A 68-year-old Victorville man has been accused of indecent exposure and attempted kidnapping. He was taken into custody on October 8th.
68 Year Old Charged with Indecent Exposure and Kidnapping
Good Samaritan Charles Cooks witnessed as David Alvarado approached two school-aged boys and attempted to lure them into the car. When the boys refused, he allegedly exited his car and tried to convince them. According to Cooks, the man also exposed himself to the victims. It was then that Cooks stepped in and told Alvarez to leave the boys alone.
“He tried to threaten me like I was going to walk away,” Charles Cooks. “But I wasn’t.”
Alvarado left the area before San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies arrived, but he was seen driving into the parking lot of an apartment complex nearby.
Alvarez ran into his apartment and a short standoff ensued before Alvarado was taken into custody.
“He’s an irritating drunk,” said one neighbor offering her thoughts on the suspect.
Another neighbor, Rusty Jiron, added, “Everybody that knows that guy hasn’t had a decent thing to say about him.”
Indecent exposure is considered a sex crime under California law and it carries criminal penalties similar to many other much more serious sex crime offenses, including rape and sexual battery. Under California law, it is a crime to intentionally expose your genitals in public with the intention of offending another person or for the purpose of sexual gratification, for yourself or someone else. Most people think of this crime as someone intentionally engaging in a lewd and lascivious act, such as public masturbation, but the definition of indecent exposure is vague and can include any number of public acts, including engaging in consensual sexual behavior in public or in view of the public. In fact, you can be charged with California indecent exposure even if no one actually sees your genitals or private body parts. The fact that you intended people to see, and took steps to direct attention towards your act, is enough to result in a charge of indecent exposure. Furthermore, if you follow another person into a dwelling or home without permission and expose yourself, you could be charged with aggravated indecent exposure, which is prosecuted as a felony offense and therefore carries much more serious penalties.
Penalties for an Indecent Exposure Conviction
Under California Penal Code § 314, indecent exposure is when an individual “exposes their person, or the private parts thereof, in any public place, or in any place where there are present other persons to be offended or annoyed thereby…is offensive to decency, or is adapted to excite to vicious or lewd thoughts or acts.” In the state of California, the crime of indecent exposure is a “wobbler,” which means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. Most first-time indecent exposure offenders in Los Angeles will be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by six months to one year in county jail and/or up to $1,000, plus a requirement to register with the state of California as a sex offender.
Subsequent or aggravated indecent exposure offenses may be charged as felonies, punishable by 16 months, two or three years in state prison and/or up to $10,000, plus a requirement to register as a sex offender. The same is true for defendants who have prior convictions of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child or other California sex crimes. In some cases, an indecent exposure conviction could also adversely impact your child custody and/or visitation rights, or result in court-ordered sex offender counseling and/or mandatory community service.
Defenses to Indecent Exposure
When facing criminal charges for indecent exposure or another misdemeanor or felony offense, it is your Constitutional right to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent your case. Just because you have been arrested for or charged with indecent exposure, doesn’t mean you are guilty of the crime, and having an experienced defense lawyer on your side can significantly improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your case, including having your charges reduced to a lesser offense or dropped altogether. For example, a criminal defense attorney may be able to use the following defenses to explain or justify your alleged behavior:
• You have been falsely accused
• You are a victim of mistaken identity
• You did not intend to expose yourself to others
• You did not intend to sexually gratify yourself or another person
• The exposure did not involve a private body part
• Your Constitutional rights were violated
Intent is a key element in California indecent exposure cases. Indecent exposure is a crime of specific intent, which means you must have been acting intentionally in exposing yourself for the indecent exposure charge to stick. If the prosecution is unable to prove that you intentionally exposed yourself to another person to offend them or for the purpose of sexual gratification, you cannot be found guilty of indecent exposure under California Penal Code § 314 PC. For instance, if you had a reasonable expectation of privacy while conducting an otherwise legal act, you cannot legally be convicted of indecent exposure. Alternatively, if your public nudity was part of an artistic performance or form of expression, you may be able to call on the First Amendment right to freedom of speech in defense of your actions.
Most of us are familiar with the general components that constitute a crime of kidnapping, but the exact wording of California kidnapping laws is complex and the criminal implications of this offense can be confusing. In the simplest of terms, it is a violation of California kidnapping laws, found under Penal Code § 207, 208, 209 and 209.5, to take another person by force or fear a substantial distance to another location without that person’s consent. “Simple” kidnapping in Los Angeles is covered under California Penal Code § 207 PC, which defines “force or fear” as actually inflicting physical force upon the alleged kidnapping victim, or threatening to inflict imminent physical harm. There are certain circumstances that can elevate a simple kidnapping offense to aggravated kidnapping (Penal Code § 207(c) PC), a more serious offense that carries enhanced criminal penalties. Some elements of aggravated kidnapping crimes in Los Angeles include the following:
• Using force, fear or fraud upon a victim who is a child under the age of 14
• Causing the victim to suffer serious bodily harm or death
• Kidnapping for the purpose of committing robbery, rape or another criminal offense
• Kidnapping involving a ransom request
• Kidnapping a victim during a carjacking
It is important to note that aggravated kidnapping does not necessarily require that the person be moved or relocated, only that the person was held or detained against his or her will. Some examples of aggravated kidnapping include: tying someone up, moving him to a secluded location, and then calling his family to demand a ransom; tricking your girlfriend’s 10-year-old son into getting in the car with you by offering to take him to the movies, when you actually intend to hide him from his mother because you found out she is cheating on you; or holding a gun to a woman’s head and demanding that she drives you away from the store you just robbed. Some other charges related to Penal Code § 207 PC kidnapping include Penal Code § 209 PC kidnapping for ransom, reward, or extortion, or to commit robbery or rape; Penal Code § 209.5 PC kidnapping during the commission of a carjacking, Penal Code § 210 PC extortion by posing as a kidnapper, Penal Code § 278 PC child abduction, and Penal Code § 278.5 PC deprivation of a child custody order.
Penalties for a Kidnapping Conviction
The consequences associated with a Los Angeles kidnapping conviction depend on a number of factors, including the age of the alleged victim, the distance he or she was moved, your criminal record, and whether any other crimes were committed during the kidnapping. Any “simple” kidnapping offense under California Penal Code § 207 PC is a felony crime carrying a maximum prison sentence of three to eight years and/or up to $10,000 in fines. If you are convicted of kidnapping a child under the age of 14, the maximum prison sentence could be increased to 11 years, and if you are convicted of aggravated kidnapping, you could face a sentence of five years to life in California state prison, depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime. Kidnapping involving a ransom request, for example, may result in a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if the alleged victim suffers serious bodily harm or death, under Penal Code § 209 PC. Kidnapping may also count as a “strike” offense under California’s “Three Strikes” law, which is designed to punish certain repeat offenders convicted of serious or violent felonies, and this law requires that you serve at least 85% of your prison sentence before being eligible for release.
Defenses to Kidnapping Charges
It is easy to imagine that the deck is stacked against you when facing kidnapping charges in Los Angeles, especially if the circumstances of the offense elevate the crime to aggravated kidnapping. Fortunately, there are a variety of legal defenses that can apply to California kidnapping charges to explain or justify your alleged actions. If you have been arrested for kidnapping in Los Angeles, a skilled criminal defense attorney familiar with California law and the intricacies of the criminal justice system can raise a number of defenses on your behalf, including the following:
• Lack of intent – You did not have the requisite intent necessary to sustain a kidnapping conviction
• Mistaken identity – You were falsely accused of kidnapping based on mistaken identity
• Consent – The alleged victim consented to being moved
• Lack of sufficient movement – The movement wasn’t substantial enough to qualify the alleged crime as kidnapping
• Actual innocence – You were merely present and not the individual who carried out the kidnapping
• Lawful custody – As the parent of the alleged victim, you have a right to travel with your child
• Lack of proof – The prosecution doesn’t have enough evidence to prove the case
There’s a lot unknown in the case and potential charges against David Alvarado. First, his intent will need to be established. Additionally, it will need to be determined what state of mind he was in. In this instance, his lawyer will need to prove there was a lack of intent or lack of proof in regards to the kidnapping charges. His lawyer will also need to prove if any indecent exposure actually happened or did not happen.
Hiring a Defense Attorney
Both kidnapping and indecent exposure carry very serious consequences under California law. If you or a loved one is facing these types of charges in Southern California, don’t hesitate to hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to represent your case. Our lawyers at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles are committed to protecting the rights of clients wrongfully accused of offenses and will work tirelessly to help you reach a favorable conclusion to your case.