Indecent exposure is a crime found in the section of the Texas Penal Code dealing with sexual offenses. Public lewdness is another crime in the same section that can also stem from public displays of nudity or sexual behavior.
While people are usually charged with indecent exposure in connection with some incidents in which an alleged offender was possibly just trying to get some laughs, the criminal charges are rarely entertaining. A conviction could result in fines, possible jail time, and even a requirement to register as a sex offender.
If you or your loved one was arrested for indecent exposure in the greater Denton area, do not wait to contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy. Our firm can fight these charges and possibly help you avoid a conviction.
Do not think that an indecent exposure conviction does not have long-term consequences. Our attorneys will discuss all of your legal options with you when you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.
Under Texas Penal Code § 21.08, a person commits the crime of indecent exposure when they expose their anus or any part of their genitals with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, and they are reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by their act. Texas Penal Code § 6.03(c) states that a person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding their conduct or the result of their conduct when they are aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor's standpoint.
Common examples of indecent exposure in Dallas can include:
A mother breastfeeding her child in public will not be considered indecent exposure for criminal purposes. Public lewdness is similar to indecent exposure, and Texas Penal Code § 21.07 provides that a person commits public lewdness when they knowingly engage in any of the following acts in a public place or, if not in a public place, they are reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by the person's:
The difference between these two crimes is that indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor while public lewdness is a Class A misdemeanor.
The sentence a person receives for indecent exposure or public lewdness will differ depending on the classification of the offense. In general, statutory maximums are as follows:
Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 62.001(5)(F), a second violation of Texas Penal Code § 21.08 relating to indecent exposure (unless it results in a deferred adjudication) is considered a “reportable conviction or adjudication.” This means that the person must register as a sex offender with a local law enforcement authority of the county where they reside for a period of 10 years.
When a person is accused of acting with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of another person, criminal intent remains incredibly difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. An alleged offender could contest such a charge by simply claiming such was not their intent.
In some other cases, alleged offenders may be able to argue that their genitals were not exposed, and prosecutors will often lack the evidence to contest such a claim. An alleged offender may also be able to claim that the exposure did not actually occur in the presence of other people in some cases.
Sex Offender Registration Program | Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) — Find information about the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program on this section of the TxDPS website. Sex Offender Frequently Asked Questions provide answers to many different questions. You can also find a link to Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure relating to the Sex Offender Registration Program.
Briceno v. State, 580 S.W.2d 842 (1979) — The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas heard this appeal from an appellant convicted of indecency with a child who argued the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of indecent exposure. The court found that the “elements of these two offenses are identical except that indecency with a child requires the defendant to know that a child is present, where indecent exposure requires that the defendant is reckless as to the presence of another person.” The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas reversed the judgment and remanded the cause.
Were you or your loved one arrested for indecent exposure in Denton or a surrounding area of Texas? You are going to need trusted legal representation in court.