California’s penal code enforces necessary laws about conducting yourself in public. However, there are a few misconceptions about the law, and it’s possible to find yourself facing prosecution by unknowingly or unintentionally breaking these laws. Even things like the difference between public indecency, indecent exposure, and lewd conduct are not well known and can impact the severity of the charges. Without the proper defense, you could find yourself facing serious charges even if you weren’t guilty. The sooner you contact a skilled defense lawyer and begin to build a case against changes, the better.
It’s important to your future to understand the nature of the penalties you face. Certain charges associated with indecent exposure laws can create lifelong consequences, even being listed as a sex offender in some counties, creating personal and professional problems for potentially the rest of your life. If you or someone you love is facing criminal prosecution for public indecency, you need to find yourself a reliable criminal defense attorney, well-versed in sex crime defense. A strong defense is important in limiting or possibly eliminating criminal charges.
It can be embarrassing and stressful to face public indecency or indecent exposure charges, especially if it comes as the result of a misunderstanding or a night that got out of hand too quickly. Avoiding the potential humiliating charges of indecent exposure or public indecency requires a well-built and competent case in your defense. The Law Office of Conor Bell can give you professional and considerate legal representation. You need a defense that tackles your specific charges and situation and one that can begin to build your case immediately.
While a publicly appointed defender seems like the easiest and cheapest way to go, you won’t receive the defense you could get from a Lake Tahoe indecent exposure attorney. It may be tempting to lower your legal costs, but the cost of putting your future in jeopardy from being prosecuted far outweighs those. The negative effects of these charges could impact the rest of your life. Public defenders are fully capable of good defense, but their job is such that they are juggling a lot of cases at once, and they are less able to devote full time to your specific and individual defense.
A private defense attorney, on the other hand, can better balance their cases to ensure each has their full attention and devoted their time, care, and resources to each. At the Law Office of Conor Bell, we pride ourselves on our individualized and compassionate care so that we can best focus on your case and what defense can get you the best result from the prosecution. We’ll review your case with care and precision to be sure you get the best defense possible.
There is a difference between public indecency and indecent exposure offenses. Indecent exposure is a harsher charge than public indecency, and lewd behavior or conduct is an even more serious charge than indecent exposure. The term ‘public indecency’ has broader applications than ‘indecent exposure’ because public indecency refers to a number of situations that can incur criminal charges, and not all of them include exposure. Some of these include:
This is not an exhaustive list, and while a public indecency charge doesn’t require body or genital exposure, such an exposure likely means that you would incur both a public indecency and an indecent exposure charge. If no bodily exposure can be proven, charges could be relegated to public indecency rather than indecent exposure, but defense is likely needed to prove that and to argue even the lesser charges.
It’s important to break down how the charge of indecent exposure is worse than public indecency. Indecent exposure refers to the exposure of the body or genitals. This charge indicates a more serious crime than public indecency, one that is sexual in nature and done intentionally. The charges for indecent exposure can be very serious. The California Penal Code that addresses indecent exposure is 314 PC, and this indecent exposure law states that a person who “willfully or lewdly” either:
1) Exposes person or genitals in a public place, or in front of people who are “offended or annoyed thereby” or
2) “Counseled or assists” someone to expose or exhibit themself in public in a way that is “offensive to decency.”
Unintentionally exposing yourself will likely not lead to criminal charges, such as if there is a rip in your clothing or if you exposed yourself in a deserted area. Further, “willfully and lewdly” is a specificity that means you must have intended to arouse yourself or others with the exposure, so if your intention was not arousal, you may be able to prove no indecent exposure. However, intentionally exposing yourself to someone, even in a private area or room, who is offended or annoyed, could be indecent exposure. Knowing these differences in your specific situation can help with your defense.
When arguing against the prosecution, there are many possible defenses for indecent exposure. Often, defense attorneys can prove that not every aspect of the story is true, as the prosecution must prove that each element of the charges is accurate and provable. There is also room for mistaken identity in these cases. You may be a completely innocent party mischarged by someone who, in their shock, didn’t fully see the person committing indecent exposure.
The prosecution must prove willful exposure, the presence of someone who was annoyed by exposure, and your intention to garner public attention directed towards your exposure. They also must prove either sexual arousal and gratification of yourself or others or your intent to sexually offend another person. While many things must be proven, it’s important to be sure that your defense is well-versed in covering all of these factors for your specific situation.
Fines and jail time can be expected if you’re convicted of indecent exposure, and in the worst case, you may be required to sign up as a sex offender. If the crime is listed under public indecency and you are only charged for disorderly conduct, sex offender registration isn’t required. If someone is charged with indecent exposure, though, it’s very likely they will have to register. That’s why it’s important to hire a good legal indecent exposure defense attorney.
Indecent exposure can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on your criminal history and the specifics of the current case. A second offense will often result in a felony. A misdemeanor indecent exposure results in at most six months in county jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, and lifetime sex offender registration. A felony of indecent exposure results in state prison time anywhere from sixteen months to three years, a maximum fine of $10,000, and lifetime sex offender registration.
Registration as a sex offender can have massive consequences for your life. Sex offender registration can last ten years, twenty, or for life, and can impact your job and your housing opportunities, and invite a lot of scrutiny and scorn from those around you, regardless of the severity of your offense. Good legal representation could potentially prevent life-altering consequences.
If you are arrested for public indecency or indecent exposure, it’s important that you follow your Miranda rights. It’s in your best interests to say nothing and request an attorney. You need a good defense when providing the court with testimony and evidence, a defense that attacks from every angle you’re being prosecuted in. Each case is unique and requires an individual approach by an experienced criminal attorney.
The burden of proof in any criminal case rests on the prosecution, and it’s important to have a strong and qualified defense to prevent them from proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. An aggressive defense is quick to determine whether your genitals were clothed or not and whether there was anyone in the area to be offended, as well as your intentions in the matter. There are many specific defenses that can be used based on your particular case, and these differences mean you need a skilled and competent defense lawyer. If you’re in need of a Lake Tahoe public indecency lawyer, contact one of our criminal defense attorneys. We understand the nuances of the legal system concerning public indecency and can help you receive the most optimal outcome in your case.