What is indecent exposure?
In general terms, indecent exposure occurs when a person exposes themselves for sexual gratification to someone who might be offended or alarmed. Under Section 21.08 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits the offense of indecent exposure if he or she “exposes his anus or any part of his genitals with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, and he is reckless about whether another person is present who will be offended or alarmed by his exposure.”
Indecent exposure is a serious criminal offense in Texas, even though it is a misdemeanor. This is because the offense carries a stigma that often results in snap judgments by others – not only upon conviction but on arrest. Prosecuting attorneys take these cases seriously, as will the entire court system. If you’ve been charged with indecent exposure in Texas, you’ll want the best attorney you can find at your side.
What is the punishment for indecent exposure?
Indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas. An individual convicted of this offense may be sentenced to:
- Confinement: No more than 180 days in jail.
- Potential fine: Up to $2,000.
While indecent exposure is a misdemeanor, if the acts occur in the presence of a child under the age of 17, it can be charged as indecency with a child by exposure which is a felony offense.
Repeat offenders can also face harsher penalties for subsequent offenses. In 2023, Texas enacted TX HB 1730 which states that if a defendant has one previous conviction for indecent exposure, he or she will face a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4000 fine (rather than a Class B misdemeanor for a first-time offense). If a defendant has two or more previous convictions for indecent exposure, he or she will face a state jail felony, punishable by six months to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Can a college prank lead to an indecent exposure charge?
Generally no. While mooning a person or flashing genitals may meet part of the definition of indecent exposure, prosecutors would have a challenging time proving that such acts were for sexual gratification.
What is the statute of limitations for indecent exposure?
The statute of limitations for a misdemeanor indecent exposure charge in Texas is two years.
Do you have to register as a sex offender if convicted of indecent exposure?
While charges for indecent exposure remain misdemeanor offenses, a second plea of guilty to the charge of indecent exposure will require registration as a sex offender unless the accused is placed on deferred adjudication for the second offense.
Indecent exposure and public lewdness are offenses that are taken seriously by prosecuting agencies throughout the state. If you are charged with a sex crime, even if it’s a misdemeanor, you will want a criminal defense attorney that is experienced in handling these types of matters.
Seek Legal Assistance with Indecent Exposure Charges in Fort Worth
Combined, our attorneys have over a century of experience handling indecent exposure charges in Fort Worth. Call us today to find out how our experience can help you achieve the most favorable outcome possible.