Public Indecency Does not Always Require Intent
Public Indecency, defined at C.R.S. 18-7-301, is a strict liability crime, which simply means what you don’t know can hurt you. Most criminal acts require that the actor knows he is doing the prohibited act. There are some crimes in Jefferson and Arapahoe County which contain elements that do not require a person’s knowledge that they are actually committing the offense. A good example of such a crime is Sexual Assault on a Child, C.R.S. 18-3-405. Even if a defendant does not know the teenage girl or boy wasn’t old enough for sexual contact, and even if the victim lies about his or her age, if they are not old enough to consent to a sexual relationship, a person can be found guilty of Sexual Assault on a Child.
Like Sexual Assault on a Child, Public Indecency has portions or elements which do not require a person’s knowledge to be convicted. Other parts do. Lawmakers in Colorado have concluded that under certain circumstances, people should know their behavior might produce an illegal result. This can lead to quite a surprise for men and women from Aurora to the east and Golden to the west.
What is the Definition of Public Indecency in Colorado?
A person commits Public Indecency in Weld or Douglas County when he or she, has sexual intercourse, exposes intimate parts of the body, fondles another person, or exposes them self in a public place or a place where they may reasonably be expected to be viewed by the public. A passionate moment in a wooded area, skinny dipping in a remote hot spring, or conduct under the influence of alcohol call all support a Public Indecency charge. Fortunately, with a first offense, this crime is not classified as Unlawful Sexual Behavior. There will not be a requirement of sex offender registration or sex offender treatment.
Other Examples of Public Indecency
If you live in the Denver metropolitan area, in a home where it is possible for the public to see inside, this law may apply if you do not pull the shades down before walking out of your shower. The law does not discern between whether you knew someone was looking in or not. It simply says that a reasonable person should have known he or she was visible and that it could have caused an onlooker to be shocked. If someone sees you and is offended by your behavior it may result in Public Indecency charges, and a lot of embarrassment. The best course is always to go the extra mile to ensure privacy and expect that others may be offended if you don’t. If someone is offended by your nudity, it is not their problem, but will be your problem. Read about another example of Public Indecency in Denver.
If you are charged with the petty offense of Public Indecency, you should know that there are ways to fight back. We believe you need someone on your side that knows how to navigate through the legal maze. After twenty-five years of criminal defense practice, we know how to interact with judges and prosecutors. We know the system, the law, and the practical way to get you the best chance at trial or plea bargain.