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Indecent Exposure Law & Defense

PC 314(1) Crimes

Information on the crime of indecent exposure is found in the California penal code at section 314(1). In short, indecent exposure means to expose your genitals in public in order to gratify yourself or another person, or to offend another person. Simply being naked in public, whether intentionally or unintentionally, is not necessarily indecent exposure.

 

To prove that the defendant is guilty of indecent exposure, the district attorney must prove:

  • The defendant willfully exposed his or her genitals in the presence of another person or persons

  • When the defendant exposed himself of herself, he or she intended to direct public attention to his or her genitals for the purpose of sexual arousal of either the defendant or another person, or to sexually offend another person.

For purposes of PC 314 law, genitals includes the male and female genitalia (penis, vagina, anus) as well as a female's breasts.

Willful Conduct: Willfully simply means that the defendant exposed his or her genitals on purpose. For example, a person urinating in public is willfully exposing his or her genitalia; however, in cases where a person is urinating in public, it is not necessarily an indecent exposure crime because the defendant does not usually  intend to sexually arouse himself or herself, or intend to sexually arouse another person, simply due to  urinating in public location.

Specific Intent: PC 314(a) is a specific intent crime. This means that the defendant intended to sexually arouse himself or herself, or another person (or to offend someone). For example, a defendant who shows his penis to a doctor for the purpose of diagnosing a medical issue is not intending to sexually arouse or offend the doctor even though the defendant willfully exposed his penis.

 

Directed Attention: Willful exposure of a person's private parts, even if it is done in public and with the specific intent to arouse another person is not necessarily indecent exposure if the defendant does not direct the public's attention to his or her private parts. For example, If two defendant's are having sex in a park at night, and the defendant's believe no one can see them having sex, then the defendant's are not guilty of indecent exposure because they did not direct their nudity to the public . This same scenario comes up when defendant's undresses in front of an open window when they don't know the curtains are open, or when a person urinates in public, or even when a person sunbathes without knowledge that someone is watching them sunbathe.

Penalty for PC 314(1)

Indecent exposure crimes may be filed as misdemeanors or as felonies. PC 314(1) is filed as a misdemeanor in most circumstances. However, if the defendant has a prior conviction for PC 314(1), or a prior conviction of PC 288 (lewd acts on a minor), then any subsequent charge of indecent exposure may be filed as a felony. Also, felony indecent exposure charge may be filed against a defendant when the defendant enters a home without permission and commits indecent exposure.

Sentence: If found guilty of misdemeanor PC 314(1), the defendant may face a jail sentence of up to 180 days. If the defendant is found guilty of felony indecent exposure he or she may face a prison sentence of up to 16 months, 2 or 3 years (depending on any mitigating or aggravating factors present in the case.

Probation Sentence:  A probation sentence is period of supervision, as opposed to an actual confinement in a jail or prison, is available after some PC 314(1) convictions. Other alternatives to jail in PC 314(a) cases can include work release, or electronic monitoring (house arrest). Whether a probation sentence is available in any particular PC 314(1) case depends largely on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.

Note: PC 314(1) is considered a crime of moral turpitude, which means indecent exposure is considered to be a morally wrong act and can lead to very negative consequences for future employment.

 

Three Strikes Law: Felony 314(1) is not a serious or violent offense as those terms are defined in the penal code; therefore, the crime of indecent exposure is not a strike offense under California's Three Strikes Law.

PC 1170(h): If the defendant in a felony PC 314(a) case is not granted probation, then any incarceration must be served in a state prison, as opposed to a local county jail, and no part of that prison sentence may be split or suspended.

 

PC 4019 Credits: Any jail or prison sentence is subject to a possible 50% reduction for good behavior while in jail (or on work release).

Sex Offender Registration: If found guilty of misdemeanor of felony indecent exposure charges, the defendant must register with local law enforcement as a sex offender for at least ten years (California's new Tier System for sex offender Registration requires 10 years of registration in PC 314(a) cases).

Other penalties for violations of PC 314(1) may include: severe negative consequences for professional licensing and immigration status, restraining orders, probation or parole terms, mandatory therapy, civil lawsuits, and more.

Defenses to PC 314

There is no perfect defense that necessarily best fits a criminal charge of indecent exposure; however, common defenses to penal code 314 charges include: Consent (nude beach, protest, or mass art exhibition may qualify is some situations), voluntary intoxication (drugs or alcohol, legal or illegal, or combination of both is a common defense in PC 314(a) cases), insanity, mistake of fact, statute of limitations, coerced confessions, insufficient evidence (to prove an element of the charge, such as willful nudity, specific intent to arouse, etc.), and more.

If you have been charged with indecent exposure, or penal code 314(1) or 314(2), contact our criminal defense lawyers today to learn your rights and options without delay. There is no fee to discuss your case with one of our experienced and successful sex crimes criminal defense attorneys. Our office is open seven days a week to answer all of your questions.

909-913-3138

 

Related Crimes

  • Aiding indecent exposure PC 314(2)

  • Lewd Act in Public PC 647(a)

  • Public exposure by employees or entertainers in adult sexually oriented business without legal permission (stripping or nude dancing) PC 318.5

  • Public exposure by participants in live acts, demonstrations, or exhibitions, without legal permission PC 318.6

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