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Photo of Attorneys at Sawyer Legal Group, LLC

Charged With A Crime? It Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty.

Public Indecency in Colorado: C.R.S. 18-7-301

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2013 | Public Indecency |

Could you be charged with Public Indecency (C.R.S. 18-7-301) in Colorado? You might be surprised how easily it can happen to you. In addition to the Colorado statute prohibiting Public Indecency, many municipalities like Westminster, Lakewood, and Castle Rock have ordinances prohibiting this petty offense.

I just read a story out of Parker, in Douglas County, Colorado. Police are looking for a man people say is acting suspicious around apartment complexes. There have been multiple reports concerning this person who has been knocking on windows and touching people. Wherever you live, you should be just as concerned about being accused of Public Indecency as you should be of this “suspicious” guy. Why? Because frightened people in Jefferson, Arapahoe or Weld County can be dangerous when they become hyper-vigilant.

Have you ever forgotten to close a window shade before walking out of a shower and stepping into your bedroom?” Have you ever been in a situation when you had to urinate so badly your choice was to wet your pants or try to relieve yourself where you might be seen? Have you ever been “overly affectionate” with your wife in public? If someone sees you and is offended by your behavior in any of these circumstances, you could be charged with Public Indecency. This can be a very embarrassing charge for the accused.

To make matters worse, in Denver, Adams and Larimer County, Public Indecency is considered a “strict liability” crime. In other words, if you are charged, the prosecutor does not need to prove you didn’t know the shade was up. All they have to do is convince a jury you should have known you were exposed to a public place. This is called the “objective standard” and it is left to a jury to determine what a reasonable person in the defendant’s position should have known. Jury’s will often convict someone when it is left to them to set the standard of behavior. Other examples of strict liability offenses are DUI (C.R.S. 42-4-1301), and Speeding (C.R.S. 42-4-1101). If you are speeding, nobody must prove you intended to speed.

If you are charged with Public Indecency it is very important you do not fight it alone. You need someone on your side who knows how to maneuver through the legal system with you. Many times we see people who have tried to explain their side of the story to police or a prosecutor and they just make matters worse. If you are charged with any crime, I urge you to be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect your future.