California’s Penal Code upholds strict laws pertaining to appropriate public behavior. Unfortunately, some individuals intentionally or unknowingly violate these laws and incur significant criminal penalties. Some charges can potentially lead to long-term or lifelong consequences, particularly crimes of a sexual nature. If you or a loved one has been charged with public indecency, it is vital to understand the potential penalties you face and the value of reliable legal counsel on your side.
The Law Office of Conor Bell can provide the compassionate and detail-oriented legal representation you need to navigate a complex criminal case. If you have been charged with public indecency, you risk compulsory registration as a sex offender and additional penalties. The right attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your criminal case, and they can potentially help you avoid conviction. The team at the Law Office of Conor Bell will carefully review the details of your case and help you determine your best available defenses.
Facing any criminal charge can be a life-changing experience, and the quality of your defense counsel can mean the difference between the maximum possible sentence and diminished or dismissed charges. The US Constitution affords certain rights to every American citizen accused of a crime. Specifically, the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution pertain to criminal cases. The Fifth Amendment provides the right to remain silent, which protects Americans accused of criminal offenses from self-incrimination. The Sixth Amendment ensures the right to legal counsel.
If a defendant cannot afford to hire an attorney or does not wish to pay for a private defense attorney out of their own pocket, the court can appoint a public defender to represent the defendant at no cost. To some, this may seem like an ideal way to secure defense representation while saving money on legal costs. However, the reality is that even the best public defenders cannot match the level of defense counsel that you could expect from an experienced Napa public indecency lawyer.
The majority of public defenders are capable attorneys who do their best for their clients, but the nature of their work requires them to manage multiple cases at once. This provides very little time to devote much individual attention to a given case. By comparison, most private defense attorneys maintain balanced caseloads to ensure every client has access to the full scope of the defense attorney’s resources and attention. When you choose the Law Office of Conor Bell to represent you in a public indecency case, you can expect personalized legal counsel and thoughtful consideration of every aspect of your case. We’ll carefully review the circumstances of your arrest and booking to ensure your rights were preserved and then assist you in developing a defense against the charges you face.
The crime of public indecency is often conflated with indecent exposure, which is generally prosecuted as a more serious criminal offense. According to the California Penal Code, indecent exposure is an offense characterized by the intentional exposure of one’s genitals or a naked body to others with the intent of disturbing others or arousing others or the individual.
“Public indecency” is a broader term that can apply to various situations. For example, acts of public indecency that lead to criminal charges can include:
This is not an exhaustive list of all possible examples of public indecency, and these charges are often prosecuted as disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor offense that can carry a sentence of up to 180 days in jail. In addition, it’s important to note that exposure of the body is not a requirement to qualify for a public indecency charge. However, an individual who engages in any public indecency involving exposure to the body may also qualify for prosecution for indecent exposure.
Indecent exposure is a more serious criminal offense in California. A first-time offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. A second offense or beyond qualifies for felony prosecution and is typically punished by up to three years in prison. Additionally, a conviction for indecent exposure can lead to sex offender registration in California.
It is possible to face criminal charges for indecent exposure and public indecency/disorderly conduct. The nature of the act in question, where the act occurred, and the number of people who witnessed the act all influence sentencing. If the defendant engaged in the act of public indecency or indecent exposure in view of children, they would likely face a much more severe penalty upon conviction.
Beyond jail time and perhaps a fine, one of the worst aspects of conviction for public indecency or indecent exposure is the requirement to file as a sex offender. If the defendant’s offense only qualifies for prosecution as disorderly conduct, sex offender registration is not a requirement. However, if their offense entails indecent exposure, they will likely face sex offender registration.
Sex offender registration may last for 10 years or be compulsory for life, depending on the nature of the offense. Registration as a sex offender can have dramatic repercussions on various aspects of your life. For example, you may not qualify for financial aid for school and will likely have trouble finding a job. Additionally, you will be required to disclose your sex offender status in certain situations, leading to loss of standing in your community and scrutiny from others. Sex offenders are also prohibited from living and working in certain areas, such as in or near schools or daycare centers. The judge handling sentencing in a sex offense case will typically dictate the exact terms and conditions of the sex offender’s restrictions based on the unique details of their case.
Suppose you have been arrested for a lewd act in public, indecent exposure, or any act of public indecency that would qualify as disorderly conduct under California’s Penal Code. In that case, it is essential to exercise your constitutional rights as soon as you are arrested. The arresting officer will read you your Miranda rights, reminding you of your right to remain silent and your right to legal counsel. It is always in your best interests to stay silent through the arrest and booking processes and comply with the arresting officers. Contesting the arrest or otherwise giving the arresting officers a hard time will never work in your favor.
After booking, you will be allowed to make your phone calls. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately so they can begin working on your case. If the police try to have you sign anything or confess to specific offenses, say nothing until your attorney arrives. Anything you say to the police could potentially be leveraged against you. Once your attorney arrives, they can assess your situation and begin working on your defense.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can be instrumental in helping you avoid the worst possible penalties you face in a public indecency case. In any criminal case, the burden of proof rests with the prosecution. Therefore, the prosecutors handling your case must establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt by effectively leveraging their admissible evidence and eyewitness testimony. Your defense lawyer’s job is to prevent the prosecutors from meeting their burden of proof.
Your defense attorney could potentially implement several defense strategies on your behalf. If your attorney believes the police or prosecutors mishandled any aspect of your case, they can highlight these missteps and help you secure a case dismissal. If an undercover officer coerced you into committing an act of public indecency, your attorney can potentially help you prove entrapment which would render the prosecution’s case invalid.
Ultimately, there are several possible ways for your defense attorney to handle your defense. Every public indecency case is unique, and it’s essential to have legal counsel on your side capable of leveraging the details of your situation in your favor. The Law Office of Conor Bell can provide the comprehensive defense counsel you need in this challenging situation. Whether your case involves disorderly conduct alone, indecent exposure, some type of assault, or other related offenses, it is essential to have a defense attorney who has the resources, experience, and legal skills to navigate your case successfully.
The Law Office of Conor Bell is ready to provide the defense counsel you need for your Napa public indecency case. If you are ready to discuss your legal options with an experienced Napa public indecency lawyer, contact the Law Office of Conor Bell today and schedule your consultation with our team.