Indecent Exposure, PC 314

If you or someone you know is facing indecent exposure charges and are not sure what to do next, then contact a criminal defense attorney right away. The consequences you face depend on the situation and your criminal background history. Indecent exposure can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony and carry penalties that will follow you for the rest of your life. The right legal representation can help you understand if your rights were violated and help achieve the best possible outcome.

What Is Indecent Exposure?

Under California’s Penal Code 314 PC, indecent exposure is considered a sex crime and can cover a broad number of situations. California’s Penal Code 314 PC is defined as exposing your genitals to another person(s), with the motivation to sexually gratify yourself or to offend another person. Exposing your private parts in a public place can be considered indecent exposure and covers the genitals, posterior, and breasts.

Examples of who can be charged with PC 314 Indecent Exposure

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Peter gets drunk at a bar one night and decides to pick up food at a fast food restaurant. When he walks up to the glass doors and discovers they are locked he gets angry. There are several employees inside cleaning up the tables and they all look up to discover Peter exposing his private parts to them while urinating on the doors. He then proceeds to bang on the doors, ordering them to open up or he’ll break the doors. Peter could face charges for indecent exposure and may face penalties under California’s Penal Code 647(f) PC, drunk in public as well.

Sally and Nathan decide to take mushrooms and go out to watch a music concert in the park. Not fully realizing their reaction to it, they begin to get sexually explicit while dancing in the crowd. Sally then exposes her breasts, and Nathan next gropes Sally’s chest.  Sally could face charges for indecent exposure, and Nathan could face charges for California’s Penal Code 647(a) PC Lewd Conduct. They could both face charges for possible health and safety code violations if it is discovered they were in possession of “shrooms” or any other illegal amounts of drugs.

A group of skater boys dare each other to ride their skateboards on the boardwalk while naked during the busiest time of the day. Once they do it, the vendors and general public take notice, calling the police. Parents in the crowd covered their children’s eyes. The teenage boys could face charges for a misdemeanor or felony indecent exposure depending on their criminal history and age. The punishments and penalties differ for boys under the age of 18, they will have to face charges in a juvenile court with juvenile sentencing options.

It is important to note, PC 314 indecent exposure laws can sometimes cover situations you would not have figured were illegal. This is why it is highly recommended you find a criminal defense lawyer that can fight for your rights.

Similar Offenses and the Differences

The following are similar offenses that can sometimes be charged in addition to Penal Code 314 indecent exposure.

  • Penal Code 647(a) PC lewd conduct in public;
    • This takes place when someone touches themselves or another individual in public with sexual intent. If the person exposes their private areas during the act, both PC 314 and PC 647(a) could be charged.
  • Penal Code 288 PC lewd conduct with a minor;
    • This is similar to lewd conduct in public except the victim was under the age of 14. The penalties for lewd acts with a minor are more severe than lewd conduct in public.

Associated Crimes

Other crimes that could sometimes be filed in conjunction with Penal Code 314 PC indecent exposure are as follows:

  • Penal Code 647(f) PC Drunk in Public;
    • If an individual is intoxicated in public and their actions are jeopardizing their own safety or the safety of others, or
    • If they are intoxicated and begin to interfere with or obstruct traffic on the streets and/or walk ways.
  • Penal Code 602 PC Trespass;
    • Entering a building or property without permission.
  • Penal Code 415 PC Disturbing the Peace;
    • If someone is behaving in an obnoxious, loud, or offensive manner in public they could be charged with disturbing the peace.
  • Health and Safety Code 11350 Drug Possession;
    • Possession of a controlled substance(s) without holding a legitimate prescription and if that substance is covered under the “controlled substances act” you could face charges for drug possession.

The Prosecution

To get a conviction for Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure, the prosecution must first prove the elements of the crime actually took place.

  • Did you willfully or intentionally expose your genitals?
    • Example:
      • Eric was angry with a female coworker because she turned him down for a date, so begins acting obnoxious towards her. One day, his behavior escalates from cat calling to exposing his bare chest to her. She wasn’t fazed by his behavior and continued to ignore his advances. He gets upset and willfully exposes his private parts to her in the break room.
      • Eric willfully exposed his genitals to another person and could be charged with indecent exposure. Furthermore, his behavior and actions could be considered sexual harassment. Especially if it had been going on for weeks and if his coworker felt annoyed, offended, and harassed throughout the whole ordeal.
  • Were your bare genitals actually exposed?
    • The prosecution will have to prove whether you actually exposed your bare private parts in public.
    • Example:
      • Rosie’s house gets too hot during the summer and she decides to relax in her front yard hammock while wearing her bikini. Her neighbor gets offended and attempts to report Rosie for indecent exposure. Because Rosie did not actually expose her bare genitals she could not be charged with PC 314 indecent exposure.
  • Was there actually another person(s) there who witnessed it?
    • If there was no one present who witnessed the act of indecent exposure, then no one could technically be annoyed or offended by it.
    • This can possibly lead to the case being dropped if the prosecution lacks the evidence needed to continue.

Legal Defense

Penal Code 314 PC indecent exposure laws can sometimes be vague and an experienced legal defense team can help. The following are some of the most common defenses a sex crimes criminal defense lawyer might use.

  • Accidental Exposure;
    • Cases where one’s private parts were unintentionally exposed does not qualify it as “indecent exposure.”
    • Example:
      • Casey is wearing a miniskirt while shopping at the mall. She accidentally trips over a trash bin and hits the floor. Her mini skirt rides up, exposing her private parts and she quickly pulls it back down. Because it was only accidental and she did not willfully or intentionally expose herself, it was not indecent exposure.
  • False Accusation;
    • False accusations can often happen, especially in sex crime cases. This is because such acts can be filed based off of he said/she said accusations and do not require much evidence beforehand. In some instances, false accusations are made by people who do not fully understand the definition of indecent exposure.
    • Example:
      • Barry is moving into a new apartment building in the middle of August and decides to take his shirt off while carrying boxes up the stairs. A couple of his neighbors get offended by this and call the cops to report indecent exposure.
      • Barry is not guilty of indecent exposure and was falsely accused because the neighbors did not fully understand what the definition of PC 314 indecent exposure was.
  • Mistaken Identity;
    • Eyewitness accounts could be called into question in cases where the lighting was poor, or the perpetrator’s face was partially hidden or completely covered.
    • There have been cases where the defendant only looks like the perpetrator or has the same name as them. Instances like this can lead to a case of mistaken identity.
    • Example:
      • Chris was surprised when he was accused of indecent exposure while walking around downtown. The accuser gave a description of the haircut, height, and type of coat the perpetrator had and Chris supposedly fit that description.
      • A good criminal defense attorney will point out that the eyewitness only saw the back of the perpetrators head. Their recollection also fits the description of dozens of men that night who had been walking around with a similar coat and haircut.
  • Insufficient Evidence;
    • Sex crimes are difficult to prove in he said/she said cases and a lack of evidence is a common defense that lawyers can use.
    • Example:
      • Sam was taking a road trip along the coast and drank a lot of coffee. He pulls over on the highway and finds a secluded area to relieve himself.
      • Even though he did expose himself, he did not intend to offend anyone for his sexual gratification. He also did not expose himself to the public because he made sure to find a secluded area to urinate.
  • Lack of will and/or intent;
    • Charges of indecent exposure can be fought if there was a lack of willfulness or intent to purposefully expose one’s private part to the public.
    • Example:
      • Brandon’s friends played a prank on him at the community pool and removed his clothes from the lockers. While Brandon was in the showers they hid his swimsuit and towel. Brandon got angry and stormed out of the locker rooms looking for his friends. He grabbed a towel from the racks near the doors, but not before other people were exposed to his private parts.
      • Brandon did not willfully or intentionally expose his genitals to the public and in fact found a towel to cover up before finding his friends.


Being charged with Penal Code 314 PC indecent exposure is not something you should take lightly. It is important to understand that a conviction for this crime will have life changing consequences. Here are the penalties for PC 314:

  • Penal Code 314 PC Indecent Exposure;
  • If convicted, you will have to register as a sex offender and will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.
    • Misdemeanor;
      • Up to 6 months in county jail,
      • Up to $1,000 in fines.
    • Felony;
      • 16 months, 2, or 3 years in a California state penitentiary,
      • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Related Offenses and Penalties

  • Penal Code 647(a) PC lewd conduct in public;
    • A misdemeanor offense:
      • Possible summary or informal probation with little or no jail time.
      • It could possibly include paying fines, taking counseling, and submitting to AIDs tests. You could also be banned from the location where the lewd conduct took place.
      • A maximum of 6 months in the county jail, and/or
      • Up to $1,000 in fines.
  • Penal Code 288 PC lewd conduct with a minor;
    • Victim under 14 years old:
      • A strike under California’s Three Strikes Law,
      • Potentially face up to 8 years in a state penitentiary,
      • If force or threats were used, up to 10 years in state prison.
    • If the victim was 14 or 15 years old and the alleged perpetrator was more than ten years older than them, the penalty is up to 3 years in state prison.
  • Penal Code 647(f) PC Drunk in Public;
    • Misdemeanor;
      • Up to 6 months in county jail, and/or
      • Up to $1,000 in fines.
  • Penal Code 602 PC Trespass;
    • Misdemeanor;
      • Up to 6 months in a county jail, and/or
      • Up to $1,000 in fines.
    • Felony;
      • 16 months, 2, or 3 years in jail.
  • Penal Code 415 PC Disturbing the Peace;
    • Misdemeanor;
      • Up to 90 days in the county jail, and/or
      • Fines up to $1,000.
  • Health and Safety Code 11350 Drug Possession;
    • Misdemeanor;
      • Up to 1 year in county jail, and/or
      • Fines up to $1,000.
    • Felony;
      • 16 months, 2, or 3 years in prison.

We Can Help

Being accused of a sex crime is a serious matter and finding the right criminal defense attorney can help you fight for your rights. If you are located in the greater San Diego area, Orange County, or Los Angeles and need advice on your case contact the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum.

Attorney Yum is a top-rated criminal defense lawyer and earned spots in The National Trial Lawyers top 100 and top 40 under 40 categories. As a former prosecutor, you can expect nothing less than an aggressive fight for your rights. If you have any questions or would like to explain your case, don’t hesitate to contact us today.