Is it Illegal to Have Sex in Public in Texas?
Understanding Texas Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure Laws
In Texas, having sex in public is illegal under the provisions of public lewdness and indecent exposure laws. Public lewdness is defined in the Texas Penal Code Section 21.07 as knowingly engaging in any of the following acts in a public place or where others are present and could be offended or alarmed:
- An act of sexual intercourse
- An act of deviate sexual intercourse
- An act of sexual contact
- An act involving contact between the person’s mouth or genitals and the anus or genitals of an animal or fowl
Texas public lewdness and indecent exposure offenses carry different but serious penalties.
Public Lewdness Charges and Penalties in Texas
Public lewdness charges are typically filed as Class A misdemeanors in Texas. If convicted, you could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Additionally, a conviction can result in a permanent criminal record, potentially affecting your employment, housing, and other aspects of your life.
Defenses Against Public Lewdness Charges in Texas
Although facing public lewdness charges can be stressful, potential defenses are available. Some possible defenses include:
- Insufficient evidence to prove the elements of the offense;
- Mistaken identity or false accusation;
- The act occurred in a private setting where others would not reasonably be expected to observe it.
Each case is unique, and a skilled attorney at Varghese Summersett can assess the circumstances and develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific situation.
What is Indecent Exposure under Texas law?
Indecent exposure, defined under Texas Penal Code Section 21.08, is another relevant law when discussing sex in public. It covers several acts, including exposure of one’s genitals with the intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire and engaging in sexual contact in the presence of a minor (under 17 years of age) or a person who is unaware of the conduct.
Indecent exposure (or public indecency) is classified as a Class B misdemeanor, with penalties that include up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
Examples of Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure Cases
Example 1: A couple is caught having sex in a public park. They could be charged with public lewdness due to engaging in sexual intercourse in a public place.
Example 2: An individual exposes their genitals to another person in a public restroom with the intent to arouse sexual desire. This act could lead to indecent exposure charges.
Defending Against Public Lewdness Charges
A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you fight public lewdness charges by examining the evidence and developing a strong defense strategy. Potential defenses include:
- Insufficient evidence to prove the act occurred in a public place or within view of others;
- Lack of intent or knowledge of the act being visible or offensive to others;
- Mistaken identity or false accusations.
At Varghese Summersett, our experienced attorneys will vigorously defend your rights and work towards achieving the best possible outcome if you’re facing Texas public lewdness and indecent exposure charges.
FAQs: Texas Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure
Yes, having sex in public in Texas is illegal and can result in charges of public lewdness or indecent exposure, or both.
Indecent exposure involves engaging in sexual acts in public places or while another person is present who might be offended or alarmed. Public lewdness covers a broader range of acts but also requires that the conduct occurs in a public place or while someone who might be offended or alarmed is present.
Public lewdness is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to \$4,000, or both.
Indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
To be charged with public lewdness, someone must have been present who could have been offended or alarmed by the act.
Public lewdness charges generally apply to acts occurring in public places or within view of others who could be offended or alarmed.
Yes, a public lewdness conviction can result in a permanent criminal record, affecting your employment, housing, and other aspects of your life.
No, public lewdness convictions do not typically require sex offender registration.
Depending on the outcome of your case and your eligibility, it may be possible to have a public lewdness charge expunged from your record.
It is strongly advised to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights.
Remain calm, do not make any statements to law enforcement, and contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Facing Texas public lewdness or indecent exposure charges? Call us.
If you or a loved one is facing Texas public lewdness and indecent exposure charges, you need an experienced Varghese Summersett defense attorney to protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome.
We’ll assess your case and develop a tailored defense strategy. This may include arguing that the act was not in a public place or that others were not present or offended by the conduct. To discuss your case with a skilled attorney, call Varghese Summersett today at 817-203-2220 or set up a complimentary consultation online.