Santa Maria Criminal Defense Attorney-

Indecent Exposure – Sanford Horowitz Criminal Defense, P.C.

Wine Field in Santa Maria
Indecent exposure in California is prosecuted as a sex crime. As a result, a conviction for this crime can have major consequences. The state defines indecent exposure as the act of willfully exposing your genitals in the presence of a person who might be offended, and intentionally directing their attention to your genitals for the purposes of offending them or sexually gratifying yourself or someone else.

If you do not fight these criminal charges you will risk jail time, expensive fines, and the requirement to register with the state as a sex offender. The best way to avoid these consequences is by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle your case.

A former Prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Offices in Santa Barbara and San Diego Counties, Sanford Horowitz and his legal team will offer you a free consultation, investigate the evidence against you, and recommend practical steps to achieve the best possible results in your case.

elements of the crime

In Santa Maria, it can be a crime to intentionally expose your genitals to another person in public. The crime, which is defined in California Penal Code Section 314 PC, can be charged when:

  1. You intentionally expose your private parts in public or to another person;
  2. That person would be offended or annoyed by this exposure; and
  3. Your intended result was sexual gratification or offense.

Your intent behind the exposure is an important aspect of your conviction. If you intentionally revealed yourself to someone for the purpose of sexual gratification or to offend them, you have committed indecent exposure. Although, if you did not intend to do this than you cannot be convicted for the crime of indecent exposure.

The law does not require actual observation of the defendant’s private parts. Rather, the law considers whether a reasonable person should have known the act of exposure would be open to observation by others.

If you enter someone’s home without permission, and expose yourself, you can be charged with aggravated indecent exposure. This crime will be charged as a felony, which carries significantly worse penalties.

Indecent Exposure Penalties

Indecent exposure can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony offense in Los Angeles. The specific charge you will face will depend on the facts and circumstances of your specific case.


Indecent exposure is generally charged as a misdemeanor offense in California. The maximum allowable criminal penalty for a misdemeanor indecent exposure conviction Contains any of the following:

  • Six months in a San Diego County jail,
  • $1,000 in criminal fines, and
  • Registration as a sex offender in the state of California.


There are specific situations when actions of indecent exposure can be charged as a felony. You will face felony charges for aggravated indecent exposure if you have prior convictions for indecent exposures and/or break into someone’s house to reveal yourself. A conviction for felony indecent exposure is punishable by any of the following:

  • Up to 3 years in a California state prison,
  • $10,000 in criminal fines, and
  • Registration as a sex offender in the state of California.


Indecent exposure is generally charged as a misdemeanor offense in California. The maximum allowable criminal penalty for a misdemeanor indecent exposure conviction Contains any of the following:

  • Six months in a San Diego County jail,
  • $1,000 in criminal fines, and
  • Registration as a sex offender in the state of California.


In Santa Maria you can get charged with indecent exposure simply because you were changing clothes in a public place, having sex in the car or relieving yourself while outside. In most of these cases, the perpetrator did not intend for anyone else to see them. The exposure was not intentional, or for any other purpose that would offend.

The state will be required to prove each element of the crime and establish that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It can be difficult to prove indecent exposure charges when you have an attorney defending you.

If you were not trying to exhibit yourself or gain sexual pleasure or cause offense, then it is important that you gain the help of an attorney because you may have a strong defense. Possible defenses to indecent exposure charges include:

  • You did not intend to expose yourself to others;
  • You did not intend to offend another person;
  • You did not intend to sexually gratify yourself or another person;
  • You have been falsely accused; and
  • You have been falsely identified.

It is not uncommon to be mistakenly identified for indecent exposure, perhaps the alleged offense took place in a dark location. Perhaps the perpetrator’s face was partially hidden. Perhaps the victim’s view of the perpetrator resembled you from the back. Perhaps you share the same name as the suspected “flasher”.

If there is insufficient evidence for a prosecutor to show that you in fact committed the crime of indecent exposure, you cannot be convicted of the crime.

where no one was around to be offended by the act, or your intent was not to gratify yourself or offend anyone.

If you are facing a charge of felony indecent exposure, Santa Barbara County defense attorney Sanford Horowitz Criminal Defense, P.C. knows the law and the best strategies for your defense. We have extensive experience representing clients throughout the Santa Maria area and want to help you understand the charges you are facing as well as what your rights are under the law. If you’d like to schedule a consultation about your case, call 805-452-7214 or fill out this contact form


Person being arrested with police car in the background.


To be eligible for consideration of having records expunged, a person will need to meet several criteria.  Those criteria may include:

  • The types of crimes and infractions eligible for expungement must be within the approved guidelines of a particular state’s laws.
  • Criminal proceedings were either dismissed, the defendant was found not guilty or they were acquitted after a trial.  A few states do allow for the expungement of records if a person has been convicted.
  • The person was actually released before formal criminal charges were filed.
  • The person has met all waiting periods.
  • There are no new pending charges or offenses against the person seeking expungement.
  • Any fines or restitution required to be paid as part of a case have been paid in full.
  • Any diversion programs, education programs, community service requirements and probation have been completed.


In California a woman is legally allowed to breastfeed in any public or private location where she is legally allowed to be.  This includes restaurants, airplanes, grocery stores, or any other public place where you and your child are allowed.


A person is guilty of indecent exposure in the second degree when he intentionally exposes his genitals under circumstances in which he knows or should know that his conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to a person eighteen (18) years of age or older. Indecent exposure in the second degree is a Class B misdemeanor.


Don’t wait to contact Sanford Horowitz to ensure that your legal rights are protected.