Indecency in Colorado
In Colorado, we have two indecency charges – Public Indecency and Indecent Exposure.
These offenses are closely related and exist in the same part of the same section of our criminal code. With that said, the behavior prohibited under each of these statutes is different and, if convicted, the potential sentences you might face are also significantly different.
According to the statute, or law, an individual can be charged with Public Indecency if that person “performs any of the following [acts] in a public place or where the conduct may reasonably be expected to be viewed by members of the public.” The following acts include:
- An act of sexual intercourse;
- A lewd exposure of an intimate part of the body, not including the genitals, done with the intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person;
- A lewd fondling or caress of the body of another person;
- 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.
Depending on which of the following behaviors, or types of conduct, may be applicable in your case, a conviction for this offense can be a class 1 petty offense or a class 1 misdemeanor.
Critically important to this charge is the fact that the Colorado Legislature, in voting to pass this law, determined that this is a strict liability crime. This means that the prosecutor doesn’t have to prove that you, as a potential defendant, had a specific mind frame. Rather, all that must be shown is that the prohibited behavior occurred. This highlights why it is essential to have an experienced Denver attorney on your side.
Indecent exposure can be thought of as the ‘big brother’ to Public Indecency. Generally, speaking it is a more serious offense.
In order to be charged with this offense, the prosecutor must believe that the person, or suspect, committed one of the following acts:
- He or she knowingly exposed 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;
- He or she knowingly performed 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.
Generally speaking, indecent exposure if a class 1 misdemeanor, but it can be prosecuted as a class 6 felony if the violation is committed subsequent to two prior convictions for this section or a comparable offense in Colorado or in any other state.
Most people have heard of Public Indecency or Indecent Exposure and may know someone who has been charged with or convicted of one of these crimes. Even though they are rather common offenses, these offenses can have profoundly negative effects on someone’s employment or housing prospects. In addition, having one of these offenses on your record can be embarrassing or even limit your career prospects. Further, they may cause you to face issues on other applications that you might not otherwise have had.
Having a strong defense attorney on your side is essential as you take on the government. Contact the knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Jacob E. Martinez to set up a free consultation today.