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Indecent Exposure

Indecent Exposure Laws in California – Penal Code 314 PC


It has been my experience over the past 25 years of handling indecent exposure cases in the Los Angeles courts that the prosecutors are willing to negotiate the actual charge to something less shameful and embarrassing if the defense attorney can give them the reasons to do so.

Hence, if you are charged with an indecent exposure case, your best bet is to hire an attorney that frequently appears in the court where your case is pending and has had success with these types of cases.

The only way to assess this is to sit down with the attorney and ask them. First, be honest with them about exactly what happened and then ask them what they believe you are facing based on their experience, your criminal record, and the facts and circumstances surrounding the current offense.

A good attorney will break everything down for you and give you a feel for what you are up against and your best strategy for success.

In addition to protecting your record, you should also be mindful that in many cases of this nature, the prosecutors want the offender to register as a sex offender to keep tabs on them and make sure that they are not up to no good.

It is up to your attorney to make it very clear to the prosecutor that you are not a threat or danger to the community at large. Therefore this extreme measure is not necessary in your particular case. If the attorney is unwilling to stick up for their client's rights, then no one else will!

I have seen attorneys bullied repeatedly by prosecutors who think they know everything about the client and believe the client is a menace.

Unfortunately, many times the police only tell a small portion of the story, and they slant the deck against the defendant. Only the savviest and battle-tested defense attorneys can turn the tide in their client's favor and achieve the appropriate result.

Finally, a person charged with this type of crime should also be aware that the prosecutors are usually looking to teach the person a lesson by putting them in jail to impress upon them the serious nature of being involved in this type of crime public offense.

However, there are many alternatives to jail that are available and can be utilized by an attorney that knows what they are doing and has the experience of fending off the prosecutor's attempts to exact a harsh punishment on their client.

Sometimes the defense attorney must go directly to the judge to ensure their client stays out of jail. In Los Angeles County, the judge controls the punishment, and the prosecutors handle the charges. Therefore, it is up to the defense attorney to deal with both forces to obtain a result their client can live with.

Many people view an Indecent exposure charge as a lesser sex crime, usually charged as a misdemeanor but can also be charged as a felony if you have prior convictions on your record. If charged as a felony, you may face up to a year in county jail or state prison.

The problem with viewing this crime as a lesser offense is that you fail to realize how others that see the crime on your record might view you.  I fight hard to avoid a conviction for an Indecent Exposure charge and try and get a more innocuous control for my clients, so they do not have to live with the stigma this charge comes with.


If you have a clean record, I could certainly appreciate how terrifying it would be to know that you are charged with a sex-related offense and are facing all of the ramifications of that type of conviction.

One of the key goals that I try and pursue in these types of cases is to either convince the prosecutors and judge to give you a diversion program so that your record can be preserved or to give you a different charge that does not carry the same stigma and consequences that come along with an indecent exposure case.

If we can point out your version of events, come up with some character letters that show the good things about you, and make a solid argument that you are not a menace to society and should be given the benefit of the doubt. We are in a position to achieve a result that you can live with and give you back control of your life!


California Jury Instruction CALCRIM 1160 is the applicable law that controls this particular crime. The elements that the prosecutors have to prove for an indecent exposure case are:

1) The defendant willfully exposed their genitals / private area in the presence of another person and that the person would have been offended by the defendant's actions; and

2) When the defendant did so, they acted lewdly indirect public attention to sexually arousing or gratify him or herself or another person.

The bottom line is that the judge and jury will look to see if the person charged with the crime of indecent exposure is meant to expose themselves under the circumstances attendant in the case.

Sometimes, this is a factual issue, and the jury must hear all of the evidence before making an intelligent decision on the case. This is where having the best possible attorney on your side is crucial to your success or failure in these types of cases.

When I meet with people, I ask my questions, gather the facts, and am typically able to give them an idea of their chances based on defending over 200 jury trials and seeing where the issues are decided in these types of cases.

The crime of indecent exposure can not be imposed simply for being naked in public. To prove indecent exposure, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you willfully exposed yourself in a lewd manner with the intent of offending, exciting, or annoying others.

There are many defenses to this crime that can be employed under the rights circumstances.  If a reason for Indecent Exposure is not available because of the facts of the case, then there is still the chance of negotiating a less serious charge with the judge or prosecutor.

Contact our Law Firm If Accused of Indecent Exposure

Being charged with a sex crime has life term consequences, such as the requirement of registering as a sex offender according to California Penal Code section 290. As defense attorneys, we do everything to build a strong case on your behalf.

Our attorneys will be dedicated to your situation, and our goal as your advocate is to put these charges behind you and have you move forward with a clean record. We will do everything we can. Call us to set up your free consultation, and we will proceed from there.


What to do if You're Charged with Indecent Exposure?

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about state or federal sex crime issues in California and throughout the United States.

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