March 4, 2013 By Stephen Klarich

Los Angeles sex crimes attorney can help dismiss Indecent Exposure Charges (PC 314)

Indecent Exposure Charges in Los Angeles

What You’ll Find In This Article:

Under California Penal Code 314, it is illegal to willfully and lewdly expose your private parts in a public place or any place where people would be offended or annoyed by such conduct. The sentencing and punishment for indecent exposure can be severe with long-lasting consequences. For example, if convicted of indecent exposure, you will be required to register as a sex offender under Penal Code Section 290. Thus, you need an experienced indecent exposure defense attorney in Los Angeles who you can trust to represent you.

Wallin & Klarich’s team of Sex Crimes defense attorneys in Los Angeles are have been educated as to the laws pertaining to indecent exposure and sex offender registration in California. We can provide you with an overview of the elements that the prosecution needs to prove in order to convict you of indecent exposure and help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Have you been accused of exposing your genitals in public and are now facing a criminal charge for indecent exposure?

If you have been then you need to know that a conviction for this crime can result in serious long-term consequences.

A person can be convicted of indecent exposure if the prosecution can prove all of the following: 

  1. The person willfully, or intentionally, and lewdly exposed their genitals in the presence of another person;
  2. That person was offended or annoyed by the defendant’s actions; and
  3. The defendant intended to direct public attention to his or her genitals for the purpose of sexual gratification or to sexually annoy another person.

What is the punishment if you are convicted of indecent exposure?

A misdemeanor indecent exposure conviction can result in a maximum sentence of  6 months in county jail.  However, if the prosecution can prove  that the accused  exposed himself after entering an “inhabited” dwelling (i.e. apartment, building, home, trailer, etc.) without consent then the person could face up to a year in county jail.     

Although indecent exposure is typically charged as a misdemeanor in California, indecent exposure is considered a “wobbler” crime which means it can be charged as a felony depending on the facts and circumstances alleged. For example, indecent exposure can be charged as a felony if it can be proven that the accused exposed his genitals after entering a “dwelling” without the owner’s consent. The accused can also be convicted of a felony if he/she has a prior indecent exposure conviction or conviction for lewd acts with a child under 14 pursuant to Penal Code section 288. A felony indecent exposure conviction can result in a prison sentence of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years.  

Regardless of whether  you are convicted of , misdemeanor or felony indecent exposure , you will have to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code section 290.  This means you have to register with your local police agency that you have been convicted of a sex crime.  You will also have to renew your registration every year on your birthday and whenever you change your address. This conviction will also likely  appear on background checks when you seek employment.  

Although a person convicted of indecent exposure can pursue expungement relief pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4, that will not relief the accused of their obligation to register as a sex offender. 

Some people may also be surprised to learn that in California minors can be charged with committing a sex crime.  For these reasons a minor can be charged with indecent exposure. However, since the minor is alleged to have committed the crime when they were under 18 years old, then they will likely face criminal charges in juvenile court. In most cases minors accused of committing a sex crime will not have to register as a sex offender. However, there are certain types of convictions that will require a minor to register as a sex offender.  In any case, it is critical that a minor accused of committing a sex crime should retain a competent and experienced attorney.


Even in cases where evidence of indecent exposure appears to be strong, there are a number of defenses to indecent exposure charges that a Los Angeles criminal lawyer at Wallin & Klarich can raise on your behalf. Your attorney can argue:

  1. You did not expose your genitals

In order to be convicted of indecent exposure, you must have exposed your genitals i.e. “private parts.” If the exposed area was a body part above the waist, your underwear, or revealing clothing, this defense applies because your actual genitals were not exposed to public view. 

  1. The exposure did not occur when you were intending to bring the exposure to the attention of another person

This defense applies if you were in your own home with a reasonable expectation of privacy or if you were in a public area such as a park but you did not realize that another person was able to witness your conduct. 

  1. Lack of lewd intent

The prosecution must also show that you exposed your genitals for the purpose of sexual arousal or to offend another person. If you did not intend to expose yourself for either of these purposes, we can argue that you lacked the requisite intent to be convicted of this crime.

  1. Mistaken identity

Cases of indecent exposure often arise when the victim does not have a clear vantage point to correctly identify the person who exposed himself/herself. We can argue that the victim made a mistake in identifying you as the perpetrator and introduce factual evidence showing that the victim’s perception of what exactly occurred was not reliable under the circumstances.

Finding an Indecent Exposure Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

The first and most critical step you must take is to obtain a team of Los Angeles defense lawyers who have experience defending  indecent exposure cases. The Sex Crimes attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 38 years of experience in defending clients facing  indecent exposure charges. We have offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and Victorville. Call us today at (714) 386-7128. We will be there when you call

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