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Indecent Exposure
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.


PC 314 Law


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(1) 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

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.

Jail 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.

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(1) 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. See PC 1170(h) Sentencing.

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(1) cases). See PC 290 Registration Requirements.

Crime Involving Moral Turpitude: PC 314 crimes are classified as crimes involving moral turpitude. This means that indecent exposure is considered a morally reprehensible crime. Crimes involving moral turpitude, including indecent exposure, can have severe negative collateral consequences upon conviction, including immigration and professional licensing consequences. For more information, see CIMT.

Criminal Protective Orders: In some indecent exposure cases, the defendant will be served a criminal protective order, or CPO, the CPO is designed to protect any alleged victims of the defendant's conduct from repeat offense. For more information, see Criminal Protective Order.

Other penalties for violations of PC 314(1) may include: severe negative consequences for professional licensing and immigration status, 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: Implied or express consent (nude beach, nudist colony, or even mass art exhibition may qualify is some situations), voluntary and involuntary intoxication (drugs or alcohol, legal or illegal, or combination of both is a common defense in PC 314(1) cases), insanity, mistake of fact, statute of limitations, coerced confessions, duress, insufficient evidence (to prove an element of the charge, such as willful nudity, specific intent to arouse, etc.), and more.

Lack of Intent: Perhaps the most common defense used in indecent exposure cases is to show that the defendant did not intend to sexually arouse himself or herself, or another person, when he or she exposed his or her genitalia. This is common in changing room situations where the defendant accidentally exposed himself or herself to another person, or where a person is urinated on the side of the road but does not intend to expose himself or herself indecently when urinated. Lack of intent to arouse is also found in situations where there is a garment failure or where the defendant is unaware that another person is present when he or she exposes himself or herself (i.e., backyard sunbathing, open window in a bathroom, etc.).

Jury Nullification: Jury nullification is the unsanctioned legal process whereby a jury believes that the defendant is "guilty" beyond a reasonable doubt, but the jury, or any particular juror, nevertheless decides to vote the defendant "not guilty." This happens for a variety of reasons in PC 314 cases, including situations where the defendant merely and very temporarily "flashed" another person (i.e., exposed female breast, buttocks, vagina, penis, etc.), but meant no real harm other than to be playful and risqué towards another adult who the defendant did not believe would suffer some sort of emotional distress over the flashing. See Jury Nullification in Criminal Cases.


Note: Judicial Diversion is not an option in indecent exposure cases, including misdemeanor PC 314.1 or felony PC 314.2. 

Post-Conviction Options

After a conviction for indecent exposure, or PC 314, the defendant has several post-conviction options, including, appeal the indecent exposure conviction, apply for removal from the duty to register as a sex offender (SB 384), withdraw a guilty plea (PC 1018), expunge the PC 314 conviction, terminate a criminal protective order, 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.


Quick Legal Reference​

Crime: Indecent Exposure

Code: PC 314(1) (CalCrim No. 1160)

Wobbler: Yes. PC 314(1) is a wobbler crime. This means that the crime may be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor. PC 314(1) is charged as a felony only if the crime is alleged to have occurred after the defendant entered a house or building with the intent to commit the crime therein, or when the defendant has a prior conviction for indecent exposure.


Incarceration: ​PC 314(1) Misdemeanor (first offense) jail sentence up to 180 days.

Probation: Probation may be available in both felony and misdemeanor PC 314(1) cases (assuming that other crimes or enhancements that might bar a probation sentence are not present). Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.​

PC 1170(h)): No. Felony PC 314(1) cases are not subject to PC 1170(h) sentencing. This means that any incarceration ordered after a felony conviction, that is not part of a probation sentence, must be served in state prison (as opposed to a county jail), and the prison sentence may not be split or suspended.

Strike: PC 314(1) is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.

Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.

CIMT: PC 314(1) is likely a crime involving moral turpitude, which means that an arrest or conviction could lead to the following:

  • Immigration problems

  • Professional Licensing problems

  • Impeachment on credibility


Firearms: Felony PC 314(1) convictions prohibit a defendant from owning or possessing a firearm. 

Registration: If convicted of PC 314(1), the defendant is required to register as a sex offender with local law enforcement. 

Bail: $5,000 (Misdemeanor); $100,000 (Felony) (San Bernardino)

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PC 314 Every person who willfully and lewdly, either:

1. Exposes his person, or the private parts thereof, in any public place, or in any place where there are present other persons to be offended or annoyed thereby; or,


2. Procures, counsels, or assists any person so to expose himself or take part in any model artist exhibition, or to make any other exhibition of himself to public view, or the view of any number of persons, such as is offensive to decency, or is adapted to excite to vicious or lewd thoughts or acts, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Every person who violates subdivision 1 of this section after having entered, without consent, an inhabited dwelling house, or trailer coach as defined in Section 635 of the Vehicle Code, or the inhabited portion of any other building, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or in the county jail not exceeding one year.

Upon the second and each subsequent conviction under subdivision 1 of this section, or upon a first conviction under subdivision 1 of this section after a previous conviction under Section 288, every person so convicted is guilty of a felony, and is punishable by imprisonment in state prison.

Related Crimes

  • PC 314(2) Aiding indecent exposure

  • PC 647(a) Lewd Act in Public

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