Contact Us
    CONTACT US

    Please use the contact form to send us an email - and receive a response within 12 hours.

    Emergency? Call 720-220-2277 (24/7)







    Please leave this field empty.

Map To Our Office
Read Out Blog
Case Evaluation
Charged With A Crime?

Defending Against A Colorado Indecent Exposure Charge 18-7-302 CRS

By H. Michael Steinberg – Colorado Sex Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer – Attorney

Defending Against A Colorado Indecent Exposure Charge 18-7-302 CRS

Defending Against A Colorado Indecent Exposure Charge 18-7-302 CRS

Defending Against A Colorado Indecent Exposure Charge 18-7-302 CRS – Indecent exposure is one of those Colorado charges that may not seem very serious at first – but trust me – it is. A conviction for what may seem like a childish prank, can have serious, lifetime consequences.

As with all Colorado criminal charges – you must always start with – and fully understand – the law. By reading the law – over and over – to understand the charge against you, the fear that is the result of lack of understanding – changes to fighting the charge.

What follows is the Colorado statute that creates the crime of Indecent Exposure – 18-7-302.

§ 18-7-302. Indecent Exposure

(1) A person commits indecent exposure:

(a) If he or she knowingly exposes his or her 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;

(b) If he or she knowingly performs an act of masturbation in a manner which exposes the act to the view of any person under circumstances in which such conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to the other person.

(2) (b) Indecent exposure is a class 1 misdemeanor.

(4) Indecent exposure is a class 6 felony if the violation is committed subsequent to two prior convictions of a violation of this section or of a violation of a comparable offense in any other state or in the United States, or of a violation of a comparable municipal ordinance.

(5) For purposes of this section, “masturbation” means the real or simulated touching, rubbing, or otherwise stimulating of a person’s own genitals or pubic area for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of the person, regardless of whether the genitals or pubic area is exposed or covered.

The elements of  the crime of indecent exposure are not satisfied simply by proof a Defendant was naked. A person must do something that would make his or her genitals visible to another person.

The Colorado Indecent Exposure law 18-7-302  is often confused with the Colorado Public Indecency law – 18-7-301. What follows is the Colorado Public Indecency law which is included throughout this article, not only for comparison purposes, but as possibly the only alternative to a conviction for Indecent Exposure. The laws are very similar.

While a conviction for either of these crimes is serious – a permanent conviction for Indecent Exposure is much, much more serious.

§ 18-7-301. P,ublic Indecency

(1) Any person who performs any of the following in a public place or where the conduct may reasonably be expected to be viewed by members of the public commits public indecency:

(a) An act of sexual intercourse; or

(c) A lewd exposure of an intimate part as defined by section 18-3-401(2) of the body, not including the genitals, done with intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person; or

(d) A lewd fondling or caress of the body of another person; or

(e) A knowing exposure of the person’s genitals to the view of a person under circumstances in which such conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to the other person.

(2) (a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection (2), public indecency is a class 1 petty offense.

(b) Public indecency as described in paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of this section is a class 1 misdemeanor if the violation is committed subsequent to a conviction for a violation of paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of this section or for a violation of a comparable offense in any other state or in the United States, or for a violation of a comparable municipal ordinance.

What Are The Possible Sentences For The Crimes Of Public Indecency And Indecent Exposure?

  • Public Indecency: A Class 1 Petty Offense punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment and up to $500 in fines. A Class 1 Misdemeanor if committed with a prior knowing genital exposure-related conviction punishable by up 18 months imprisonment and up to $5,000 in fines.
  • Indecent Exposure: A Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by up 18 months imprisonment and up to $5,000 in fines. – If two prior convictions – a Class 6 Felony punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment with a mandatory one year parole and up to $100,000 in fines.

To Understand Colorado Crimes It Helps To Break Those Charges Down Into Their Component Elements

The single best way to analyze Colorado crimes is to break those crimes into their elements. The Colorado Criminal Jury Instructions do this nicely.

For the crime of indecent exposure there are two versions two methods of committing the crime:

The TWO Ways To Commit The Crime Of Indecent Exposure In Colorado

Indecent Exposure Elementals

Indecent Exposure (Knowing Exposure)

The elements of the crime of indecent exposure (knowing exposure) are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. knowingly,

4. exposed his [her] genitals to the view of any person,

5. under circumstances in which such conduct was likely to cause affront or alarm to the other person, ***

6. with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of any person.

[*** It is important to note that while the prosecution must prove that the accused did something that made his or her genitals visible to another person, they do NOT have to prove that the victim was actually “subjectively affronted or alarmed by that exposure.]

Indecent Exposure (Masturbation)

The elements of the crime of indecent exposure (masturbation) are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. knowingly,

4. performed an act of masturbation in a manner which exposed the act to the view of any person,

5. under circumstances in which such conduct was likely to cause affront or alarm to the other person.

There Are FOUR Ways To Commit The Crime Of Public Indecency In Colorado

Public Indecency Elementals

Public Indecency (Lewd Exposure)

The elements of the crime of public indecency (lewd exposure) are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. in a public place or where the conduct may reasonably have been expected to be viewed by members of the public,

4. performed a lewd exposure of an intimate part of the body, other than the genitals,

5. with intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person.

Public Indecency (Sexual Intercourse)

The elements of the crime of public indecency (sexual intercourse) are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. performed an act of sexual intercourse,

4. in a public place or where the conduct may reasonably have been expected to be viewed by members of the public.

Public Indecency (Lewd Fondling or Caress)

The elements of the crime of public indecency (lewd fondling or caress) are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. in a public place or where the conduct may reasonably have been expected to be viewed by members of the public,

4. performed a lewd fondling or caress of the body of another person.

Public Indecency (Knowing Exposure)

The elements of the crime of public indecency (knowing exposure) are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. in a public place or where the conduct might reasonably have been expected to be viewed by members of the public,

4. knowingly,

5. exposed his [her] genitals to the view of a person,

6. under circumstances in which such conduct was likely to cause affront or alarm to the other person.

The Need To Understand The Key Differences Between Indecent Exposure And Public Indecency In Colorado – Sex Offender Registration

Colorado Sex Offender Registration And Indecent Exposure – CRS 16-22-103

A Conviction For Indecent Exposure in Colorado Will Result In A Colorado Sexual Offender Label

Under Colorado law Indecent Exposure is a sex crime. CRS Section 18-3-411(1), states that an unlawful sexual offense includes indecent exposure, as described in the Colorado Indecent Exposure statute – CRS Section 18-7-302. What that means is this: a conviction for Indecent Exposure requires registration as a sex offender, (but see escape hatch provision below)

A failure to register as a sex offender, is not only a violation of probation, it is an entirely new crime – a class 1 misdemeanor

That is not true under Colorado’s Public Indecency laws.

A Way Out Of Sex Offender Registration For A Conviction For Indecent Exposure

There is a kind of legal “escape hatch” provision in the Colorado Sex Offender Registration Act that may provide relief from the requirement of sex offender registration,  if you qualify.

Here is the relevant section of the law:

Sex Offender Registration – Required – Applicability – Exception, C.R.S. 16-22-103

….

(5) (a) Notwithstanding any provision of this article to the contrary, if, pursuant to a motion filed by a person described in this subsection (5) or on its own motion, a court determines that the registration requirement specified in this section would be unfairly punitive and that exempting the person from the registration requirement would not pose a significant risk to the community, the court, upon consideration of the totality of the circumstances, may exempt the person from the registration requirements imposed pursuant to this section if:

(I) The person was younger than eighteen years of age at the time of the commission of the offense; and

(II) The person has not been previously charged with unlawful sexual behavior; and

(III) The offense, as charged in the first petition filed with the court, is a first offense of either misdemeanor unlawful sexual contact, as described in section 18-3-404, C.R.S., or indecent exposure, as described in section 18-7-302, C.R.S.; and

(IV) The person has received a sex offender evaluation that conforms with the standards developed pursuant to section 16-11.7-103(4) (i), from an evaluator who meets the standards established by the sex offender management board, and the evaluator recommends exempting the person from the registration requirements based upon the best interests of that person and the community; and

(V) The court makes written findings of fact specifying the grounds for granting such exemption.

Establishing A Defense To A Colorado Indecent Exposure Charge – 18-7-302

Law enforcement often charge the crime of indecent exposure because they do not understand the differences between indecent exposure and public indecency. To be convicted of indecent exposure a jury must believe beyond a reasonable that the person exposing themselves was doing so purposefully and with intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person.

Compare the Colorado Public Indecency elements:

“exposing his [her] genitals to the view of a person – under circumstances in which such conduct was likely to cause affront or alarm to the other person.”

Put another way each and every element of the crime of Indecent Exposure must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The most difficult element to prove – the one element that escalates the crime to a “sex offense” -requiring sex offender treatment and registration as a Colorado sex offender –  is proof that the accused committed the exposure “intentionally” with the intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person.

While there is some confusion as regards Indecent Exposure in Colorado, defending against these cases remains consistent. What follows are some of the ways to defend against the charge of Indecent Exposure:

  • – The primary defense against a Colorado charge of Indecent Exposure is to attack the District Attorney’s case on the issue of whether the prosecutor has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a sexual intent behind the conduct of the Defendant – the behaviors observed by the witness(es) in the case.
  • – Along those same lines – the second line of attack would be on the accuracy – or lack of accuracy (unreliability) of the eye-witness testimony. Classic attacks on all forms of eyewitness testimony include – the time of day or night of the observations, the distance to the scene of the alleged conduct, eyesight, distractions, levels of intoxication, distractions, time of observations and similar lines of inquiry.
  • – Attacking the location of the crime as evidence of lack of intent of behind the act of exposing one’s genitals. Therefore establishing that the exposure was accidental (such as on a beach, deep in the forest, or in one’s own back yard, etc.) helps to establish the act itself was not intentional.
  • The absence of any “victims” of the exposure – that is, establishing the fact that never alleged victims, they were never intended to “see” anything. An example might be in a crowded hotel, at the beach or in a college dorm.

2010 – Massive Changes To Colorado’s Indecent Exposure And Public Indecency Laws

Finally, it is important to review changes, made not so long ago by the Colorado State Legislature, to the Indecent Exposure and Public Indecency Laws. What follows is a summary:

In 2010 Colorado House Bill 10-1334 changed the criminal statutes concerning public indecency and indecent exposure in the following ways. The new (at that time) law:

• moved masturbation from the statutes governing public indecency to the statutes governing indecent exposure;

• moved the knowing exposure of a person’s genitals with the purpose of causing affront or alarm from the statutes governing indecent exposure to the statutes governing public indecency;

• made a subsequent offense of exposing a person’s genitals with the purpose of causing affront or alarm a class 1 misdemeanor and unlawful sexual behavior under the Colorado Sex Offender Registration Act; and

• made the exposure of a person’s genitals with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of any person part of the indecent exposure statute.

Defending Against A Colorado Indecent Exposure Charge 18-7-302 CRS

If you found any of the information I have provided on this web page article helpful please click my Plus+1 or the Share buttons for Twitter and Facebook below so that others may also find it.

The reader is admonished that Colorado criminal law, like criminal law in every state and at the Federal level, changes constantly. The article appearing above was accurate at the time it was drafted but it cannot account for changes occurring after it was uploaded.

If, after reading this article, you have questions about your case and would like to consider retaining our law firm, we invite you to contact us at the Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm – 303-627-7777.

Never stop fighting – never stop believing in yourself and your right to due process of law. You will not be alone in court, H. Michael will be at your side every step of the way – advocating for justice and the best possible result in your case. H. Michael Steinberg is passionate about criminal defense. His extensive knowledge and experience of Colorado Criminal Law gives him the edge you need to properly handle your case

H. Michael Steinberg Best Colorado Criminal Defense LawyerABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at:

hmsteinberg@hotmail.com

A Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – please call 720-220-2277.

“A good criminal defense lawyer is someone who devotes themselves to their client’s case from beginning to end, always realizing that this case is the most important thing in that client’s life.”

You should be careful to make a responsible choice in selecting a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer. We encourage you to “vet” our firm. Over the last 30 plus years – by focusing ONLY on Colorado criminal law – H. Michael has had the necessary time to commit to the task of constantly updating himself on nearly every area of criminal law, to include Colorado criminal law and procedure and trial and courtroom practice. H. Michael works hard to get his clients the best possible results in and out of the courtroom. He has written, and continues to write, extensively on Colorado criminal law and he hopes this article helps you in some small way – Defending Against A Colorado Indecent Exposure Charge 18-7-302 CRS.

Summary
Defending Against A Colorado Indecent Exposure Charge 18-7-302 CRS.
Article Name
Defending Against A Colorado Indecent Exposure Charge 18-7-302 CRS.
Description
Indecent exposure is one of those Colorado charges that may not seem very serious at first - but trust me - it is. A conviction for what may seem like a childish prank, can have serious, lifetime consequences.
Author

Other Articles of Interest:

If you found the information provided on this webpage to be helpful, please click my Plus+1 button so that others may also find it.

___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
DTC Quadrant Building
5445 DTC Parkway, Penthouse 4
Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111
Primary Web Site:  http://www.HMichaelSteinberg.com
Colorado Criminal Law Blog:  www.Colorado-Criminal-Lawyer-Online.com
Main:  303.627.7777
Cell:  720.220.2277
24/7 Pager:  303.543.4433
FAX (Toll Free):  1.877.533.6276
Always investigate a lawyer's qualifications and experience before making a
decision to retain that lawyer or, for that matter, any professional ...in any field.