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About Los Angeles Criminal Law Center

Los Angeles Criminal Law Center is sponsored by The Rodriguez Law Group, a criminal defense firm serving Los Angeles, CA and the surrounding areas. The Rodriguez Law Group was founded by Ambrosio E. Rodriguez, a former prosecutor with over 18 years experience. During his time as a prosecutor, Mr. Rodriguez handled serious criminal matters including sex crimes and death penalty cases. The information on this site is intended to assist anyone going through the criminal justice process.

A Los Angeles-area man has been arrested for a handful of crimes, including indecent exposure, after hugging a young teen girl while naked. According to reports, the man, who appeared to be under the influence of drugs, was wandering around a neighborhood and asking to go inside random homes. Concerned neighbors called the police, but not before he had the chance to take off his clothes and go into a residential backyard. Dogs outside of the family home began to bark, which prompted a young teen girl to go outside. The man allegedly grabbed and hugged her while completely naked.

What is Indecent Exposure?

Indecent exposure, as defined in Penal Code 314 PC, is the crime of exposing your private parts to another person with the intent to sexually gratify, offend, or annoy. It’s actually a very broad offense that can cover a wide range of behaviors.

When a person is accused of indecent exposure, the state has the burden of proving they:

  • Willfully and lewdly;
  • Exposed his private parts; and
  • In a public place or any place in which there are others who would be annoyed or offended.

Willfully: Willful acts are those that are done with purpose and intent. This prevents simple accidents, like forgetting to zip the fly of your pants, from evolving into criminal acts.

Lewd: Lewdness refers to the intent behind the act. Lewd can mean doing something with the intent to:

  • Sexually gratify or arouse yourself
  • Sexually gratify or arouse another person, or
  • Offend another person in a sexual way.

Public or Private Place With Others: You can be charged with indecent exposure if you committed a lewd act in public or in a private place where other people, who are likely to be offended or annoyed, are present. Whether or not a person would be offended or annoyed is a question of fact. It will depend on the specific circumstances of each specific case.

Indecent Exposure Can Be a Misdemeanor or Felony

Indecent exposure is typically a misdemeanor in California. Without any aggravating circumstances, indecent exposure is punishable by:

  • 6 months in a Los Angeles County jail; and/or
  • $1,000 in fines.

Indecent exposure can also be charged as a felony. The charges can be aggravated when indecent exposure occurs in an inhabited dwelling (e.g., house, building) that you didn’t have permission to be in. In certain cases, the crime can still be charged as a misdemeanor. Felony indecent exposure is punishable by:

  • 16 months to 3 years in a California state prison; and/or
  • $10,000 in criminal fines.

Whether or not you face misdemeanor or felony charges will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.

Indecent Exposure Conviction Requires Registration as a Sex Offender

Anyone convicted of indecent exposure in California will be required to register as a Tier One Sex Offender with the state. This is true whether you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony. Tier One Sex Offenders are required to register with the state for a minimum of 10 years. The 10-year period begins once you are released from detention and custody.

Failure to register with the state as a sex offender can make you vulnerable to additional criminal charges and penalties. Once you have successfully complied with the terms of the registry for 10 years, you have the right to file a petition to terminate your status as a sex offender.

Defending Indecent Exposure Charges in Los Angeles

Even though you have been charged with a crime, you still have the power to fight for your future. The state has to prove that you are guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. You can make this difficult for them by asserting a strong defense. The best defenses will explain, excuse, and/or justify your alleged behavior.

Defenses can include:

  • False accusation
  • Mistaken identity
  • Acts not done in public or in view of others
  • The victim should not have been offended or annoyed
  • Illegal search and seizure, or
  • Unlawful arrest.

You also have the option of attacking the state’s evidence against you and undermining their case. Get help by visiting our guide on the questions you need to ask when hiring a criminal defense attorney.


It’s important to defend yourself against any criminal charges in Los Angeles. Hiring an attorney will help you secure the best result in your case. Call our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.

Section 1983 Lawsuits

The Constitution provides you with certain inalienable rights and protections. When police are performing their job duties, they are required to respect your rights. There are certain times when your rights can be lawfully infringed. However, police must have verifiable justification for those actions. When police illegally violate your rights or engage in acts of misconduct, you have the right to hold them accountable. Section 1983 of the US Code provides you with the authority to file a civil lawsuit against an officer for abuses of power. If you are in the Los Angeles, CA area and need assistance, contact Citywide Law Group today to discuss your case. Sherwin Arzani is a personal injury attorney with over 15 years experience in handling police abuse cases.

Police Officers Are Generally Immune From Civil Lawsuits

Without Section 1983, victims of police misconduct may have no way to hold officers accountable for their actions. Why? Police officers (and other government actors) are generally immune from civil lawsuits. Immunity exists to protect police officers from actions conducted in an official capacity.

There are two types of immunity that can protect officers: qualified immunity and sovereign immunity.

Qualified Immunity: Qualified immunity protects officers from civil action for performing their discretionary job duties in good faith.

Sovereign Immunity: Sovereign immunity protects officers from civil action for actions performed in an official capacity.

In most situations, you can only sue the government (including individual officers) if the government decides to allow the legal action. However, thanks to Section 1983, there is another way for victims of abuse to circumvent the issues presented by immunity. Section 1983 essentially voids any blanket immunity from civil action that may otherwise exist. The law provides victims of police misconduct and abuse to hold those officers personally responsible for their actions. There is no need to get the government’s permission to file the civil claim.

Your Section 1983 case will be most successful if an officer:

  • Did not act in good faith while performing his or her essential job duties
  • Deliberately interfered with your rights and freedoms, or
  • Intentionally or consciously disregarded your rights.

Overcoming Immunity By Filing a Section 1983 Lawsuit

Section 1983 creates the right to sue a police officer (or other person acting in an official capacity) for abuses of power.

You may have a valid Section 1983 lawsuit if:

  • Your Constitutional rights have been violated
  • By a person acting under the color of state law, and
  • The violation caused you to suffer an injury.

What Kind of Violations Can Support a Section 1983 Case?

Police officers are prohibited from infringing, violating, or depriving your fundamental rights. Most Section 1983 claims involve violations of the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

Fourth Amendment: The Fourth Amendment provides you with the right to be free from unwarranted searches and seizures. Violations of the Fourth Amendment may include:

  • Excessive Force (excessive force resulted in an illegal seizure of a suspect)
  • Illegal Arrest (arrest without probable cause)
  • Unreasonable and unwarranted searches of a home, or
  • Unreasonable searches of cars and passengers.

Fifth Amendment: The Fifth Amendment protects you from saying or doing anything that would incriminate yourself. Violations of the Fifth Amendment may include:

  • Forcing a suspect to unlock his or her personal cell phone
  • Coercing an involuntary confession
  • Failing to deliver a Miranda warning, or
  • Engaging in abusive conduct to elicit a confession.

Eighth Amendment: The Eighth Amendment protects you from cruel and unusual punishment. Eighth Amendment violations are typically brought by individuals who are detained prior to trial or serving time in jail or prison. Violations of the Eighth Amendment may include:

  • Intentionally depriving an inmate of necessary medical care
  • Permitting an inmate to be assaulted by officers, inmates, or personnel, or
  • Excessive force used by prison guards or personnel.

Fourteenth Amendment: The Fourteenth Amendment provides you with equal protection under the law. Violations of the Fourteenth Amendment may include:

  • Police brutality
  • Excessive force, or
  • Negligent loss or destruction of a detainee’s property.

Violation By a Person Acting Under Color of State Law

Section 1983 creates the right to sue a person for violations of your rights if they were acting under color of state law. The Supreme Court has held that a person can include individuals, municipalities, and local governmental bodies. State and federal government agencies are specifically excluded from the definition of “person.”

For the purposes of Section 1983, a “person” can include:

  • Police officers
  • Sheriff’s departments
  • School districts
  • Prison guards and/or wardens
  • Prison facilities
  • City employees and agencies
  • County employees and agencies
  • Non-governmental agents, and
  • Government employees.

However, for a person to be liable under Section 1983 the violation must have occurred because they were acting “under color of state law.” This simply means that they were empowered with certain authority because of a state law or custom.

What Injuries Can Support a Section 1983 Case?

The violation or deprivation of your rights must cause you to suffer an injury. The injury can be physical, psychological, emotional, social, or even financial. The most important thing to establish is that the police officer’s misconduct caused your injury.

You can ask to recover monetary damages for your injuries. Damages can include compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Disability
  • Injury to reputation
  • Embarrassment
  • Emotional distress
  • Legal fees, and more.

You may also be able to recover punitive damages if the officer’s conduct was intentional, malicious, or fraudulent. Punitive damages are intended to punish the officer for his or her illegal actions. Any punitive damages will be awarded in addition to other financial awards.

Have you been the victim of police misconduct? Has a person acting under color of state law violated your rights in some way? Section 1983 gives you the right to hold the officer who hurt you personally responsible. Contact our personal injury attorneys to learn more about filing a Section 1983 claim. We are dedicated to helping you recover the compensation you deserve. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

Law enforcement agencies from across the state worked together to identify eight men who they believe to be connected to a string of burglaries in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. According to reports, the men are suspected to have committed as many as 20 burglaries. Evidence of the burglaries and other crimes, including stolen property, illegal drugs, and multiple firearms, were found in the homes of the suspects. At least seven of the men have been charged with multiple counts of first-degree burglary.

Understanding the Crime of Burglary

Burglary occurs when a person unlawfully enters a building or structure with the intent to commit larceny or any felony. Whether you are charged with first-degree burglary or second-degree burglary will depend on the type of building you enter.

First-Degree Burglary

First-degree burglary occurs when you enter a residence with the intent to commit a theft or felony. Residences can include any place that a person resides, as well as other structures on their land, including a:

  • House
  • Room
  • Barn
  • Stable
  • Outhouse
  • Camper
  • Garage
  • Tent, or
  • Apartment.

Since first-degree burglary involves a residence, it is often referred to as residential burglary. First-degree burglary is always a felony in Los Angeles.

Second-Degree Burglary

Second-degree burglary occurs when you enter any other kind of property with the intent to commit a theft or felony. This can include:

  • Shop
  • Warehouse
  • Store
  • Railroad car
  • Cargo container, or
  • Other commercial building.

Since second-degree burglary involves property other than a residence, it is often referred to as commercial burglary. Second-degree burglary can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Intent is King

California Penal Code 459 PC states that burglary is the crime of entering a building “with intent to commit grand or petit larceny or any felony.” This means that you do not actually have to commit a crime successfully (or even try) to be guilty of burglary. The most important phrase in 459 PC is “with intent.” If you entered property intending to commit a crime, you can be guilty of burglary.

How is intent proven? Whether or not you entered with the intent to commit a crime is a question of fact. It is a subjective issue that will depend on a thorough analysis of the factors and circumstances of each specific case. Indicators of intent may include:

  • Entering property for which you have no right of ownership or occupancy
  • Possession of tools commonly used for breaking and entering
  • Possession of items that do not belong to you
  • Monitoring the homeowner’s schedule, or
  • Possession of a firearm or weapon.

It is important to know that you can only be guilty of burglary if you enter a building with the intent to commit a crime. If you develop the intent to commit a crime once you are already inside you will face charges for a different crime.

Consequences of a First-Degree Burglary Conviction in Los Angeles

First-degree burglary is a felony in California. If you are convicted of first-degree burglary, penalties could include:

  • 2, 4, or 6 years in a California state prison
  • $10,000 in fines, and/or
  • Formal probation.

First-degree burglary is also a strike for the purposes of California’s Three Strikes Sentencing Law. You will face aggravated penalties if you have other strikes on your record or are ever convicted of another strike record.

How Can I Defend Burglary Charges in Los Angeles?

You have the right to defend yourself when you are accused of committing a crime. The best defenses will undermine the state’s case against you and/or help to excuse your behavior. Defenses that can be used in a Los Angeles burglary case include:

  • You have been falsely accused
  • You have been mistakenly identified
  • You did not enter the property with the intent to commit a theft or felony
  • You did not actually enter a building or structure, or
  • You had permission to enter the property.

The best way to defend yourself is by hiring an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to handle your case. Do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free consultation.