What is Indecent Exposure?

What is Indecent Exposure?

by Mar 5, 2019

Many people are not aware that indecent exposure is classified as a sex crime. In California, indecent exposure is defined as willfully exposing your genitals to someone else, motivated by a desire to sexually gratify yourself or offend the person or people you are exposing yourself to.

While that may sound fairly self-explanatory, the way that California’s indecent exposure laws are written are quite broad and also vague. This means that some behavior that you think is acceptable may actually result in criminal charges.

As with many other types of crimes, the circumstances, intent, and other person or people involved can have an impact on whether or not you will be arrested and prosecuted.

Examples Of Indecent Exposure

The following are some examples of the type of behavior that would likely lead to an arrest and charges of indecent exposure:

  • A woman exposing her breasts in a crowded bar or restaurant for the sexaul gratification of her husband/boyfriend or wife/girlfriend.
  • A man walking into a woman’s bathroom or locker room and exposing his genitals in order to offend the women in the room or sexually gratify himself.
  • A man or woman ordering food delivery and answering the door naked in order to offend the delivery person or sexually gratify themselves.

Additionally, posting or sending unwanted pictures via text, chat, social media, or email of one’s genitals to someone else would possibly be classified as an internet sex crime.

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Penalties For Indecent Exposure

In most cases, a first offender charged with indecent exposure will be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to one thousand dollars.

A second offense is a felony and may result in being sentenced to state prison and much larger fines.

Worst of all, however, anyone convicted of indecent exposure will likely be required to register as a tier one sex offender in California for a minimum of ten years.

Legal Defenses For Indecent Exposure

If you’ve been charged with indecent exposure, there are a number of possible legal defenses that an attorney may present, depending on the circumstances.

These include arguing that:

  • You didn’t “willfully” expose yourself
  • You were unaware of anyone else present at the time you exposed yourself
  • You were falsely identified and/or the victim of mistaken identity

Your lawyer will carefully review your case and decide what the appropriate defense is for you. At Quinnan Law, we have extensive experience defending against all types of sex crime charges, including indecent exposure.

To learn more, or have an attorney evaluate your case, please contact us for a free phone consultation today.


At Quinnan Law, we offer every client a free phone consultation to discuss their unique situation and determine how we can help. To arrange a consultation, please fill out the adjacent form or call us at: (707) 540-2356.

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