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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71051
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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What is my likely penalty charged with indecent exposure

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What is my likely penalty for being charged with indecent exposure as its my first offence of this kind?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Two counts of indecent exposure I have been charged with. Both were reported by some girls who witnessed me in my car masturbating. But I was looking at my mobile phone at a picture and wasn't looking or acknowledging the people outside my car. Anymore details required?
How old were the girls roughly?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
According to the police statements they were teenagers 16 years of age approx. the mobile phone had a picture on it of a female friend she's 24
Is it the same people on both occasions?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No both occasions the witnesses were different about 1 hour difference between both reports.
Was this in a very busy area?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No just a normal street not many people around just a general UK suburban area offences occurred in the early evening
The issue with indecent exposure here is that you are actually raising a defence. To make this offence you have to intend that somebody would see. I realise that there was a risk that somebody would but then you should be offering a plea to outraging public decency. The Crown probably won't accept it but if you intend to mitigate on this basis that is the answer you will get.
Clearly you want to avoid a trial though. It is going to be a difficult to convince a jury that two separate random strangers have lied about. An honest witness though will sometimes accept that they didn't think you intended them to see. It is not actually all that difficult to get witnesses to accept things like that and obviously they don't know the significance of what they accept.
If you do plead though and you have no previous convictions then it is a difficult offence to sentence. Judges can be inconsistent. You might get a suspended sentence or you might just get a community order. The only aggravating feature is the age of the witness but that could be a lot worse than 16.
If you do plead to indecent exposure you will be placed on the sex offenders register for five years.
There will also be CPS costs and a court charge and probably a small amount in compensation.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can you clarify the exact meaning of a suspended sentence? I want to avoid prison at all costs, my duty solicitor advised to me to plead guilty as u admitted the offence while at the station and under interview conditions with the duty solicitor present
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just checking my last message about what a suspended sentence is?
Well, you might want to check whether you actually did. You might well have admitted exposing yourself but whether you admitted intending anybody to see is another matter. Quite a lot of people don\t know that is required.
A suspended sentence is a term of imprisonment doesn't actually lead to custody unless you commit another offence during the term.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes I have admitted to exposure but of course I didn't intend anyone to see as I was in the my car and focused on my mobile phone which all witnesses stated to the police the fact I had a mobile phone in my hand. To summarise I'm admitting exposure but not as intentional so this is what the court will have to verify??
Yes, that is a plea to outraging public decency not indecent exposure.
It might be in your interests to plead anyway as you may well be convicted but what you can't then do is mitigate on the basis that you didn\t intend anybody to see.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So in short plead guilty to outraging public decency and let the court decide if it was intentional or not?
No, you cannot do that.
Offer a plea to outraging public decency to the Crown in exchange for dropping the indecent exposure. They won't agree though probably because it doesn't lead to addition to the sex offenders register which will be what they want.
If they don't then you either plead or not to indecent exposure.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have to attend a magistrates court not a crown court I believe the magistrates court deals with matters less serious than in a crown court?
All cases start off at the Magistrates Court.
But yes, they could keep it. I would imagine they would commit it actually but you are much better off in the Crown Court
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Your advice has been valid and interesting to me thanks. Not quite clear on suspended sentence from your answer I understand that I won't be put in prison but will be monitors perhaps by the probation service for a period of time and if I offend in the time frame again it will be straight to a prison term?
Yes, they don't always impose the suspended sentence upon further offence. It depends how much has been completed, the nature of the subsequent offence and other mitigation.
But otherwise you are right.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Your termingology on the phrase 'offer a plea' means your asking the court to consider something other than the original charge? And the phrase 'plead to' means I'm pleading guilty to that offence?
No. Asking CPS to consider another charge.
Plead to means pleading guilty.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Another charge to replace the original charge? Or additional to the original charge? Sorry tryin to reaffirm in my mind :)
No, in exchange for that offence.
I wouldn't worry about this. This is for your counsel to worry about. Plea bargaining goes on all the time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can I get a transcript of all your answers so I can note anything down I need to?
I think you are emailed a copy of this.
I'm happy to continue with this but please remember to leave feedback for my answer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes I will leave feedback for you. Am I permitted to mention to my duty solicitor that I'm prepared to go on any courses that the court see fit for me to attend I'm coming from the stand point were I want to go over and above any punishment to prove to the court and mostly myself that this unfortunate yet stupid situation I'm in is a learning experience for me.
Yes, all that is fine.
Probation probably will recommend something like that.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This is the first time I've felt slightly settled and relieved about this situation I'm in as I genuinely thought I was going to prison. Although I know court proceedings and judges slightly differ but I'm hopeful the practices under law remain the same. And I acknowledge your advice is only advice and should be a guideline only. There's 2 counts as I mentioned but come under the same charge of indecent exposure could the court summarise both counts as one charge of deal with them separately?
If they were an hour apart and different complainants then they can justify two charges.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
As both were the same in criminal act and going on everything I mentioned to you about the case you stand by your advice on the punishments ill receive?
It is quite unlikely you would get custody on a first offence.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I think I'm pretty much there on being satisfied with my answer your giving me so thanks for your invaluable advice. I'm just intrigued as to what an extreme case would be were the court would not accept any form of suspended sentence or rehabilitation for the offender. ( Putting my case to one side for a minute)
I'm not sure what you mean?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I guess I'm trying to evaluate the seriousness of the offence or what gravity it has under criminal law in the UK?
Well, there is a hug fuss about all sexual offences at the moment but people don't get custody usually on a first offence of indecent exposure.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok I understand you now like you said before its hard for the court to sentence as I've had no previous offences. So they can't judge if I'm a nuisance to society or the chances of me re offending in the future.
Probation would assess all of that. They probably will say you present a risk of reoffending.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry I just noticed in the message dialog box time stamps say eastern standard time?? You are basing all your answers for UK law?
I'm in the UK. The site is based in states.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok I'm satisfied I will leave feedback many thanks. Before I go can u mention anything I can do while at court or to my solicitors that will help me further?
I think we have covered everything above really.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok many thanks I will leave feedback and will be asking no more questions :) bye
No problem and all the best.
Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’. You can also bookmark my profile
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry a submitted a rating of an earlier answer you gave me that's all the feedback u require to close this question?
Yes, you don't need to do anything else.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok many thanks bye :)
No problem.