Skip links

Indecent Exposure

San Diego Indecent Exposure lawyer

The State of California lacks any sense of humor when it comes to public nudity.  In San Diego, any person suspected of exposing their genitalia in public may be charged with indecent exposure.  Aimed to prevent offending the public, indecent exposure targets more than those acting with criminal intent.  Any person alleged to have exposed their genitals, in any way, can find themselves facing serious criminal charges.  Spontaneous acts and dares can lead to temporary lapses in judgment, along with charges of indecent exposure.

A conviction for indecent exposure in San Diego County may include months or years behind bars, and perhaps most devastating of all – registration as a sex offender.  Depending on the nature of the alleged offense, charges may be stacked with other criminal allegations.  The stakes can be high.  Learn more by speaking to an experienced San Diego defense attorney.  Call the Law Office of David P. Shapiro today to learn how you can regain control of your future when charged with indecent exposure.

Ready to Get Started Protecting Your Future? Call 619-295-3555

San Diego Indecent Exposure & Lewd Conduct Questions Answered by a Criminal Lawyer

California PC 314: Indecent Exposure


The California penal code is notably ambiguous in detailing offenses chargeable as indecent exposure.   Too often, people are arrested and charged for harmless accidents, misinterpreted artistic expressions, or other acts lacking actual criminal intent.   Under PC 314, any person suspected of exposing themselves, or encouraging others to do so, may face charges of indecent exposure.  In order to convict, the prosecution must prove the action was:

  • The alleged act must have been committed freely in the presence of another person who might be offended or annoyed.
  • Lewd Intent. The action in question was performed with a desire to sexually gratify himself or herself, another person, or sexually offend another person.
  • The accused must reasonably have known their actions were viewable to the public. However, it is not required that someone actually see the accused’s genitals.

If someone commits the above within an inhabited dwelling, trailer coach, or inhabited portion of any other building, the charge can be elevated to a felony.  Indecent exposure can also be filed as a felony if the person has previously been convicted of indecent exposure or if previously convicted of violating Penal Code 288 or other designated sex offenses.

Indecent Exposure and Other Charges in San Diego


Those innocent of displaying any portion of their body may still face charges for allegedly encouraging others to commit indecent exposure.  This can include encouraging a friend on a dare or hiring a model to perform nude in public.  PC 314 charges are often one of several forming a larger criminal complaint.  In San Diego County, people facing charges of indecent exposure may be facing additional charges of:

Trespassing. Under California PC 602, those accused of indecent exposure on private land or within private dwellings, without the owner’s permission, may face charges of trespassing.

Disturbing the Peace. Accompanied by raucous noise and behavior, accusations of indecent exposure may include additional criminal charges of disturbing the peace under PC 415.

Public Urination. Public urination may lead to allegations of indecent exposure and creating a public nuisance, all chargeable offenses under PC 314, PC 647(a), and PC 370.

Drunk in Public. As alcohol consumption increases, inhibitions tend to decrease.  An arrest for indecent exposure may include charges of drunk in public, per California PC 647(f).

Drug Possession. Any time an arrest is made, the police perform a search.  This includes your clothing, body, and may include your vehicle as well.  This can lead to charges of drug possession under HS 11350.

Other charges may apply depending on circumstances unique to your case.  While the legal system requires a defendant to be presumed innocent, those facing charges of indecent exposure can expect little sympathy from the prosecution.  Accusations of any sex crime can stir fierce emotional responses in prosecutors, judges, and juries.  If you are facing these types of charges, it is imperative you retain a quality, locally experienced, defense firm who has previously handled many similar cases.  Preserve your reputation and freedom, and protect your future.  Call the Law Office of David P. Shapiro and schedule a confidential case evaluation so you can learn your best options moving forward when up against indecent exposure charges.

Penalties for Indecent Exposure in San Diego


Under the best circumstances, an effective defense against indecent exposure will lead to an acquittal.  If convicted of indecent exposure, the penalties can vary depending on several circumstances.  The details specific to your case (such as the alleged offense and complaining party), courtroom presentation of your background, and the caliber of your legal defense all can, and likely will, impact the outcome.   Indecent exposure may be charged as a misdemeanor offense or as a felony, but either requires registration as a sex offender if convicted.

Misdemeanor Indecent Exposure

San Diegans charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure face penalties up to:

  • Six (6) months in jail (one year for aggravated indecent exposure)
  • A fine up to $1,000, and other fees and costs
  • Registration as a sex offender

A felony conviction for indecent exposure may lead to penalties of increases severity, including:

  • Three (3) years in a California prison, with possible enhancements
  • Fines up to $10,000, plus court fees and other costs
  • Registration as a sex offender

Penal Code 290 requires any person convicted of indecent exposure to register as a sex offender.  This includes placing your name, photo, and address for all to see.  Failure to comply can lead to additional serious criminal penalties.  Prior convictions, aggravating circumstances, and other factors can lead to increased sentences if convicted of the underlying offense.  When everything is on the line, call the Law Office of David P. Shapiro.  We will help you through it as we have literally written a book on surviving being charged with a sex crime in San Diego.

San Diego Indecent Exposure Defense Lawyer: Putting on a Defense


If you have been charged with indecent exposure under PC 314, your legal defense can make all the difference.  Following an arrest, the prosecution must prove each element of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  Make it as difficult as possible on them by coming to court with a top-notch defense team on your side.  Potential defenses to accusations of indecent exposure in San Diego may include:

Lack of Willful Intent. Inadvertently exposing oneself, causing arousal or offense, may lead to charges of indecent exposure.  Proving the offense was committed unwillingly, or without the intent to arouse or offend, may prove to be an effective defense.

False Accusations. Criminal accusations may be due to misinterpretation of the law, or through abuse of it.  False allegations of indecent exposure can also be the result of cases of mistaken identity.

Accidental Exposure. A wardrobe malfunction can happen to anyone, leading to charges of indecent exposure.

Insufficient Evidence. The claims filed against you are just that – claims.  Lacking evidence of your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt means that you must be found not guilty.  Insufficient evidence to convict should lead to case dismissal.

If you are facing charges in San Diego County, time is of the essence.  Begin working on your defense strategy today.  The stakes are incredibly high, even for a misdemeanor conviction.  Regain control of your future.  Schedule a personal case evaluation with a locally experienced defense attorney at the Law Office of David P. Shapiro.

Client Reviews

Real Clients Share Their Experience

Return to top of page