“Indecent exposure” is considered a sex crime. “Indecent exposure” is illegal in the State of California. It specifically is prohibited under California Penal Code 314, which defines “indecent exposure” as willfully exposing your genitals to someone else out of a desire to sexually gratify yourself or someone else. Someone may be charged for violating Penal Code 314 for unexpected reasons. However, it is important to understand that any exposure of one’s sexual parts could be considered “indecent exposure,” in accordance with California Penal Code 314. For example, a woman may decide, in a crowded bar, to flash her breasts to gratify her boyfriend. She could be charged with violating Penal Code 314, as could a young man who decides to flash his penis to a group of women just to make his buddies laugh.
Penalties for “Indecent Exposure”
If one is charged with “indecent exposure” in California, under Penal Code 314, he or she most likely will be charged with a misdemeanor offense, if he or she is a first-time offender. If the individual is convicted for a misdemeanor “indecent exposure,” he or she could face up to six months in a county jail; a fine of up to $1,000; and would have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his or her life, in accordance with California Penal Code 290.
Under California Penal Code 314, one may be charged with “aggravated indecent exposure” if he or she exposes genitals in a home or building and if that home or building was entered without permission. An “aggravated indecent exposure” may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If it is charged as a misdemeanor, the person could be sent to jail for a year; face a fine up to $1,000; and have the responsibility to register his or her entire life as a sex offender. If charged with “aggravated indecent exposure” as a felony charge, one may face up to three years in a California state prison; up to $10,000 in fines; and have the lifetime duty to register as a sex offender. Furthermore, someone convicted of “indecent exposure” for a second or third time, under Penal Code 314, would face the same penalties for a felony “aggravated indecent exposure.”
Defending “Indecent Exposure”
There are several defense options that could result in a dismissal or reduction of a charge for “indecent exposure.” A skilled criminal defense attorney works with his or her client to determine the defense most appropriate for the case. One defense is that the defendant did not actually expose his or her genitals. To be convicted of “indecent exposure,” under California Penal Code 314, an individual had to show his or her private parts. One may have been charged with “indecent exposure” but only showed his or her underwear, opposed to actual genitalia.
Another defense one could raise is that the “indecent exposure” was done in the absence of others. If it was done in one’s home, for example, the person may have believed no one was going to see it being done or the person thought the individual who saw the “indecent exposure” was not going to be offended by it.
Even still, if the “indecent exposure” was not done willfully then a person cannot be convicted of violating Penal Code 314. For example, if someone accidentally exposes his or her private parts to someone else, he or she should not be convicted. Maybe, his or her bathing suit ripped and someone was offended by what they saw and called the police. The “indecent exposure” was not done deliberately.
Also under Penal Code 314, the “indecent exposure” had to be done to attract attention, especially to arouse another individual sexually. If this is not the case, a talented criminal defense attorney can prove this in court. For example, if a man is found urinating outside and a police officer sees this being done, the exposure was not done for pleasure, and the individual most likely would not be convicted for violating Penal Code 314.