Arrested for Indecent Exposure California PC 314 Prosecution
Have you or a loved one been arrested for indecent exposure in California?
If you have been arrested for indecent exposure in California and charged with violation of California PC 314, it is important to understand what this crime entails. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich want to share with you what the prosecution needs to prove in order to convict you of this offense.
Charged with indecent exposure under California Penal Code 314
California Penal Code section 314 makes it illegal to willfully and lewdly expose your private parts in a public place or any place where people would be offended or annoyed by such conduct. In order to convict you of indecent exposure, the prosecution must prove the following:
1. You willfully exposed your genitals in the presence of another person(s) who might be offended or annoyed by your actions AND
2. When you exposed yourself, you acted lewdly by intending to direct public attention to your genitals for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying yourself or another person, or sexually offending another person
If it is alleged that you entered an inhabited structure during the commission of this crime, the prosecution must also prove:
1. The willful and lewd exposure occurred after you had entered an inhabited dwelling/building/trailer coach without consent
You willfully exposed your genitals
You commit an act willfully if you do it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that you intended to break the law, hurt someone, or gain an advantage. The area of your body that you must expose to be convicted of this crime is commonly referred to as your genitals. Thus, exposing your undergarments or even a female breast is not sufficient for this offense.
You exposed yourself in the presence of another person who might be offended or annoyed
The prosecution must also prove that when you exposed your genitals, it was in the presence of another person who might be offended or annoyed. Exposure in public places such as a park or on the street is usually sufficient to satisfy this requirement. However, exposing yourself in a private area such as a home can lead to criminal liability even if you live there or have the owner’s consent to be present therein. It is important to note that the law does not take into account the specific sensitivities of the person who witnesses your act and assumes that he or she will be offended or annoyed by such conduct.
You committed the lewd act with intent to draw attention to your genitals
The prosecution must also prove that the lewd act (exposing yourself) was committed with the specific intent to draw attention to your genitals. Mere nudity is not enough to subject you to criminal liability unless it was for the specific purpose of drawing attention to your “private parts.” Therefore if your genitals are exposed for another purpose, such as urinating in a public area, you cannot be convicted of this offense.
It is important to note that a person does not actually have to see your genitals in order to convict you of this offense. Although it would be difficult for the prosecution to obtain a conviction without a witness to testify that he or she saw you expose your genitals, it is still possible to prove that you intended to draw attention to this area of your body.
For example, let’s suppose you decide to pull a prank on the proprietor of a local liquor store by running into the store, exposing your genitals, and running out. However, at the time you exposed yourself, there were no customers in the store and the owner had his back turned throughout the entirety of your prank. Therefore, no one actually saw you reveal your genitals. However after reviewing the surveillance tapes, the store owner recognizes your face and calls the police to come and arrest you for indecent exposure.
Although no one actually saw your genitals at the time you exposed yourself, you did so while in the presence of the store owner and the prosecution will be able to use the surveillance tape to show that you intended to draw attention to that specific area of your body.
You acted with the purpose to sexually arouse or to offend another person
The prosecution must also prove that you exposed your genitals for the purpose of sexual arousal or offending another person. This “lewd” purpose can be for either your own sexual gratification or with the intent to arouse another person. Exposing your genitals for the purpose of offending another person can also subject you to criminal liability. The prosecution does not need to show that person who witnessed your conduct was actually offended or annoyed so long as you committed the act with the intent to do so.
Entering dwelling/building/trailer coach without consent
If it is alleged that you entered a structure during the commission of the crime, the prosecution must also prove that the willful and lewd exposure occurred after you entered a dwelling, building, or trailer coach without consent. A dwelling, building, or trailer coach is inhabited if someone lives there and is either present or has left with the intent to return. This also includes any structure that is attached and functionally connected to building, such as an office or garage. A trailer coach is a vehicle without its own mode of power that was made for human habitation or occupancy. A park trailer can be considered a trailer coach if it is designed for human habitation for recreational or seasonal use only, but it can also be considered a dwelling if someone lives there on a permanent basis. Consent to enter the structure is only valid if it is given freely and voluntarily.
Contact an attorney at Wallin & Klarich if you have been charged with indecent exposure
If you or someone you know has been charged with indecent exposure in California, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who is dedicated to giving you the best representation possible. With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Victorville, Wallin & Klarich has successfully represented clients facing indecent exposure charges for over 30 years. Drawing from our extensive experience, our talented defense lawyers will thoroughly review your case and develop an effective defense strategy to win your case.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or fill out our confidential form. We will get through this together.