Last summer, I was taking a stroll down the 16th street mall after an event in Denver. To my surprise, I came across a group of topless women holding signs for women’s rights. As a criminal defense attorney in El Paso, Adams, and Douglas County, I have represented many people who have been charged with crimes related to nudity. One criminal offense charged often throughout Colorado is Public Indecency – C.R.S. 187-301. I don’t know whether the topless women on 16th street were aware, but they were walking a fine line. They could have been charged easily. Let’s look closer at the crime of Public Indecency to see how a person can face acusations.
What is Public Indecency?
There are a few instances where a person could be accused of Public Indecency in Arapahoe, Douglas, and Jefferson County. In order to be charged in any circumstance, the act must take place in a public place where it can be reasonably expected the public will see. A person will face accusations of Public Indecency if they do any of the following in a public place:
- Engage in sexual intercourse
- Lewdly expose an intimate part of the body (not including the genitals) with the intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person
- Lewdly fondle or caress another person
- Knowingly expose their genitals to another person, in a way which would cause affront or alarm
Public Indecency: Vague Definitions Make it Easily Charged
The women on 16th street mall most likely weren’t arrested because, while they were exposing an intimate part of the body (the breast), they weren’t doing so with the intent to arouse or satisfy anyone’s sexual desire. They were doing it to make a point. Regardless of their intent, they are walking a fine line. Vague definitions in this statute make it easy to charge. For example, what exactly does “lewd” mean? This term is often up to the translation of the courts. Public Indecency is often charged after people urinate in public. This is ridiculous, because the purpose of peeing in an alley isn’t the exposing of genitals to cause affront or alarm. Vague definitions often lead to innocent people going to jail and dealing with criminal charges.
Why You Need a Lawyer for Public Indecency Charges
If you have been contacted by the police regarding Public Indecency, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately, because, in most cases, a second conviction of Public Indecency is a sex offense. This means the person convicted will be a registered sex offender, and will be required to go through sex offender treatment overseen by the Sex Offender Management Board. Being a registered sex offender is not beneficial to your life. You need to fight the charges against you – even if it is a first-time offense.
If you or a loved one has been accused of Public Indecency, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the O’Malley Law Office at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.
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