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Indecent Exposure in a Vehicle


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.  Where I’ve seen some issues arise in this crime is 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.

To give readers a better understanding of indecent exposure in a vehicle charges, our California criminal defense attorneys are providing an overview below.

Prostitution Related Activity

However, usually where I see indecent exposure charges is 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 and they’re catching people left and right who decide to have some sort of sexual contact in a vehicle.

Another area that I see indecent exposure related to vehicles is those individuals who are allegedly trying to expose themselves to minors. Whether it be near school grounds or near 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 and that makes 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 and 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, some people will expose themselves in a scenario where they can make the argument that it’s an accidental exposure and they’re going to have their genitals out while they’re jogging.

Maybe they’re wearing some revealing clothing and they’re going to make the argument that they did not intend to expose themselves and 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 type 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 which I was able to end 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 really wasn’t clear that anybody could see anything from the outside.  There was nobody around the vehicle when the conduct took place and the conduct took place in the back seat.

This is where arguably nobody could have seen what was going on and the prosecutors had a weak sexual battery case against my client so they decided to charge 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, then 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 is going to be huge because your attorney can make the difference between winning a jury trial or even negotiating with the prosecutors for a dismissal or a less offense.

Whereas, if you have a weak attorney or you 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.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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