In Texas, public lewdness is a crime that involves engaging in sexual activity or exposing one’s genitals in a public place where others are present. It is generally classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a potential penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. A defendant can also receive probation if they haven’t been convicted a of a felony.
Under Texas law, a person commits the crime of public lewdness if they knowingly engage in any of the following activities in a public place or, if not in a public place, where they can be readily observed from a public place:
- Sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse
- Act of sexual gratification involving the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person
- Act of sexual gratification involving the penetration of the anus or female sexual organ of an animal or fowl by any means
- Exposure or exhibition of the genitals, the anus, or any part of the female breast below the top of the areola with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person
It is important to note that public lewdness is a specific intent crime, which means that the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to engage in the prohibited activity and knew that it was in a public place or could be observed from a public place. If the sexual act didn’t take place in public a person can still be found guilty if the prosecution can prove the defendant was reckless about the sex act being observed by another person. The prosecution must also prove the that the other person was offended or alarmed by viewing the sex act.
If you have been charged with public lewdness in Texas, it is important to seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you understand the charges against you, advise you of your legal options, and defend you against the charges in court.