San Francisco Man Acquitted of Indecent Exposure on BART (CA Penal Code 314)

28-year-old (name withheld for privacy) of San Francisco was recently arrested for felony indecent exposure due to an incident in a BART car, during which he attempted to have sex with a seat on the transit system.  The BART operator noticed him making sexual motions against the seat in a car near the cab and then witnessed him masturbating as well.  He then pulled out a crack pipe and began to smoke it in front of the operator.  Today, he was released, having been acquitted of all charges.

(CA Penal Code 314) covers laws concerning indecent exposure.  This specific crime is committed when an individual purposefully and willfully exposes their genitals in order to gain attention from others by this act.  His attorney was able to make the argument that he was engaging in a “private moment” and was not acting in the manner he did in order to gain the attention of others or to offend other persons, both of which would be required for a conviction.  In his case, the car was nearly empty and he did not seem to notice the presence of the operator for quite some time.

In the state of California, aggravated indecent exposure is considered a ‘wobbler.’  If you have been accused of a misdemeanor indecent exposure charge, you may spend up to 6 months in county jail and pay a fine of about $1,000, in addition to registering as a sex offender for life.  However, an ‘aggravated’ or felony indecent exposure charge, you may face up to 3 years in state prison, a maximum of $10,000 in fines, and registry as a sex offender.