Indecent Exposure: Defenses & Penalties

In California, it’s illegal for any person to intentionally expose their genitals in public. Per California Penal Code 314 PC, an individual can be arrested and charged for indecent exposure under the following circumstances: they intentionally exposed themselves in public or to another person; the target was offended or harmed by the exposure; and the purpose of the offender’s actions was to cause offense or achieve sexual gratification. As such, a defendant can’t be convicted of a crime if the exposure was accidental or incidental.

Possible defenses to indecent exposure charges include:

  • The defendant didn’t intend to expose their body to others
  • The defendant’s intention wasn’t the sexual gratification of either party
  • The defendant didn’t intend to harm or offend another person with their actions
  • The defendant was falsely identified or accused

However, the laws surrounding indecent exposure are purposely vague and broadly written. They also apply to a wide-range of scenarios, including consensual public sex acts. In fact, a person can be charged with aggravated indecent exposure even if they follow someone into their home and remove their clothing. In this situation, a convicted offender may be charged with significantly harsher penalties because it’s a felony crime.

You can face the following criminal penalties if you’re convicted of misdemeanor indecent exposure:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • $1,000 fine
  • Mandatory registration as a sex offender

You can face the following criminal penalties if you’re convicted of felony indecent exposure:

  • 16 months to 3 years in a California state penitentiary
  • $10,000 fine
  • Mandatory registration as a sex offender

Being registered as a sex offender in California can limit your career options, prevent you from renting or purchasing property, and ultimately devastate your quality of life. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, your parental or custody rights could also be in jeopardy. For this reason, it’s crucial that you quickly retain the services of a qualified legal representative if you’ve been arrested for indecent exposure in California.

Safeguard Your Future

If you’re facing criminal charges, contact the trial-tested Riverside County indecent exposure attorneys at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich. Our legal team is armed with over 50 years of collective experience and a sweeping knowledge of California’s sex crime laws. By investigating your case and developing a comprehensive litigation strategy, we can effectively defend your rights in court and protect you from the penalties associated with a misdemeanor or felony conviction.

Call Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich at (951) 687-6003 to schedule a consultation.


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