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Public Indecency – 18-7-301

Learn about Public Indecency charges in the Denver area.

Public Indecency is commonly charged throughout Denver, Adams, and Jefferson County. Common examples of when this crime is committed is when couples become intimate in a public place, or when someone exposes their genitals to another person in a way that is likely to cause alarm. This crime is similar to Indecent Exposure – C.R.S. 18-7-302, which is a sex offense. Fortunately, Public Indecency is not a sex offense.

What is Public Indecency in Colorado?

Public Indecency – C.R.S. 18-7-301, is charged whenever a person does any of the following things in a public place, or in an area where they are reasonably likely to be seen by the public: Performing an act of sexual intercourse in public view; a lewd exposure of an intimate part of the body with the intent to satisfy or arouse the sexual desire of any person; lewdly fondling or caressing another person’s body; knowing exposure of the genitals to another person with the intent to cause affront or alarm.

Sexual Intercourse
in a Public Place

Exposure
with Sexual Intent

Lewd
Fondling

Genital Exposure
Causing Alarm

It is important to note that there is no definition of “lewd.” Thus, the definition is up to the discretion of the District Attorney and court. This is never a good thing. When definitions are broad, innocent people are charged and could be wrongfully convicted.

The definition of “lewd”

behavior is up to the District Attorney.

Common Examples of Public Indecency

Public Indecency is charged in many different situations. Public displays of affection between couples, pranks such as mooning passing cars or streaking across football fields, are also considered to be Public Indecency. Urinating in public is also a common reason people are charged with this crime.

Public Displays
of Affection

Mooning
Passing Cars

Streaking During
Football Games

Urinating in
a Public Place

What is the Sentence for Public Indecency?

Class 1 Petty Offense

In most cases, Public Indecency is a class 1 petty offense in Littleton, Denver, and Highlands Ranch.

Class 1 Misdemeanor Sex Offense

In some cases, Public Indecency is a misdemeanor sex offense resulting in sex offender registration.

Public Indecency is usually charged as a class 1 petty offense in Arapahoe, El Paso, and Douglas County. But, it is charged as a class 1 misdemeanor and a sex offense if a person is convicted a second time of exposing their genitals. It is important to understand that Public Indecency isn’t a sex offense, unless a person receives a second conviction of Public Indecency for exposing their genitals with the intent to cause alarm.

Why You Need a Lawyer for Public Indecency Charges

People often think that a Public Indecency charge isn’t a big deal – it’s only a petty offense, after all. This crime is dangerous, however. If a person receives two convictions of this offense for exposing their genitals (such as urinating in public), they will be charged with the more serious misdemeanor offense, which is a sex crime. Then, they will be required to register as a sex offender and go through sex offender treatment overseen by the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board. Both sex offender registration and treatment are harsh and restrictive. So, we advise our clients to vigorously fight the charges against them – even if it is their first offense. Life is messy and full of unexpected events – don’t let a second conviction mean you will be a registered sex offender. As aggressive criminal defense attorneys, we fight hard to protect the rights of our clients and get them the best possible outcome in their case.

Get Help Now

If you or a loved one has been charged with Public Indecency, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the O’Malley Law Office for a free consultation at 303-830-0880. Together, we can protect your future.
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Colorado Public Indecency Statute: C.R.S. 18-7-301

“Any person who performs any of the following in a public place or where the conduct may reasonably be expected to be viewed by members of the public commits public indecency:

(a) An act of sexual intercourse; or
(b) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2012, (HB 10-1334), ch. 359, p. 1707, &1, effective August 11, 2010.)
(c) A lewd exposure of an intimate part as defined by section 18-3-401 (2) of the body, not including the genitals, done with intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person; or
(d) A lewd fondling or caress of the body of another person; or
(e) 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.”