Indecent Exposure Law in California
Indecent exposure is defined as a crime by the California Penal Code. It
is the exposure of one's body or genitals in a public place or in
front of any other person who would be offended or annoyed by it. It may
also include nakedness for the purpose of sexual arousal, solicitation
or any other lewdness. Typically, this is a misdemeanor charge in California,
but in some cases it may be considered a felony offense. Although this
is most often considered a misdemeanor, the consequences are incredibly
serious. Anyone convicted of indecent exposure will be required to register
as a sex offender for life. They will then appear in the national sex
offender registry, which could significantly harm a person's ability
to gain employment, move neighborhoods or even come within a certain distance
Sometimes, people get charged with indecent exposure simply because they
were changing their clothes at the beach, having sex in their car or relieving
themselves while outside. In most of these cases, the perpetrator did
not intend for anyone else to see them. Their exposure was not intentional,
or for any other purpose that would offend. If you were not trying to
exhibit yourself or gain sexual pleasure, then it is important that you
gain the help of an attorney because you may have a strong defense. Intent
is a large determining factor in these cases. The prosecution will have
to prove your guilt based upon a number of different factors listed in
the penal code.
California Penal Code § 314
California Penal Code § 314 details the crime of indecent exposure.
Being naked in public can be characterized as indecent exposure if the
individual did so "willfully" and "lewdly." You must
be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of intentionally revealing
your nakedness or genitals in public or where other people could see.
It must also be taken into consideration whether or not the individual
knew the act of being naked in public would be insulting and did it anyway.
Another determination for indecent exposure is whether or not the individual
exposed themselves for the purpose of sexual arousal, either for themselves
or for another person.
One example scenario in which individuals have been charged with indecent
exposure is in cases of bathroom solicitation. Public restrooms are a
fairly common place for individuals to solicit sex. One individual might
expose him or herself at a public restroom to another person for the purpose
of arousal. If a witness sees this and reports it, or if undercover officers
set up a sting in that particular bathroom, then the individual would
likely be charged with a
Consider another scenario. If a woman was at the beach and her bathing
suit fell off in front of other people. She may very well be charged with
indecent exposure, but the woman would have a strong defense. If this
exposure was an accident, then it would be difficult to prove intent.
On the other hand, if an individual was caught purposefully swimming naked
in a public place that was not considered a nude beach or clothing optional,
they may incur a fine and a misdemeanor charge. There are a variety of
factors that can affect this type of charge.
The most important thing to remember is that simply because this sex crime
is a misdemeanor (in most cases) does not mean that it should be taken
lightly. Only the most skilled attorneys can gather the evidence, prepare
a strong defense and take a stand for your rights so that you are not
required to face the consequences of being registered as a sex offender.
If you were arrested and charged with indecent exposure in Riverside or
a surrounding area, then please do not hesitate to call the
criminal defense team at
Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich today!