Both men and women can be charged with indecent exposure in Los Angeles—and the results can be serious. If you have been charged with indecent exposure, you may be facing up to 6 months in jail or, in some cases, state prison time. If convicted you will also become a registered sex offender. You need to fight the charge—and a Los Angeles indecent exposure 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 charge reduced to something that won’t derail your life. Let us give you a free consultation and show you what we can do. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What counts as indecent exposure in Los Angeles?
Indecent exposure is defined by the law 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. It can also be charged if you were in a private home and exposed yourself without permission.
In general, the “private parts” mentioned in the indecent exposure law include:
Indecent exposure is often a misdemeanor, but it can be a felony under some circumstances. Both types of indecent exposure charge count as sex crimes and require you to register as a sex offender if you are convicted
What about flashing breasts or mooning someone?
Exposing the female breasts or “mooning” by showing someone your buttocks do not normally 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
Exposing your breasts for breastfeeding is always legal in California 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.
What are my chances of beating an indecent exposure charge?
The only way to know for sure is to talk to a lawyer. 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 in order 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.” 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.
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 very hard 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 in some cases.
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 charged with a felony.
What are the penalties for indecent exposure in Los Angeles?
The penalties depend on the way the charge is filed.
Up to 6 months in county jail
Fine of up to $1,000
Up to to 1 year in county jail
Fine of up to $1,000
Either 16 months, 2 years or 3 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 serious penalty because it affects the way others see you, including your neighbors. This is the same status that serious offenders carry, like rapists. Often, when an employer or neighbor learns of your status, they will assume you committed a similar serious crime—even though you did not.
If you are facing this charge, do not risk being given this status. You need to speak to a lawyer.
Talk to a Los Angeles Indecent Exposure Lawyer for Free
No one should go up against a prosecutor without a good lawyer on their side. Let us help you. At the Simmrin Law Group we have dedicated our entire practice to helping those who are accused. Let us give you a FREE consultation and help you get started defending yourself. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.