What is “Indecent Exposure”? (California Penal Code 314 PC)
Indecent exposure makes it a sex crime to purposefully reveal your genitals to another person with the intent to sexually stimulate yourself or to annoy or irritate the other person. This prohibition is codified in the law books as California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure.
As Sex Crime Attorneys, we believe our clients should be educated on the charges they face. Therefore, we highly recommend you read this entire article. Below, we will explore the legal definition, potential punishments, and the legal defenses associated with California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure. If you are charged with California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure, it is important to get an understanding of the important issues so you can get a better understand your rights and liabilities. Furthermore, it will help you help us in building the strongest defense for your case.
The exact language in California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure is far-reaching and ambiguous. As a result, you might be surprised to find out that California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure covers a large range of behavior you might have expected to be criminalized. This is especially true as American society has changed a lot over the last 100 years. An action considered “indecent” 50 years ago may not be “indecent” today. However, when it comes the enforcement and prosecution of certain types of behavior under California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure, not much has changed.
The Legal Definition of California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure
To be convicted of a sex crime in California, the prosecutor must prove all of the elements of that crime. An element is essentially just a fact related to that particular crime. Each element has to be proven up to a particular level of certainty. For California sex crimes, each element must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Note, this requirement that all elements must be proven only applies to the context of a trial, where a judge or jury makes an ultimate verdict about guilt. You can still earn a sex crime conviction if you choose to accept a plea bargain before trial.
The elements of California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure are as follows:
- You purposefully revealed your genitals.
- The action in Element #1 was done in the presence of another person who could have been offended or irritated by the act.
- You committed the action in Element # 1 with the goal of bringing public attention to your genitals.
- You committed the action in Element #1 with the goal of sexually pleasing yourself or another person OR with the goal of offending another person.
Let’s now focus on the individual aspects of the elements so you get a better understanding of the important issues that will probably come up during your criminal prosecution. Remember, all of the elements of California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure must be proven before you can be convicted in a trial hearing.
To be convicted of California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure, the prosecutor must prove you committed the prohibited acts purposefully or intentionally. Note, to be guilty, it doesn’t mean you have had purposefully broken the law. Rather, you must have just committed the “indecent act” purposefully. Hence, if you accidentally expose your genitals, then you are not guilty under California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure.
Under California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure, exposing yourself means to reveal your bare and naked body. Exposing private parts refers to exposing your bare genitals.
The following acts do not violate California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure:
- Exposing underwear, regardless of how much of your body is revealed during the act.
- Exposing bare female breasts, regardless if it was revealed under a sexual motive or to breastfeed.
In the company of another person who could be offended or irritated.
The second element of California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure requires that the prosecutor prove that you exposed your genitals with the intention of offending or annoying another person and in that person’s presence. This part of the California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure is problematic because the law does not factor in the “audience”. Hence, it is common knowledge if you reveal yourself to random young woman walking down the street. However, you are still liable under California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure even if you reveal yourself to a jail guard or undercover police officer.
Intention to Focus Public Attention on Your Private Parts
You cannot be convicted under California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure if the prosecutor cannot specifically show that you intended to bring focus on your genitals by revealing yourself. Therefore, you cannot get in trouble just because you exposed your genitals under this law. You must have had the intention of bringing attention to your genitals.
An important nuance to understand about California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure is that you can still be found guilty even if nobody saw your genitals. Somebody actually seeing your genitals is not one of the elements of California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure. Hence, if you exposed yourself in a dark place, like an unlit alleyway at night, you can still be convicted of California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure even the victim couldn’t see your genitals.
With the Intention of Offending Someone or Sexually Stimulating Yourself or Another Person
Before you can be convicted of California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure, the prosecutor must prove that you committed the indecent acts with a lewd or sexually driven motive. This may mean you had an intention to sexually gratify you or someone else or to offend someone sexually.
Now, let’s examine the punishments of California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure to give you a sense of the potential liabilities.
Potential Punishments for California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure
If you do not have any past California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure convictions, then the prosecutor will charge you with a misdemeanor.
A “simple” California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure misdemeanor conviction can result in any of the following punishments: a maximum of 6 months in county jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and a minimum 10 year obligation to register under California’s sex offender registry laws (as mandated by Penal Code 290).
An “aggravated” indecent exposure occurs when all of the following occur:
- You committed all of the elements of California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure.
- The indecent act occurred in a home, building, or trailer, which was occupied by people.
- You were trespassing in the home, building, or trailer
If convicted of aggravated California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure, then you are subject to a “wobbler”. This means the prosecutor has the discretion to charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony. This decision is made based on the specific facts of your case and your past criminal history. Note, this is important time to have an experienced Sex Crime Attorney on your side. Your Sex Crime Attorney can act quickly and negotiate with the prosecutor to charge you with the lesser crime, even though you technically could have been charged with a felony.
If you are charged with an aggravated California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure misdemeanor, then your potential penalties include: up to 1.5 years in county jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and a minimum obligation of 10 years to register as a sex offender.
However, if you are charged with aggravated California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure felony, then you could face up to 3 years in a State Prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and a minimum 10 year duty to register under California’s Sex Offender Registry Laws, as mandated by Penal Code 290.
Potential Punishments if You Have a Past California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure Conviction
The following punishments will apply to you if you have had a past conviction for California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure or a past conviction under Penal Code 288 PC Lewd Acts With a Minor. If this applies to you, then the punishments described for aggravated California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure felony apply to you.
The Requirement to Register as a Sex Offender
A conviction under California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure will subject you to a minimum requirement to register as a sex offender. This requirement is mandated by California Penal Code 290 PC. You are subject to this requirement regardless if you are convicted with a misdemeanor or a felony.
Keep in mind you could be charged with a crime of failing to register if you do not do so. If your California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure conviction was a felony and you fail to register, then you will be charged with a felony. Likewise, if your California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure was a misdemeanor, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. Make no mistake, this is a separate, serious crime. It could lead up to 3 years in a California State Prison.
Additionally, Sex Offender Registration can affect careers that involve a professional license. This applies to doctor’s licenses, dental licenses, nursing licenses, educational licenses, etc. Often times, the sex offender registration requirement can result in people losing their licenses. People with felonies are more likely to lose their license than those with a California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure misdemeanor.
What are the legal defenses to California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure?
The penalties for California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure can be quite severe. Fortunately, there are a variety of legal defenses available to fight California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure charges. It is important to have an experienced Sex Crime Attorney review your specific case to evaluate which legal defenses are applicable to your case. Let us now discuss some of the more common legal defenses to California Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure.
You are falsely accused.
Sex crimes are often surrounded by emotion, whether it be anger, jealousy, or confusion. This is why it is not uncommon to see false charges of Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure. Perhaps, your accuser is a former lover or spouse who wants to gain an advantage in a custody or divorce hearing. Regardless of why, it is important to build an evidentiary record on your own and not rely on the police and prosecutor’s version of events. Your Sex Crime Attorney can hire a private investigator to interview witnesses to find holes in the prosecutor’s evidence. Your Sex Crime Attorney can subpoena the victim’s phone and text records, test DNA samples, and even have you take a private polygraph test. The key in these type of cases is to build the evidentiary record so it is difficult, if not impossible, for the prosecutor to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
You are mistakenly identified.
The main reason for wrongful convictions in this country are mistaken identifications by witnesses. This is particularly common in California Penal Code 314 Indecent Exposure cases. There are a variety of reasons why a person might be wrongly accused of this crime. Fortunately, there are a variety of procedural motions available to exclude eyewitness identifications from the evidence. They key in these types of cases is to highlight why a particular identification was prejudicial. It could be because of poor lighting when the incident occurred. Or it can be a result of biased police procedures in setting up the identification lineup.
Mistaken identification is particularly problematic for California Penal Code 314 Indecent Exposure crimes because they often happen at night when it is dark. The real criminal might have had his face covered or the alleged victim was far away. Your Sex Crime Attorney can help bring the truth to light by building the evidentiary record in your favor and making sure unfair evidence does not get admitted to a jury. The key in these types of cases is to show that the prosecutor’s evidence is either unreliable or prejudicial. To do this, you want a Sex Crime Attorney adept at utilizing procedural evidence motions.
What Should You Do If You Are Charged with California Penal Code 314 Indecent Exposure?
The first thing you should do is find a Sex Crime Attorney that will work passionately and diligently on your behalf. Our Sex Crime Attorneys have years of experience defending people in this often difficult and nuanced area of criminal law. Feel free to call one of our Sex Crime Attorneys for a free legal consultation. They will be happy to examine the specific facts of your case. After, they will go over your potential liabilities, your potential defenses, and what issues they think will be the most discussed during your criminal prosecution.
Finding the right Sex Crime Attorney is not an easy process. But you should act fast in picking one. The earlier your Sex Crime Attorney is hired, the quicker they can act to recover and preserve evidence on your behalf. This is especially important as evidence disappears and memories fade the longer you wait after a crime is charged. You want to move forward in a criminal prosecution with as much evidence as possible on your behalf. If you are relying on the police or prosecutor’s skewed version of what happens, it will be more difficult to achieve a more favorable outcome.
Please feel free to call 424-835-9799.