Colorado Sex Crime Attorney Blog

Indecent Exposure and Public Indecency: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Kyle B. Sawyer | Sep 23, 2013 | 0 Comments

The differences between Indecent Exposure – C.R.S. 18-7-302 and Public Indecency – C.R.S. 18-7-301 are difficult to discern – but the consequences of a conviction are vastly different in Denver, Adams and Douglas County.

What is Indecent Exposure in Denver?

You will be charged with Indecent Exposure if you:

  • “Knowingly expose…[your] genitals to the view of any person under circumstances in which such conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to the other person, with the intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person.”

Indecent exposure is a class 1 misdemeanor, but it can be charged as a class 6 felony sex offense if you have received two convictions of indecent exposure. In this case, you will be convicted of a class 6 felony, and will be required to register as a sex offender and complete sex offender treatment overseen by the Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) in Jefferson, Broomfield and Arapahoe County. A first time indecent exposure conviction will also require registration and SOMB treatment.

What is Public Indecency in Denver?

You will be charged with Public Indecency if you perform any of the following acts in a public place, or where they could be viewed by the public:

  • Sexual intercourse.
  • Lewd exposure of an intimate part (not including the genitals) done “with intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person.
  • Lewd fondling of another person.
  • Knowingly expose your genitals to the view of a person “under circumstances in which such conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to the other person.”

Public indecency is most often charged as a class 1 petty offense.

What is the Difference Between Indecent Exposure and Public Indecency?

The difference between indecent exposure and public indecency lies in whether or not genitals were displayed. In order to be charged with indecent exposure, it must be proved that you exposed your genitals with the intent to arouse. Public indecency is charged when an intimate part of the body (not the genitals) is exposed with the intent to arouse. Both the exposure of genitals and the intent to arouse are needed for a conviction of indecent exposure in Denver, Littleton, or Highlands Ranch. Many people are wrongly convicted of this crime, because police are over-eager and looking to catch sex offenders (which always looks good on their resume). The problem with convicting people of this harsher offense is that offenders are required to register as sex offenders, and undergo the deplorable sex offender treatment. Sex Offender Management Board treatment is one-size-fits-all. A person convicted of indecent exposure will receive the same treatment as a serial rapist. Many people who are convicted of indecent exposure choose to spend time in jail or the Colorado Department of Corrections instead of doing sex offender treatment.

Request a Free Consultation

There is a fine line between indecent exposure and public indecency, but the consequences are much different. If you or a loved one has been charged with either of these crimes, it is vital that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at O'Malley and Sawyer, LLC at 303-830-0880, or submit the “Get Help Now” form. Together, we can protect your future.

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About the Author

Kyle B. Sawyer

I have a passion for defending others in criminal cases. I am able to empathize with my clients and understand their emotions and fears. I have a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and I understand what it feels like to be wrongly accused of a crime.


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