Indecent exposure is defined as exposing your genitals in a public place. However, the definition can vary between states. If you are accused of this sex crime, a federal sex crimes defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you understand and fight against the charges.
In this article, we’ll give a comprehensive guide to the meaning of indecent exposure according to Los Angeles law
California Penal Code Section 314 PC: Indecent Exposure
In some states, indecent exposure includes any exposure of genitals in public, which can include behaviors like public urination.
California penal code specifies that in order to qualify as indecent exposure, the act must be done in front of people who could be annoyed by it, with the intent of attracting attention and obtaining sexual gratification. All three of these elements must be present.
When it comes to sex crime laws, Los Angeles County follows greater California state law. The intent is a crucial factor in determining whether or not the act is considered a Los Angeles sex crime.
If it was intended as a sexual act and meant to draw the attention of others, then it is a sex crime. If the prosecution cannot prove the intent beyond a reasonable doubt, then it doesn’t fall under the category of indecent exposure.
A sex crime defense attorney can create a strong legal defense strategy to prevent you from being charged. A sex crime charge can have a major impact on your life, including mandatory sex offender registration.
Hiring legal counsel will help you avoid getting listed as a sex offender due to false accusations or miscommunications.
Factors that Must Be Proven for a PC 314 Conviction
Just like any other crime, the burden of proof is on the prosecution when you are facing sex crime charges. In California, it is limited to a very specific act.
The court will need to prove a few different factors in order for you to be charged with a sex crime. These determine what does and doesn’t qualify as indecent exposure.
All of these must be present in order for it to qualify:
- In public where there are people who may be offended or annoyed
- With the intent of attracting attention
- For the purpose of sexual gratification
Without these factors, alleged victims and their legal representation have no case. In the following section, we’ll take a closer look at the factors required for a sex crime conviction and how a criminal defense attorney can help.
Around Someone Who Could Be Annoyed or Offended
This part of the law concerns whether or not there were witnesses when you exposed your genitals. If another person was present, and that person was likely to be annoyed or offended—then the situation meets the criteria.
However, if it was not done with the expectation that others would see you, such as behind a dumpster or hidden by bushes, then it does not meet the criteria.
Aiming to Attract Attention to Private Parts
This is an essential part of the definition of indecent exposure. Simply exposing one’s genitals doesn’t qualify as this type of sex crime. Instead, there must be an intent for others to see them.
An accidental exposure through a wardrobe malfunction or public urination does not count as intentional exposure with the purpose of drawing people’s attention.
In order for criminal charges to be filed, the court must be able to prove that you meant to catch the public’s attention.
Obtaining Sexual Gratification or Perpetrating Sexual Offenses
Like most sex crimes, indecent exposure must be done with the purpose of sexual gratification in mind, either your own or someone else’s. This intent can be difficult to prove.
Lewd comments directed at others, for example, can indicate that a person has an abnormal sexual interest in the act. Other sexual acts, like masturbating, can indicate intent. Without obvious actions such as these, it can be difficult for the prosecution to argue that there was sexual intent.
If the prosecution cannot prove all three of these elements present, then the sex crime case will fail.
Penalties for a PC 314 Indecent Exposure Conviction
An indecent exposure conviction can have potentially serious consequences, depending on your legal record.
If this is your first conviction, it is considered a misdemeanor sex crime. The penalty is up to six months of county jail time and a fee of up to $1,000.
However, repeat offenders will face steeper penalties. If you have a previous conviction of indecent exposure or engaging in lewd acts with a minor, it can be charged as a felony sex crime offense.
This type of conviction will result in up to three years in county jail and up to a $10,000 fee. Second offenses could result in time in a California state prison instead.
If the crime occurred in a building or dwelling, then it is considered aggravated indecent exposure. This type of crime may be considered either a misdemeanor or felony—depending on the situation and your criminal record.
Another penalty that applies to both felonies and misdemeanors is having to enter the sex offender registry. Sex offenders often have trouble finding jobs and housing, and the label of the sex offender can follow you around for years.
The Best Way to Fight Against Indecent Exposure or Sex Crime Charges
A skilled sex crime lawyer will point out flaws in the alleged victim’s case, argue that there is insufficient evidence, and do everything possible to clear your name.
Lawyers that have worked on many sex crime cases understand how vital it is to push back aggressively against sex offense accusations. An experienced legal representative can help you avoid lifetime sex offender registration, which is a penalty for many sex crimes.
Being convicted of a sexual-related crime can follow you for years. If you are accused of a sexual offense, it is important to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney who has experience with this type of criminal case.
Defense attorneys who have practiced criminal law for many years can help you protect your personal and professional reputation.
When you need a reliable federal sex crimes defense lawyer in Los Angeles, you can count on our law firm. Get in touch today to book an appointment for a free consultation with a member of our legal team! Contact us at 877-545-3127 at LibertyBell Law Group today!
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