Did you ever think that flashing your private parts at someone else could be a criminal act? Well in the state of California as it has been since the 1870s, it is a crime to flash your genitals to the general public. To be prosecuted under PC 314, the individual must have acted with the intention to cause offense and with an intention to gratify a sexual pleasure. If you are being charged under PC 314, it is crucial that you speak with a local criminal law attorney about your charges.
Those who are convicted of charges under PC 314, will face more than just jail time. In the state of California, if you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for independent exposure, you will be required to register as a sex offender. In most cases, those required to register as sex offenders will find that it is worse than serving a jail sentence. Upon being released back into society (if you are required to serve a jail sentence,) you will find that your life is dramatically changed. A sex offender has the responsibility to register their personal information with the local authorities and to share his or her personal information with an online sex offender registry. This is to ensure that those around you in and outside of your community are well aware of your crime. Sex offender registration can ruin job possibilities and will limit your living freedoms.
A person charged with indecent exposure will want to consult with an attorney about possible defense strategies. Though not everyone can have their charges dropped, there may be a possibility to lower a jail sentence and/or fine. In other cases, an attorney may work to move your case to a lesser crime one which does not require you to register as a sex offender. Those who are charged with a violation of Penal Code 314, may want to speak with an attorney if the following applies:
- You did not intentionally expose your genitals
- You did not know you were being watched
- You have been wrongfully charged
To learn about the possible defense strategies for your case, you may contact the Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer at 310-502-1314. We are ready to help California residents handle charges under Penal Code 314. Upon consultation, you will have a clear understanding of your case and you will have the right knowledge to proceed and challenge the charges.
The following will discuss the terms of Penal Code 314 ‘Indecent Exposure”, the penalties under indecent exposure, the legal strategies used against charges under PC 314, and the obligations of those convicted of a crime under PC 314. Take note that the following is not a consultation and will vary from your specific case. To learn about the specifics of your case and how the factors in your case will play out in a courtroom, you may want to consult with a local criminal law attorney.
California Penal Code 314
In California, it is a criminal offense to flash your genitals or other parts of your body to the open public. PC 314 states that any person who willfully shows his or her private parts to the public with the intention to cause an annoyance or an offense is guilty of a misdemeanor. In other words, in order to be charged under PC 314, the prosecuting party will need to prove the following:
- That you exposed your private parts to another person
- That your actions were out of your own discretion
- That you acted with the intention to annoy, offend, or to satisfy a sexual pleasure
To be prosecuted under PC 314, your actions need to have been out of your own will. For instance, if someone rips your clothes out in public, some people may be offended by your exposed body part. However, those who are offended may not press charges under PC 314. In this case, someone ripped your clothes off, it was not something you did on purpose; therefore, you cannot be charged under PC 314.
Ex: James walks out of his house without his underwear and exposed. James suffers from a mental condition that does not allow him to understand he is doing wrong. The bystanders observing James are disturbed and wish to press charges. Under PC 314, James mental condition would mean that he is not acting on his own will.
Under the PC 314 law, it also requires that the conduct involves exposed genitals. This includes both male and female sex organs, this does not include legs, breasts, or other parts of your body that are not sex organs. For instance, if you are walking around in your underwear, then you may not be charged for indecent exposure.
Ex: Jaime is walking on the street with a long coat and nothing underneath. Jamie approaches a group of girls and exposes his naked body. The girls shriek and run away. Jamie was fully exposed, and he most likely exposed himself with the intent to satisfy a sexual pleasure, therefore, he would be guilty of charges under PC 314.
Furthermore, to be prosecuted under PC 314, the prosecuting party needs to show proof that the defendant displayed his or her genitals to a) cause an annoyance, b) cause an offense, c) to gratify a sexual pleasure. To be prosecuted under PC 314, your actions need to be sexually motivated. For instance, if you are breastfeeding your child, the act of exposing your breast is not sexually motivated which means you cannot be charged under PC 314.
Ex: Jason runs around mooning passersby. He really gets a kick out of it. One day, he receives a notice to appear in a courtroom for charges under PC 314. In this case, even though Jason may be guilty of causing an offense and an annoyance, he did not moon people with the intention to satisfy a sexual need. To be prosecuted and labeled a sex offender, the nature of your crime needs to be sexually motivated. In this case, Jason did not act to satisfy a sexual need.
Penalties under 314
The penalties will highly depend on the nature of your crime and your past criminal record. For instance, you may face additional charges if you have exposed yourself in front of individuals under the age of 18. Furthermore, the charges will typically increase if you are a repeating offender. To fully understand the charges you may face in a courtroom, you are encouraged to speak with a local attorney.
The penalties under PC 314 first time offenders include the following:
- Jail sentence that can range up to six months
- Required to register as a sex offender for the next ten years
- A fine of up to one thousand dollars
The worst part about the charges under PC 314, is that despite having served your jail time you will be required to register as a sex offender. Some will agree that sex offender registration is worse than a jail sentence. The problem with sex offender registration is that everyone is exposed to your information. This means that your future girlfriend or boyfriend, future employer, or local community now have access to your criminal history. Sex offender registration has the ability to damage your reputation and close many doors for your future.
Aggravated Indecent Exposure and Repeated Offenders
If you exposed yourself in someone else’s property or in closed doors to a person that does not welcome the act, you may face felony charges. Aggravated indecent exposure is a wobbler, but if charged as a felony, the defendant may be charged with the following:
- Tier one sex offender registration
- Fines of up to ten thousand dollars
- Prison sentence up to three years
Additionally, you may face the above-mentioned felony charges if you are a repeating offender. This means that if you have been charged and convicted under PC 314 “indecent exposure” or PC 288 “lewd acts with a child” in the recent past, you may be charged with a felony. The case may be charged with a misdemeanor but that is up to the prosecuting party.
The penalties for indecent exposure are not to be taken lightly. Though the crime may not seem like a big deal, the requirement to register as a sex offender should an indicator of how harshly this crime is punished. Even if it's your first offense, you will live with a red dot next to your name and you will experience the loss of opportunities based on your criminal record. To ensure you are not wrongfully convicted or charged with more than you deserve, you are are encouraged to speak with a local attorney.
Sex Offender Registration
In the state of California, if you are charged with a violation under Penal Code 314, you will be required to register as a sex offender. The sex offender registration is divided into three tiers. If you are a tier one sex offender, you will be required to live by the registration obligation for the next ten years. If you are a tier two sex offender, you will be required to register for the next 20 years. Finally, if you are a tier three sex offender you will be required to register for a lifetime. A sex offender is a person that is closely watched and monitored by state laws. Every time you move from an address you will be required to register with the local law enforcement. Additionally, a sex offender will find that he or she cannot live near a location where children frequent. This means that the sex offender will be required to search for housing a certain distance away from schools, parks, or other attractions where children may be found.
Furthermore, a sex offender will find complications when attempting to find employment. Sex offenders may find that an employer chooses not to hire him or her based on their criminal record. Often sex offenders become homeless individuals due to the lack of housing and work opportunities. A sex offender registration is a serious consequence that should not be accepted if you are not guilty of a sex crime.
A person that is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony under PC 314 will be required to register as a tier one sex offender. A tier one sex offender is required to register their personal information for the next ten years. Some of the information you need to provide as a tier one sex offender include the following:
- Upon being released back into society or upon moving from address into a new location, you will be required to register your information with local law enforcement agencies. Additionally, if you enroll in a school you will be required to register your information with the school police.
- The registration in California requires that you provide your full name, your home address, a photograph, personal information including your hair color, your height, your weight, your eye color, and other information pertaining to your identity.
- The type of sex crime you committed
- The type of automobile that you drive
Furthermore, if you are charged with a felony, you may face an additional ten-year sex offender registration requirement for repeated offenses. If you are a first-time offender, you should know that not all sex crimes will result in making your information available to the public. For instance, if you are tier one sex offender the information regarding your automobile or employer may not be available to the public. If you wish to learn more about the sex offender registration, you may visit the California Department of Justice.
Due to the steps required to prove that someone has violated PC 314, there are many ways in which a defense attorney can challenge the charges. To be charged for indecent exposure, the prosecuting party has the burden to prove that the defendant has acted in a sexually criminal manner. Under PC 314, the prosecuting party needs to provide proof that the act caused an annoyance, that the act was done in front of another person, and that the act was intended to satisfy a sexual pleasure or incite lewd conduct. In most cases, if the evidence does not prove you acted with the intent to satisfy a sexual pleasure you may not face charges under PC 314.
If you are falsely accused, you should contact a local attorney to ensure you are not wrongly convicted. It is crucial to understand that the plaintiff will provide proof against your claims in a courtroom and it is your job to challenge the accusations. A person may be pressing charges as a form of revenge or the charges can be from a person that legitimately believes you are the wrongdoer. In either case, you will need to prove your innocence to prevent a false conviction.
Some of the ways you can prove your innocence is by providing proof that you were somewhere else during the time of the alleged indecent exposure. This can be done through eyewitness testimony or other physical proof like receipts that indicate you were in the place you claimed you were. Furthermore, an attorney will work to challenge the evidence against your case. This can be done by providing video footage or testimonies that saw the incident.
You Were Not Exposed
Though it may seem inappropriate, a person cannot be charged with indecent exposure in the state of California for wearing something that is revealing. No matter how revealing the clothing may be, if your genitals are covered, you cannot be charged for indecent exposure. For instance, if you are walking around in your underwear, you may not be charged for indecent exposure.
You Were in Your Home
When you are in your home you are king of the castle and you get to walk around in any way you find pleasing. However, if you are flashing people walking by, you may be charged under indecent exposure. On the other hand, if someone is peeping through your windows and happens to see you naked then they cannot press charges for indecent exposure. Indecent exposure requires that the act is done so to satisfy a sexual pleasure.
A Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer Near Me
If you have been charged with indecent exposure, you are highly encouraged to speak with a local criminal law expert. The California laws are not favorable to those convicted of a sexual crime. As you have learned from above, a sex crime usually results in sex offender registration obligations. This means you will not be allowed to live in certain areas, you will not be able to visit certain areas, you will not be allowed to work in certain areas, and you will be required to maintain a periodic registered with local law enforcement agents. Furthermore, you may face fines and charges for failing to keep up with the sex offender registration obligations.
Those in Los Angeles, California, are encouraged to speak with a local criminal lawyer. There are a number of ways to challenge the evidence against your case. To contact and learn more about our services, you may contact the Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer at 310-502-1314.