person.
The prosecution must also prove you willfully exposed yourself. You aren’t liable for the offense if your genitals are exposed by accident. In addition to this, the prosecution must also prove that you did so willingly and that they were aware of your actions.
When you’re charged with indecent exposure, the prosecutor will have to prove that you committed the act in a public place within the state of California and that you were aware that it was occurring.
Some Defenses You Can Present Against Indecent Exposure Charges
Luckily, you can present some defenses against indecent exposure charges. But, in addition to this, you need to be aware of the facts surrounding indecent exposure charges to build your case.
If you face indecent exposure charges, it's essential to hire a criminal defense lawyer who can help you build your case and defend yourself against these charges.
You can state to the court you are not the person who performed the act but bore a resemblance with the perpetrator of the crime. You can also say the victim could not identify you positively, especially if the act took place in a dimly lit area.
You can defend yourself by stating it’s a false accusation. You can inform the court the victim has accused you as payback. This usually happens if you’re known to the victim.
You can inform the court there isn’t enough evidence to prove every element of the charge.
Call A Riverside Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me
Facing criminal charges is a scary experience that can have detrimental effects on your finances, professional and social life. That’s why it's crucial to contact an experienced criminal attorney to help you fight against such charges. If you or your loved one is under investigation in Riverside, California for indecent exposure, contact us for your initial consultation. We have immense experience in the California justice system and have represented many clients over the years. Give us a chance to use our expertise to fight the charges on your behalf. You can contact us at 888-888-888 and we will be more than happy to help.