Public Indecency: A Closer Look at the Law
If a person does any of the following in a public place where it can be reasonably expected that the public will see, they will face charges of Public Indecency:
- Lewdly expose an intimate part of the body (this does not include a person's genitals), with the intent to satisfy or arouse any person's sexual desire
- Engage in an act of sexual intercourse
- Expose their genitals to another person knowingly, in a way which is likely to cause alarm
- Lewdly fondle or caress another person
Is Going Topless a Crime? Is it Public Indecency?
There were police all over 16th Street Mall while the topless women walked with their banners. They were being watched closely, but they weren't arrested. Why is this? The women most likely weren't arrested because, even though an “intimate part” of the body was being exposed, their intent wasn't to arouse or satisfy anyone's sexual desire. Thus, they didn't meet the definition of Public Indecency. This is an extremely fine line, because the definitions in the Public Indecency statute are vague. People are often charged in Douglas, Arapahoe, and El Paso County, even though they don't meet the requirements. Let me explain what I mean.[pullquote align=”center” textalign=”center” width=”50%”]Police were everywhere, but the topless women weren't arrested.[/pullquote]
Vague Definitions in Public Indecency Statute:
The definitions in the Public Indecency statute are vague. What exactly does “lewd” mean? When terms are vague, the definitions are up to police, individual courts and judges. Innocent people pay the price. I have represented many clients in the Denver metro area who are facing Public Indecency charges for peeing in public. This makes absolutely no sense. The purpose of someone urinating in an alley isn't to cause “affront or alarm,” yet they are charged with a crime.
Charged with Public Indecency? Here's Why You Need a Lawyer
If you have been charged with Public Indecency, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. One reason you need to take these accusations seriously is because in most cases, a second conviction of Public Indecency is a sex offense. This means you will get the sex offender label and be required to register as a sex offender, and go through sex offender treatment overseen by the harsh Colorado Sex Offender Management Board. Don't brush off a Public Indecency charge. The sex offender label is extremely difficult to live with. Fight the charges against you by working with an attorney who has experience representing good people who have been charged with sex offenses.Request a Free Consultation