If you have been charged with indecent exposure in Texas, you are accused of a sexual offense. The very same section of the Texas Penal Code also lists public lewdness as another crime involving public displays of nudity or sexual behavior.
Convictions for indecent exposure carry the possible risk of fines and even jail time. On top of these penalties, alleged offenders could also be required to register as sex offenders.
Were you or your loved one arrested for indecent exposure in the greater Plano area? You need to take the criminal charges very seriously.
Texas Penal Code § 21.08 establishes that 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 person is present who will be alarmed or offended by their act. Under Texas Penal Code § 6.03(c),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, and 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.
Indecent exposure in Plano may involve:
● Nude sunbathing
● Urinating in public
● Flashing or exposing sexual organs in public
● “Mooning” or exposing your rear in public
A mother breastfeeding her child in public is never considered indecent exposure for criminal purposes. Under Texas Penal Code § 21.07, 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:
● act of sexual contact;
● act of sexual intercourse; or
● act of deviate sexual intercourse.
Indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor but public lewdness is a Class A misdemeanor.
The difference between indecent exposure and public lewdness convictions is that the respective crimes have different grades. Convictions may be punishable as follows:
● Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000.
● Class B Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000.
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure §62.001(5)(F) establishes that 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.” An offender will have to register as a sex offender with a local law enforcement authority of the county where they reside for a period of 10 years.
It is important to understand that intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of another person is incredibly challenging to prove beyond a reasonable doubt because a prosecutor has no way of knowing what an alleged offender was actually thinking unless a person specifically stated they had such intent. One of the most basic defenses to these crimes can be that you had the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of another person.
Other defenses could be more technical relating to the alleged violations. For example, a person may claim that their genitals were not exposed or that the exposure did not occur in the presence of another person.
Briceno v. State, 580 S.W.2d 842 (1979) — An appellant convicted of indecency with a child argued the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of indecent exposure. The The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas 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 reversed the judgment and remanded the cause.
Sex Offender Registration Program | Texas Department of Public Safety (Tx DPS) — Learn more about the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program. Find answers to many Sex Offender Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The website also includes a link to Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure relating to the Sex Offender Registration Program.
If you or your loved one have been arrested for indecent exposure in Plano or a surrounding area of Collin County, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel. Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy right away.
Our firm will provide an aggressive defense and fight to help you achieve the most desirable outcome to your case. Our lawyers can answer all of your legal questions (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.