Strategic Defense
From A Former Prosecutor

What’s indecent exposure in California?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2022 | Criminal Defense

“Indecent exposure” doesn’t sound like a terrible crime, but a conviction can have terrible consequences.

California Penal Code § 314 is the legal statute that prohibits indecent exposure. That’s broadly defined as intentionally exposing one’s private parts in a public place or wherever there are other people who may be annoyed or offended.

While a first offense is usually a misdemeanor, subsequent offenses are felonies – and that means real prison time. Worse, however, is the fact that conviction for even one offense equals a minimum of 10 years on the state’s sex offender registry as a Tier One sex offender.

What sort of things could lead to an indecent exposure charge?

It’s easier to end up charged with indecent exposure than you might think. For example, someone could end up in handcuffs because:

  • They drank too much in a bar and, in a moment of desperation, they used a back alley as a bathroom – but someone happened to cut through the alley at the time and saw them holding their genitals.
  • They got into a sexual rendezvous with their partner while at a public beach and thought they were hidden behind a building or pier.
  • They gave into temptation and engaged in self-gratification in a movie theater or bathroom and were seen.
  • A group of teens thought it was funny to expose themselves to passers-by in their neighborhood as a prank.

If you’re charged with indecent exposure, make sure that you fully understand the potential consequences of a plea deal or a conviction. You also need to understand exactly what defenses are available to you.