California takes sex-related crimes seriously. Even violations that do not cause physical harm to a victim, such as indecent exposure, are aggressively prosecuted. Convictions for violations of California Penal Code 314 can bring consequences affecting your freedom, your finances, and your career, and may even determine where you can live.
To fight these charges, you need representation from a knowledgeable, indecent exposure lawyer from Simmrin Law Group.
Indecent Exposure Explained
PC 314 establishes the crime of indecent exposure as occurring when a person willfully exposes their naked body or private parts in a public area or a place where others are present and are “offended or annoyed” by that exposure.
Convictions can bring life-changing consequences, including registration on the sex-offender registry. If you are facing indecent exposure charges, reach out to a skilled indecent exposure attorney from Simmrin Law Group today.
Requirements for a Conviction of a PC 314 Violation
If you are charged with indecent exposure, the prosecution has to prove certain key facts, also called “elements of the crime,” to win a conviction.
You Exposed Yourself Willfully
To do something willfully is to do it on purpose–with intention. If you exposed yourself accidentally, you cannot be convicted. For example, if you rip your swimsuit on a tree branch while swimming in a lake, and your genitals are exposed as you exit the lake, you should not be convicted of PC 314 as the exposure was not your choice.
You Exposed Yourself or Your Private Parts
Exposing “yourself” means revealing your naked body. Exposing private parts means revealing your naked genitals. If your skirt rides up or your pants fall down, exposing your underwear, you have not revealed your private parts. Female breasts are not genitals, so this type of exposure, whether through breastfeeding or for more sexual purposes, is not a violation of PC 314.
You Were in a Public Place
A public place is anywhere the exposure is likely to be witnessed by others. It could be a parking lot, rest stop, park, or even a jail cell. Even a secluded area of a public park or beach is still considered public.
You Exposed Yourself to Others Who Would Be Reasonably Offended
For a conviction to hold, you must have exposed yourself to an audience, even of one person, who took offense or was annoyed by your exposure. An audience can be a park full of people or a single prison guard.
A dark setting does not absolve you of the violation. If you expose yourself to someone in a dark parking lot, you can still be convicted even if the person did not actually see your private parts.
You Intended to Draw Attention to Your Private Parts
Your intent had to be to draw attention to your genitals. Imagine you take a hike and stop to rest in an isolated area. You take off your clothes to sunbathe and relax but fall asleep. If someone else comes by and sees your naked body, you are not guilty of indecent exposure, as you did not intend to draw anyone else’s attention to your body.
You Were Motivated by Sexual Purposes
The prosecution has to prove you acted to bring yourself sexual gratification, sexually arouse or gratify another person, or offend someone sexually. For example, urinating in public can bring other consequences but is often not seen as an act of indecent exposure since it is not a sexually motivated act.
Consequences of a PC 314 Conviction
For most first-time convictions of indecent exposure, the violation carries misdemeanor charges and penalties. Convictions can bring up to six months in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and/or a 10-year (or more) registration as a sex offender.
When charged with an “aggravated” violation, you can face more serious penalties. Aggravated indecent exposure is a wobbler, meaning it can carry misdemeanor or felony charges and more severe penalties. You commit aggravated indecent exposure if you exposed yourself in an inhabited dwelling and entered that dwelling without permission.
If the aggravated violation is charged as a misdemeanor, you face the same potential misdemeanor charges with the possibility of a longer jail sentence of one year. If you are charged with a felony, your penalties can include:
- A sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years in a California State Prison
- Fines of up to $10,000
- A ten-year minimum registration as a sex offender
If you are convicted of a repeat violation of Penal Code 314, or if you have been convicted of lewd acts with a minor under PC 288, you will face felony-grade charges and probably experience the penalties for aggravated indecent exposure.
What It Means to Register as a Sex Offender
California Penal Code 290 establishes registration as a sex offender as one of the possible penalties for a conviction of PC 314. This registration can have a serious impact on your career, even costing you your professional license. California also has restrictions on where sex offenders can live.
Failure to register as a sex offender after a court order is a felony offense.
How a PC 314 Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Representation from a skilled indecent exposure attorney is critical. Your attorney will ensure you are treated fairly by the California Court, will act as a trustworthy advisor and voice, and will examine your case and develop a strong defense to have your charges and penalties reduced or dismissed altogether.
For a conviction, the prosecution must prove your act fulfills all elements of the crime. Your attorney will collect and present evidence countering their arguments for each element or otherwise supporting your defense.
An experienced indecent exposure lawyer also has strong negotiating skills. If your charges stand, your attorney will work to have them reduced and limit the severity of the penalties.
Get the Best Results for Your Case – Contact Us Today
Simmrin Law Group has experience working with individuals charged with indecent exposure. We know not every charge is warranted and that accusations are not enough to prove guilt.
Since the penalties for a conviction can be severe, reach out for superior representation from an indecent exposure lawyer from Simmrin Law Group. Your attorney will stand by you every step of the way and work for the best possible result.