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Indecent Exposure

Penal Code 314 PC - Indecent Exposure Law in California

This sex crime has become more and more common as the police find ways to actually prove that someone is exposing themselves from a vehicle in public.  I've seen some issues arise in this crime if somebody exposes themselves, but nobody else sees it.

That could definitely be an issue in order to try to prove an indecent exposure charge against an individual. California Penal Code 314 defines the crime of indecent exposure.

Prostitution Related Activity

However, I usually see indecent exposure charges if somebody is engaged in some sort of prostitution activity, and the police drive upon them and actually see the person's genitalia exposed themselves.

Then police themselves are witnesses, and they arrest the person and charge them with indecent exposure.  This is usually a scenario where the person is stupid enough to actually do the sexual conduct with a prostitute in a known prostitution area. They could also face lewd conduct in public charges.

Indecent Exposure in a Vehicle - California Penal Code 314

The police are obviously patrolling these areas and know of the prostitution activity. They're catching people left and right who decide to have some sort of sexual contact in a vehicle.

Another area where I see indecent vehicle exposure is those individuals allegedly trying to expose themselves to minors. Whether it be near school grounds or some other location or establishment that minors are known to frequent.

That person is exposing themselves because that sexually arouses them if the person is caught by a parent or a passerby or even the police.  Obviously, they're not only going to be charged with indecent exposure, but it's going to be related to a minor, making the charge much more serious.

It puts the person in jeopardy of having to register as a sex offender, and this is obviously something that nobody wants if it has to do with a minor, a lot of times the prosecutors will try to figure out how to put that person in custody.

Accidental Indecent Exposure

Another area that I see indecent exposure charged in Los Angeles County is that some people will expose themselves in a scenario where they can argue that it's accidental exposure. They're going to have their genitals out while they're jogging.

Maybe they're wearing some revealing clothing and will argue that they did not intend to expose themselves and that the exposure was accidental.

The bottom line is, the police, the prosecutors, the judges, and even a jury is going to look at the surrounding circumstances when it comes to an indecent exposure situation.

If somebody genuinely did make a mistake and exposed themselves by accident, that person would certainly have a defense or an argument that they did not intend to expose themselves and would have done so by mistake, and that potentially could be used as a defense, in an indecent exposure case in Los Angeles.

Most of these cases spin on their particular facts, and if you're charged with indecent exposure and you don't think you should be charged, your best strategy is to hire a criminal defense attorney.

Retain an Experienced Sex Crime Lawyer

One who's been practicing a long time handled these types of cases before and knows how to defend them the right way. Knows whether or not you actually have a defense or knows whether it's the type of case that should be resolved by way of some sort of a plea bargain versus risking going to trial.

Then, losing and end up having to register as a sex offender, end up giving up taken into custody because once you decide to go to trial on a case if you win, you don't have a problem.

But if you lose, you start to put yourself in a position where you potentially can be convicted and lose the ability to prevent yourself from going into custody, which obviously is a huge fear for most people for obvious reasons.

But one of the biggest reasons in a sex crime case like indecent exposure is that if the sheriff or other inmates find out, your safety could be in jeopardy, especially if the indecent exposure involved a minor.

Real Indecent Exposure Case Example

One case I just did recently in which I ended up getting the indecent exposure charge dismissed was a scenario where my client did exposure himself. He was in a vehicle, but it was the person who was in the vehicle with him that we're claiming he had exposed himself.

Nobody saw anything from the outside, and it wasn't clear that anybody could see anything from the outside.  Nobody was around the vehicle when the conduct occurred, and the conduct occurred in the back seat.

Los Angeles Sex Crime Attorneys

This is where arguably, nobody could have seen what was going on. The prosecutors had a weak sexual battery case against my client, so they charged him with indecent exposure because he admitted that he did expose himself to the alleged victim.

She turned him down for having sex, and so he let her out of the vehicle, which arguably is not a crime.  But they decided that they were going to charge him with the crime of indecent exposure.

But the judge even agreed that if nobody sees the genitalia, how is it indecent exposure?  The individual in the car saw it but was willing to go in the back seat. They were willing to engage in some consensual acts, so it really didn't make any sense to charge indecent exposure related to that particular person.

So, these cases spin on their facts and, obviously, having a powerful advocate on your side. Especially in a close-case, gray area situation will be huge because your attorney can make the difference between winning a jury trial or negotiating with the prosecutors for a dismissal or a less offense.

Whereas, if you have a weak attorney or try to represent yourself, you're really not going to get anywhere, and you're going to put yourself in a position where you jeopardize your freedom.  You jeopardize your ability not to have to register as a sex offender.

So, if you've got an indecent exposure case in Los Angeles County, pick up the phone, make the call, and we will start the process of getting you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible.

How to Get the Best Result in an Indecent Exposure Case?

Those charged with California Penal Code 314 PC indecent exposure face potential jail time and sex crime registration.  As far as defending these cases and attempting to get the best result, the first step is to discuss the case with a seasoned attorney.

I've been doing this now for 30 years.  I've worked for the district attorney's office, and I've also worked for a superior court judge.  I've defended people like you since the early 1990s for these charges. 

So, we need to sit down and talk about what happened and what the surrounding circumstances are because many times, what I see in these indecent exposure cases is that the police make the decision that they think the person is guilty. 

So, they write up a police report and gather evidence and information centered around showing that the defendant did whatever they're being claimed to have done. But, unfortunately, they often don't look at the other side of the equation.

Review of the Evidence and Possible Defenses

So, we will first talk about what the police are alleging you did because we have to know what we're fighting against. Second, we will talk about your defenses and how we can either win the case altogether or mitigate the circumstances to get a fair resolution so you can move on with your life.

Many times what I see people do when they come in, they start talking about the case from their perspective of themselves, so everything is geared around that they didn't do anything wrong.

So, when I'm done hearing the story, I think, well, if everything you just said is true, I don't understand why you got arrested.  I don't know why you had to post bail.  I don't understand why you have a citation to appear in court.  That's because I only got the story from the defendant's perspective.

The Perspective of the Prosecutor

So, the first thing I need, and it's not easy for people to do when it comes to indecent exposure, is to tell the story from the perspective of the prosecutor and police first.

I need to hear what they're claiming you did wrong, and it will make more sense when you tell me the story from your perspective.  In other words, I can say okay; I see now why you're telling me that. 

Whereas, when people came in in the past, I couldn't understand why they were telling me specific things.  I don't see where it fits into the fact pattern because I don't even know the allegations.  You can't be afraid to say what the allegations are in this type of offense.

Possible Legal Defenses

As far as defenses go, you could indicate, as an example, that you accidentally exposed yourself, and that's why the alleged victim, witness, or whomever it is who is complaining you did something wrong saw what they did, but you didn't do it intentionally. 

When you make this argument, the prosecutors are going to, of course, look at the facts and circumstances surrounding the case, and they're going to look to see whether anything like this has ever happened before, so they can mount the argument that this guy had done this before and made the same argument back. So they're doing the same thing again.

Plea Bargaining

So, we've got to look at the facts and circumstances.  We have to see if you have any prior criminal record. Then we can best assess whether or not the indecent exposure matter can be defended in a court of law or, again, whether it needs to be mitigated. 

If it needs to be mitigated and we need to work out a deal because they've got the evidence against you, and if you go to trial and you're going to lose, then we're going to gather character letters. 

We will put together a mitigation package that I can send to the prosecutor to show them the other side of the story and the person you are to attempt to resolve this severe case. So, if you need the best, you're charged with indecent exposure; pick up the phone now.  Make the call.  My name is Ron Hedding, and I stand ready to help you.

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