While many people may think acts like skinny dipping or mooning someone are simply socially unacceptable, they are actually against the law. If you knowingly expose yourself to the public, you could be charged with public indecency and be convicted of a sex crime.
Sex crime charges can have serious consequences and can permanently stain your public record and reputation. If you have been accused of public indecency, an experienced criminal lawyer can help you receive a favorable outcome in your criminal case. The Denver sex crime lawyers at WeedenLaw can help walk you through the legal process and defend you and your freedom in court. Call our law office at (720) 307-4330 and schedule a free consultation with a Denver criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.
What is Public Indecency?
Public indecency oftentimes occurs when someone commits a lewd or lascivious act in public. In Colorado, someone can be charged with public indecency if they have sex with someone in public, expose an intimate part in public with the intent to cause arousal, fondle someone else in public, or expose their genitals in public.
While public indecency is normally a petty crime in the state of Colorado, it is still a sex crime, which can have serious social and personal consequences, such as embarrassment and loss of certain opportunities.
Examples of Public Indecency
In order for someone to be charged with public indecency, they have to fulfill certain requirements. Still, there are a lot of actions that could fulfill these requirements. For example, someone could be charged with public indecency if they:
- Flash their breasts in public for either their own sexual desire or for someone else’s
- Inappropriately touch their significant other in a public place
- Expose their genitals to urinate on a street sign
- Engage in sexual intercourse in a car or on a public bus
Public Indecency vs. Indecent Exposure
Many people confuse public indecency with indecent exposure, a separate but similar sex crime. Indecent exposure is the crime of exposing one’s genitals for the sexual gratification of either themselves or someone else. A public indecency charge only requires the knowing exposure of one’s genitals, whereas an indecent exposure charge requires both the lewd exposure of one’s genitals and the intent to arouse someone with their action.
For example, if someone exposes their genitals to urinate in public, they may not be doing so for sexual gratification. If someone exposes their genitals and masturbates in public, they are most likely exposing themselves with the intent to arouse themselves or someone else.
Since indecent exposure charges require intent to arouse, it can be harder for prosecutors to prove guilt, since they have to prove that the person both knowingly exposed his or her genitals and that they did so to arouse someone.
Indecent exposure charges also have higher penalties than public indecency charges: indecent exposure is a class 1 misdemeanor in most cases, but can become a class 6 felony under certain circumstances. Meanwhile, as previously mentioned, public indecency is a petty offense.
Colorado Public Indecency Laws
Every state has varying definitions of what constitutes public indecency. Colorado law outlines public indecency in C.R.S. § 18-7-301.
Colorado Revised Statutes 18-7-301
Under Colorado criminal law, someone can be charged with public indecency if they perform certain lewd or offensive acts while in a public place or a place that can reasonably be seen by members of the public. If people in public may reasonably be expected to see this act, then it is considered to be done in public.
There are four specific acts that fall under public indecency, which include:
- An act of sexual intercourse;
- A lewd exposure of an intimate part (not genitals) with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of any person;
- A lewd fondling or caress of another person’s body; or
- A knowing exposure of the person’s genitals to the view of another person which is likely to cause affront or alarm to that person.
If any person performs such conduct in a public place or a place where members of the public can see, they can be charged with public indecency.
Can You Go To Jail for Public Indecency?
Yes, while public indecency is a petty crime, it can still result in a short jail sentence. The best way to avoid jail time for public indecency is by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can handle your criminal case and ensure you receive the best possible outcome, which can even include having your case dismissed.
Do You Have To Go Through Sex Offender Registration?
No, you do not have to register as a sex offender for public indecency in Colorado. Before March 1st, 2022, sex offender registration was required when someone had either been convicted of public indecency for the second time in two years, or when they had two previous convictions of public indecency for exposing their genitals on their criminal record.
Since then, the law has changed; you will not have to register as a sex offender if you are convicted of public indecency. If you have been placed on the sex offender registry for multiple public indecency charges, contact an attorney who specializes in criminal expungement. They can help remove you from the registry.
While this specific sex crime does not require you to register as a sex offender, committing a comparable offense or violating a comparable municipal ordinance could. Many similar crimes, like indecent exposure, could land you on the sex offender registry and require you to complete sex offender treatment. If you’re wrongfully accused of indecent exposure, a Denver indecent exposure lawyer can help you defend your freedom and protect your record.
Legal Penalties for Public Indecency in Colorado
If someone is found guilty of public indecency, they can be sentenced to up to 10 days in jail, up to $300 in fines, or both.
Other Potential Consequences for a Public Indecency Charge
While public indecency is a sex crime, it’s a petty offense, so the legal penalties for public indecency are fairly mild. However, there are additional consequences for sex crimes that extend outside the reach of the law. If you are convicted of a sex offense, your criminal record will reflect it, which can cause you to miss out on job opportunities or could cause others to distrust you.
If you are facing a Colorado public indecency charge, a skilled criminal lawyer can help ensure your public record goes unmarred. We at WeedenLaw are ready to help defend you against your charges–call us at (720) 307-4330 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Colorado attorney on our team today.
Defenses To Public Indecency
There are many different ways to defend against criminal charges like public indecency. This includes a lack of intent, a violation of your rights, or the fact that the offense did not occur in a public setting. A Denver public indecency lawyer will know the best defense strategy to use.
You Had No Intent
If you are charged with public indecency for exposing an intimate part in public, you may be able to claim that the action was done without sexual intent. If the prosecution does not have the evidence to prove you had the intent, you may be able to avoid a conviction.
Your Rights Were Violated
Another way you can avoid a public indecency conviction is if your rights were violated at some point during the criminal justice process. For example, if law enforcement officers failed to read you your Miranda Rights, this can be used as a defense.
Such Conduct Was Not Public
You and your lawyer may also be able to defend against public indecency charges by claiming the place where the act was committed was not a public place and that you had a reasonable expectation of privacy. For example, you can’t be arrested for lewd exposure if you change your shirt in a closed and locked bathroom stall. While you may have been on public property, you had a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Do You Need a Lawyer for Public Indecency Charges?
Yes, if you are accused of public indecency, you should hire an attorney. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to examine the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime and develop strategies to use against the prosecution’s case. They could also help you secure a favorable plea bargain or could even help have your case dismissed.
If you are facing criminal charges related to intentional exposure in public, Denver public indecency lawyer Jeff Weeden is here to help. He will fight for your rights and can help ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your public indecency case.
How Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeff Weeden Can Help Fight Your Charges
Sex crime charges like public indecency can put people in difficult circumstances and could put someone’s freedom–and their reputation–at risk. Not only that, but pending criminal charges can be incredibly stressful to handle. If you have been accused of public indecency, the legal professionals at WeedenLaw are here to help.
With our long history of successful case results, it’s no wonder that so many people turn to WeedenLaw for their criminal defense needs. We provide legal counsel to residents of Jefferson County, Douglas County, Adams County, Arapahoe County, and more.