What is considered indecent exposure in California?
As a form of the sex crime, California Penal Code 314 PC defines indecent exposure as willfully exposing one’s genitals to another person. An important note necessary to categorize this as indecent exposure is that the revealing of the genitals must have either been intended to sexually gratify oneself or to offend someone else. This law is both very concrete, but also pretty vague at the same time. It is concrete in that the definition of the crime has been the same for years, while what is considered “indecent” has been deliberately kept broad. A few examples include intentionally uncovering oneself (the breasts, genitals, etc.) in order to gratify or offend surrounding people. This can include exposing one’s genitals to gratify a romantic partner, but done so in a public space – hence, indecent exposure.
What are the associated penalties?
Just as any sex crime is serious and carries heavy punishments, indecent exposure has very serious penalties. There are two possibilities for punishments in most cases. If the offender has been convicted of indecent exposure for the first time, they face a misdemeanor conviction of up to six months in a county jail and a fine upwards of $1,000. However, if the perpetrator has now been convicted for the second time of indecent exposure, the punishment is increased to a felony conviction. Such a conviction carries prison time in a California state prison facility. Regardless of whether or not the perpetrator faces a misdemeanor or felony conviction, they must register themselves as a Tier one California sex offender in the sex registration system for a minimum of ten years. This time can go up.
How to defend against indecent exposure charges?
As explained previously, being convicted of indecent exposure is a serious offense and can ruin lives. Therefore, it is imperative to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer if one is to be falsely accused of indecent exposure. Possible defenses a lawyer can strategically use include proving that the defendant was never exposed, that the real perpetrator is not the defendant in question, or that when the defendant became exposed they were not aware that others were present.