Public Lewdness in Texas | Is it Illegal to Have Sex in Public?

Having sex in a public place is a crime in Texas. It’s called public lewdness and it can carry stiff consequences and a stigma that can impact your future.

That’s why it’s imperative to contact a Fort Worth public lewdness defense lawyer as soon as possible if you are accused of committing a sex act in public. Not only is this charge embarrassing, but it can result in jail time, fines, and a criminal record that says “public lewdness.” It’s important to have an attorney who is experienced in handling sex crimes and defending your case.

What Constitutes Public Lewdness in Texas?

In the most general terms, public lewdness is having sex in public. Penal Code 21.07 defines this as an offense where a person knowingly engages in any of the following acts in a public place or, if not in a public place, he or she is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his or her:

  • Act of sexual intercourse;
  • Act of deviate sexual intercourse; OR
  • Act of sexual contact.


  • Sexual intercourse means any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.
  • Deviate sexual intercourse is any contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person. The penetration of the genitals or anus of another person with an object is also considered deviate sexual intercourse.
  • Sexual contact is any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

What is Punishment for this Charge in Texas?

Public lewdness is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4000 fine.

Do You Have to Register as a Sex Offender for Public Lewdness?

No, people convicted of public lewdness are not required to register as a sex offender.

Will this Charge Affect Gun Rights in Texas?

Yes, if you are convicted of this charge, you will be prohibited from having a License to Carry for a period of five years.

What’s the difference between Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure?

Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure are both crimes in Texas that involve nudity or sexual acts in public. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Public lewdness involves knowingly engaging in sexual conduct in public and is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. Indecent exposure involves exposing genitals with the intent to arouse or gratify and is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a maximum $2000 fine. Both crimes involve “a reckless disregard about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed.”

Our Goals for Your Case

Public lewdness carries with it a stigma. Although it is a misdemeanor, most people look at this charge as an act of sexual deviance. Our goals for this charge is to seek opportunities to resolve the case in a manner that avoids jail time, a conviction, and allows for an expunction or nondisclosure in the future. While this may not always be possible, our defense attorneys will do everything we can to prevent this charge from adversely affecting your future.

Contact a Public Lewdness Defense Lawyer Today

Call today for a complimentary strategy session. During this call we will:

  • Discuss the facts of your case;
  • Discuss the legal issues involved, including the consequences of the allegation; and
  • Discuss the defenses that apply and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.

Call for a Free Consultation

(817) 203-2220

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About the Author Board Certified Lawyer Benson Varghese

About the Author

Benson Varghese is the managing partner of Varghese Summersett. He is a seasoned attorney, highly esteemed for his comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the field. He has successfully handled thousands of state and federal cases, ranging from misdemeanor driving while intoxicated cases to capital offenses, showcasing his commitment to preserving justice and upholding the rights of his clients. His firm covers criminal defense, personal injury, and family law matters. Benson is also a legal tech entrepreneur. Benson is a go-to authority in the legal community, known for his ability to explain complex legal concepts with clarity and precision. His writings offer a wealth of in-depth legal insights, reflecting his extensive experience and his passion for the law. Not only is Benson an accomplished litigator, but he is also a dedicated advocate for his clients, consistently striving to achieve the best possible outcomes for them. His authorship provides readers with valuable legal advice and an understanding of the complexities of the criminal justice system. CriminalPersonal InjuryFamily Law Contact
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