A Lakewood man was arrested by the Lakewood Police after a woman accused him of dropping his pants and exposing himself to her. The woman claims that she was driving out of the parking lot of a Lakewood Safeway when she saw the man with his pants and underwear around his ankles, holding his shirt under his chin and exposing himself to her as she passed. Although it is unclear at this time what this man has been charged with, it is likely is facing charges for either Public Indecency (C.R.S. 18-7-301) or Indecent Exposure (C.R.S. 18-7-302).
In Colorado jurisdictions including Denver, Broomfield and Adams County, Public Indecency and Indecent Exposure are similar crimes, but they have very different consequences. Public Indecency is a petty offense and carries up to 6 months in jail and up to a five hundred dollar fine. It is not considered a sex offense for the purposes of the Colorado Sex Offender Registry. On the other hand, Indecent Exposure is a class 1 misdemeanor and therefore is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5000 fine, and most importantly, it is a sex offense that would require someone convicted to register as a sex offender.
At the heart, the two crimes can be almost identical. For example, C.R.S. 18-7-301(e) makes it “Public Indecency” to knowingly expose a person’s genitals to the view of a person under circumstances in which the conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to the other person. Likewise, C.R.S. 18-7-302(a) makes the same conduct “Indecent Exposure” if it is done with the intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person. What constitutes this element of “sexual gratification” in Arapahoe, Douglas, or Jefferson County Courts is a question of fact, and is a serious issue to be litigated by an experienced attorney. Avoiding sex offender status is really important.
Many times, the Aurora, Westminster, or Thornton police will overcharge crimes as Indecent Exposure when they should have been charged as Public Indecency. At the O’Malley Law Office, our attorneys can make prosecutors see that merely exposing yourself does not constitute a sex offense. The Larimer and Weld district attorneys will treat you like a sex offender until we can show them that you are not. So, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.