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Indecent Exposure Law & Defense

California Penal Code 314(1)

Information on the crime of indecent exposure is found in the California penal code at section 314(1). To prove that the defendant is guilty of indecent exposure, the district attorney must prove:

  • The defendant willfully exposed his or her genitals in the presence of another person or persons;
  • When the defendant exposed himself of herself, he or she acted lewdly by intending to direct public attention to his or her genitals for the purpose of sexual arousal of either the defendant or another person, or to sexually offend another person.

Willfully simply means that the defendant exposed his or her genitals on purpose. Genitals includes the male and female genitalia as well as a female's breasts.

PC 314 crimes are specific intent crimes, which means that before the DA can prove an indecent exposure case he or she will have to prove that the defendant actually intended to do one of three things when he or she exposed himself or herself in public: 1) sexually arouse himself or herself, 2) sexually arouse another person, or 3) offend someone in a sexual manner.

For example, a defendant who is sunbathing nude without knowledge that someone is watching him or her is not committing a crime under PC 314. On the other hand, if the defendant undressed with the specific intent to sexually arouse another person in public (without consent), then the defendant may be found guilty of indecent exposure even if no one actually saw him or her when he or she exposed himself or herself.

Sentence & Penalty for PC 314(1)

Indecent exposure crimes may be filed as misdemeanors or as felonies. PC 314(1) is filed as a misdemeanor in most circumstances. However, if the defendant has a prior conviction for PC 314(1), or a prior conviction of PC 288 (lewd acts on a minor), then any subsequent charge of indecent exposure may be filed as a felony. Also, felony indecent exposure charge may be filed against a defendant when the defendant enters a home without permission and commits indecent exposure.

If found guilty of misdemeanor PC 314(1), the defendant may face a jail sentence of up to 180 days. If the defendant is found guilty of felony indecent exposure he or she may face a prison sentence of up to 3 years.

In addition to a possible jail or prison sentence, a criminal conviction of indecent exposure, either as a misdemeanor or as a felony, will require the defendant to register as a sex offender pursuant to California's sex offender registration laws.

Other penalties for violations of PC 314(1) may include: severe negative consequences for professional licensing and immigration status, restraining orders, harsh probation or parole terms, mandatory therapy, civil lawsuits, and more.

Note: PC 314(1) is considered crimes of moral turpitude, which means it is a bad thought crime and can lead to very negative consequences for future employment. PC 314(1) is not a serious or violent offense as those terms are defined in the penal code. Any jail or prison sentence is subject to a 50% credit for good time behavior.

Probation without a jail sentence is available in some PC 314(1) convictions. Other alternatives to jail or prison may include work release, or electronic monitoring (house arrest). Whether a probation sentence is available in any particular PC 314(1) case depends largely on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.

Defenses to PC 314 crimes

There is no perfect defense that necessarily best fits a criminal charge of indecent exposure; however, common defenses to penal code 314 charges include: voluntary intoxication, insanity, mistake of fact, statute of limitations, coerced confessions, insufficient evidence, and more.

In some PC 314(1) cases it may be possible to reduce the charge, the sentence associated with the charge, or both. The facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history play a large part in the availability of any defense or sentencing options.

If you have been charged with indecent exposure, or penal code 314(1) or 314(2), contact our criminal defense lawyers today to learn your rights and options without delay.

There is no fee to discuss your case with one of our experienced and successful sex crimes criminal defense attorneys. Our office is open seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, to answer all of your questions about indecent exposure and the law of penal code 314.

We also serve clients with post PC 314(1) convictions and associated services, including: expungements, sealing and destroying PC 314(1) arrests, recalling warrants for indecent exposure charges, representation in violation of probation hearings, and certificates of rehabilitation to relieve the defendant from the duty to register as a sex offender (PC 4852). Call today!


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 Related crimes to indecent exposure PC 314

  • Aiding indecent exposure PC 314(2)
  • Lewd Act in Public PC 647(a)
  • Attempted indecent exposure PC 664/314(1)
  • Public exposure by employees or entertainers in adult sexually oriented business without legal permission (stripping or nude dancing) PC 318.5
  • Public exposure by participants in live acts, demonstrations, or exhibitions, without legal permission PC 318.6

California Indecent Exposure Laws & Defense PC 314(1) & 314(2)


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