Colorado Criminal Law Public Indecency (18-7-301)

  1. Any person who performs any of the following in a public place or where the conduct may reasonably be expected to be viewed by members of the public commits public indecency:
    1. An act of sexual intercourse; or
    2. (Deleted by amendment, L. 2010, (HB 10-1334), ch. 359, p. 1707, § 1, effective August 11, 2010.)
    3. A lewd exposure of an intimate part as defined by section 18-3-401 (2) of the body, not including the genitals, done with intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person; or
    4. A lewd fondling or caress of the body of another person; or
    5. A knowing exposure of the person’s genitals to the view of a person under circumstances in which such conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to the other person.
    1. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection (2), public indecency is a class 1 petty offense.
    2. Public indecency as described in paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of this section is a class 1 misdemeanor if the violation is committed subsequent to a conviction for a violation of paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of this section or for a violation of a comparable offense in any other state or in the United States, or for a violation of a comparable municipal ordinance.
  2. (Deleted by amendment, L. 2010, (HB 10-1334), ch. 359, p. 1707, § 1, effective August 11, 2010.)

Source: L. 71: R&RE, p. 453, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 40-7-301. L. 2008: (1)(d) amended and (1)(e) and (3) added, p. 1716, §§ 1, 2, effective July 1. L. 2010: Entire section amended, (HB 10-1334), ch. 359, p. 1707, § 1, effective August 11.


The plain language of this offense reflects the general assembly’s intent to make public indecency a strict liability crime without a culpable mental state. Because this section makes it a crime to perform any of the stated acts where the conduct may reasonably be expected to be viewed by members of the public, it does not matter whether the defendant knew he was in a public place. The objective standard depends on what a reasonable person in the defendant’s position should have known. Therefore, the trial court did not err in rejecting a jury instruction that would have required the jury to find the defendant knew he was in a public place. People v. Hoskay, 87 P.3d 194 (Colo. App. 2003).

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