Since 1872, California laws regarding indecent exposure (particularly Penal Code Section 314) have remained mostly the same. Meanwhile, over the last 140 plus years, the concept of what constitutes indecency in public has changed greatly. Still, indecent exposure charges can be alleged against anyone who is said to have intentionally exposed their genitals in a public area. Indecent exposure is defined as:
“The act of offending or annoying public decency by exposing one’s ‘private parts’ in a public place.”
In order for the prosecution to prove that you are guilty of indecent exposure there are a couple of key things that must be established. There has to be some basis for the claim that you willfully exposed your private parts. Intent is a key element that must be proven, and it requires an intention to act in a sexual manner. For example, if you were unaware of the exposure or if it was an accident, intent would not exist; therefore, indecent exposure charges cannot be proven under such circumstances.
Indecent exposure is not necessarily total nudity or removal of all clothing. Specifically, if a defendant’s genitals were exposed, there may be sufficient grounds for an allegation. However, for indecent exposure charges to be valid, that person must have willfully acted to expose his body in a lewd or obscene way, directing attention to private parts with such intent.
According to Penal Code Section 314, in order for someone to be charged with indecent exposure, the defendant’s act of exposure has to have occurred in a “public place”. A public place is simply a location in view of passersby. In addition, an otherwise private location may be considered a “public place” if there was a person or gathering of people and the exposure of the defendant’s genitals was considered unwanted.
Our firm provides criminal defense for those who have been charged with indecent exposure. Would a reasonable person have been offended by the manner of exposure? This could be one of the questions we will explore together and try to raise in court. We may also seek to establish that defendant was not “reckless” in his behavior, due to trying to veil, hide, or limit exposure. In addition, there may have been a “denial of right to counsel” or a “Miranda rights” violation based on the manner in which questioning was conducted. There may be poorly submitted police reports with false statements and incorrect reconstruction of the scene of the crime. We will hear your story and investigate the details to see to it that the best possible defense is presented. Should there be sufficient evidence to support the charges, the courts can be urged to view treatment alternatives favorably. When properly presented to the court, we have extensive experience with pursuing such constructive, non-punitive options.
If you or someone you love has been arrested for and accused of indecent exposure, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Wesley Schroeder today. Our experience in representing California in criminal defense cases spans four decades. Call (408) 277-0377 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with our firm and let us get started on your case today. Our firm is poised to help you or your loved one pursue the best possible outcome in your indecent exposure case. Let us aggressively represent your side in the defense of these charges.