Is Indecent Exposure A Felony?

Indecent exposure is a serious crime in Colorado.  Charges and penalties vary depending upon the specific circumstances of the case.  In most instances, a Colorado indecent exposure conviction will carry with it either a Class 1 Petty Offense or a Class 1 Misdemeanor.  While unusual, it is possible to find yourself facing a Class 6 Felony charge if you are found to be a repeat offender for indecent exposure.  Beware, even if you avoid felony charges, any conviction for indecent exposure will significantly impact your life, requiring you to register as a Colorado sex offender.

Understanding Indecent Exposure

Being charged with indecent exposure occurs in situations where you intentionally exposure your genitals to others in a public area.  Additionally, public masturbation is also considered to be a crime of indecent exposure.  You may face such charges even if the masturbation did not involve exposure to your genitals.  Basically, even if you masturbate without exposing yourself you could still face charges for indecent exposure.  You may be charged with indecent exposure if you pretend to masturbate in front of others and they are alarmed or offended by your actions.

The Importance of Intent

For your actions to be considered a viable crime of indecent exposure, the intent is paramount.  Simply exposing your genitals will not be enough to warrant a conviction for indecent exposure.  Instead, it must be proven that you exposed yourself with the overriding intent of alarming, arousing, offending, or satisfying the sexual needs of yourself or another.  Furthermore, the same applies to masturbation related crimes of indecent exposure.  In order for you to be convicted of this crime, your masturbation must have been conducted with the purpose of alarming or offending others in a public area.

Understanding the language of intent is crucial when addressing such cases.  Not all cases of public nudity are conducted with such intent.  It is possible for a clothing malfunction to result in exposing oneself in public without the intent of arousing or alarming others.  It is also possible for certain displays of nudity to be done without the intent of arousal or offense, such as going naked to an all-nude beach.  Such actions were not done with intent and thus are not considered to be indecent exposure.

Despite this, there are times when gray areas or misunderstandings arise.  Someone may be offended by your clothing malfunction and have you arrested for indecent exposure.  Furthermore, you may have engaged in some adolescent shenanigans that included mooning or streaking and find yourself in more trouble than you bargained for.  Thus, it is crucially important to involve the assistance of a skilled defense attorney to help prove your intent to the courts.


The location of the alleged indecent exposure must also be substantiated in court.  For indecent exposure to have occurred, it must have occurred in a public area.  If you were simply sunbathing nude, in a secluded location and someone happens upon you, you were not guilty of indecent exposure.  Again, gray areas often exist, and it will be crucial that you can defend yourself against these serious charges.

It can be difficult to prove your innocence when being accused by an eyewitness to the event.  Thus, it is critical to your future and well-being to utilize the experience and training of a defense attorney to provide a solid case to the contrary.  Your future is too precious to chance being registered as a Colorado sex offender over a simple misunderstanding.