Indecent exposure is defined in California Penal Code section 314.
Basically it requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant willfully (i.e., on purpose) exposed his/her genitals in the presence of another person who might be offended by the defendant’s actions; and that the defendant intended to direct attention to his/her genitals for the purpose of trying to sexually gratify himself/herself, or sexually offending another person.
It doesn’t cover cases involving “accidental” nudity, such as someone’s pants accidentally falling down since, in that case, the defendant did not act on purpose or with the intent to sexually arouse himself/herself or be sexually offensive.
It also would not apply to someone urinating behind a bush or tree, since, again, in those cases, generally, the defendant is acting without what the law calls “lewd intent,”i.e., the intent to sexually arouse one’s self or sexually offend another person.
It also does not apply to exposure of the female breast, given the law’s reference to genitals.
How is Indecent Exposure Punished Under California Criminal Law?
If you are found guilty of this crime, the maximum punishment you face is 6 months’ imprisonment in the county jail, and/or a fine of $1,000.00, unless the prosecution can prove that certain aggravating factors are present in your case.
That is, if you are alleged to have committed the offense after having entered (without consent) someone else’s home, the offense is punishable by 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison, or 1 year in county jail.
Also, if you are being charged with a second offense, or if you have a prior conviction for violating Penal Code section 288 – lewd act upon a child under age 14 – you are facing 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison.
If I Am Convicted, Would I Have to Register as a California Sex Offender?
The short answer is yes.
Under California Penal Code section 290, you are required to register as a California sex offender upon conviction for a violation of Penal Code section 314. The law currently provides that you have a lifetime obligation to register as a sexual offender. The law is scheduled to change in this regard on January 1, 2021.
On and after January 1, 2021, the law will break sex offender registration into 3 tiers. As currently written, after January 1, 2021, those convicted of indecent exposure will be classified in the lower tier and required to register for a minimum period of 10 years.
They’ve Got Me Dead to Rights. What Can an Attorney Really Do to Help Me?
First you should let an experienced California criminal defense attorney decide what “they have” on you before giving up hope. There are many things that an experienced attorney can do for you. For instance, in many cases, an experienced California criminal defense attorney may be able to convince a prosecutor to reduce the charge to a violation of Penal Code section 647, or Penal Code 415, which are not registerable California sex crimes.You may have to be on probation, but a plea to those charges can help you escape sex offender registration.
Contact the Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich For Help With Your Case
If you believe you or someone has been accused of indecent exposure, you should seek the help of an experienced sex crimes attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have more than 35 years of experience in helping clients facing sex crimes charges including child molestation, lewd acts, oral copulation, prostitution or rape.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, there is an experienced and skilled Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will be there when you call.