Both men and women can get charged with indecent exposure in Los Angeles, and the results can be severe. If convicted, you will also become a registered sex offender. You need to fight the charge, and a Los Angeles indecent exposure defense lawyer can help.
At the Simmrin Law Group, we know how to take on indecent exposure cases, and we have a track record of winning. Our mission is to help people who have been accused of crimes and get you the best outcome possible. In many cases, we may be able to win your case or get the charges reduced.
What Counts as Indecent Exposure in California?
Indecent exposure is defined by California Penal Code (CPC) § 314 as intentionally exposing your private parts in any public place where there are other people who are likely to be offended, and doing so either for your own gratification or to offend others sexually.
You can also face indecent exposure charges if you were in a private home and exposed yourself without permission. In general, the “private parts” mentioned in the indecent exposure law include:
- The penis
- The vagina
Indecent exposure is often a misdemeanor, but it can be a felony under some circumstances. Both types of indecent exposure charges count as sex crimes and require you to register as a sex offender if you are convicted.
For a free legal consultation with a Criminal Defense lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (310) 896-2723
Does Flashing Breasts or Mooning Someone Count as Indecent Exposure?
Exposing the female breasts or “mooning” by showing someone your buttocks do not usually count as indecent exposure. This is because:
- The breasts are not genital regions, and flashing the breasts does not count as indecent exposure even if it was for your own gratification.
- In California, exposing your breasts for breastfeeding is always legal unless you are in someone’s private home, where they forbid it.
- “Mooning” or showing your buttocks is usually done to annoy someone, not for sexual gratification or to sexually offend them, which does not constitute indecent exposure.
Unfortunately, officers do not always understand this and may have charged you with the crime anyway. If your offense involved one of these body areas, call us. We may be able to get your entire charge dismissed without ever going to trial.
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What Are My Chances of Beating an Indecent Exposure Charge?
The only way to know for sure is to talk to an indecent exposure defense lawyer in Los Angeles. However, these cases can be won, and many “indecent exposure” cases come in with very little evidence. Even if there is evidence, prosecutors have to prove several facts to convict you. For example:
- They have to prove it was intentional: Accidentally exposing yourself does not count as indecent exposure, period. If your clothing malfunctioned, or a breeze blew your kilt or dress, or anything else happened that was beyond your control, you could win your case.
- They have to prove the genitals were exposed: Underwear does not count as indecent exposure, no matter how “skimpy.” So, unless there is proof that your bare genitals were exposed, you cannot be convicted.
- Someone was present who might be offended: Exposing yourself alone does not count as illegal exposure, even if you’re in a public space. The same is true if the only person around is a willing participant. If you thought you were alone, or if the person actually asked you to show them yourself, this may make it hard to convict you.
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What Defenses Can I Use in an Indecent Exposure Case?
There are many possible defenses. Remember, the prosecutor has to actually prove the facts above. If the supposed victim is the only witness, but you are sure only your underwear showed or that it was an accident, that is a strong defense against the charge. In that case, it is one person’s word against another, and it is tough for the prosecutor to convict you.
Mistaken identity is also a valid defense in many indecent exposure cases. Police often apprehend a suspect long after the actual incident, based on an eyewitness description. Just because you look similar doesn’t mean you did the crime. This can be a powerful defense that a Los Angeles indecent exposure defense attorney can use in some cases.
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When Is Indecent Exposure a Felony in Los Angeles?
Indecent exposure is usually a misdemeanor. In some cases, however, it can be an aggravated misdemeanor or a felony.
For example, if you exposed yourself after entering a private residence without permission, it may be an “aggravated” misdemeanor charge or a felony. Both are worse than a simple misdemeanor, but the felony is more serious. If you are a repeat offender, you will get charged with a felony.
What Are the Penalties for Indecent Exposure in Los Angeles?
The penalties depend on the way your charges get filed. There are differences in the severity of the penalties depending on numerous factors, the most important being whether your charge is a misdemeanor or felony.
- Up to six months in county jail
- Fine of up to $1,000
- Up to one year in county jail
- Fine of up to $1,000
- Either 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
Additionally, all forms of indecent exposure convictions require that you register as a convicted sex offender for life. This is the most severe penalty because it affects the way others see you, including your neighbors.
Will Registering as a Sex Offender Really Ruin My Life?
If you get convicted for indecent exposure, you may have to register yourself as a sex offender. This is the same status that serious offenders carry, like rapists or child molesters. Grouping yourself with these kinds of people will often result in significant negative impacts on your life.
When an employer or neighbor learns of your status, they will often assume you committed a similarly serious crime, even though you didn’t. Most universities, colleges, and all branches of the armed forces will reject you.
In essence, the social and societal stigma is immense. If you are facing the possibility of registering as a sex offender, do not risk being given this status. You need to speak to an indecent exposure defense lawyer in L.A. as soon as possible.
Why Is It Worth Hiring a Lawyer for Defense Against Indecent Exposure Charges?
Hiring an L.A. indecent exposure defense lawyer has many benefits and advantages. You shouldn’t underestimate how critical a lawyer can be in proving your innocence.
Gathering Evidence for Your Case
You can’t trust the police to gather evidence correctly. The police are human too, and sometimes they can get things wrong. If you get accused of a serious crime like indecent exposure, you can’t risk having bad evidence be the source of your conviction.
All the defenses listed above require that you do your due diligence in gathering evidence supporting your innocence and questioning the accusations brought against you. However, if you don’t know how to gather evidence properly or where to even begin, that’s where Simmrin Law Group’s indecent exposure lawyers can assist.
Helping You Understand Your Legal Options
Criminal law in California is vast, complex, and often hard to understand for the average person. If you have zero legal experience or knowledge, trying to defend yourself can quickly become a nightmare. We can help you understand all the merits of your case and what options you have to prove your innocence.
Ensuring You Get the Best Results for Your Case
Not only will we fight hard on your behalf during the trial, we will also review any plea bargains that the prosecution brings forward. Unfortunately, most people make the mistake of jumping the gun and quickly accepting plea bargains. Don’t do this without first consulting with our lawyers.
Our lawyers will ensure that the terms of the plea bargain are fair. Often, prosecutors will hide specific rules and other penalties within the wording of a plea bargain to trick you into accepting guilt. We will always review any plea bargain before accepting it on your behalf.
Talk to a Los Angeles Indecent Exposure Lawyer for Free
No one should go up against a prosecutor without a good indecent exposure defense lawyer in L.A. on their side. Let us help you. At the Simmrin Law Group, we have dedicated our entire practice to helping those who get accused of a crime.
Let us give you a free consultation and help you get started defending yourself. We are available 24/7, and there is no risk or obligation when you contact us.