Public Lewdness Crimes In Texas

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.

Indecent Assault Charge May Be Used to Reduce Felony Sex Charges

Indecent Assault charges may be used to reduce felony sex charges in Texas. Starting in September of 2021 law enforcement agencies across Texas can begin filing Indecent Assault cases which is a class A misdemeanor. This new law may provide another tool criminal attorneys can use in the plea bargain process.

Sex Assault crimes carry very serious consequences in Texas. The harsh penalties and lifetime sex registration requirements that come with convictions and sentences of deferred probations often make it difficult for defense attorneys and prosecutors to dispose of a case through plea bargain. That is why many defendants charged with sex offenses choose to go to trial rather than plead guilty.

The new misdemeanor offense of Indecent Assault, also known as groping, does not carry any type of sex registration requirements. The Indecent Assault charge is a misdemeanor offense.  The penalty range is from one day in jail up to one year in jail, and a defendant can receive deferred probation.

Sometimes criminal attorneys and prosecutors have a Sex Offense case which has facts they cause both sides to want to reach an agreement. One solution is to plead the case to a misdemeanor Indecent Assault charge. They could do this by reducing the charge as a lessor included offense or by filing the Indecent Assault charge and dismissing the Felony charge after the defendant pleads to the misdemeanor Indecent Assault. If the defendant received deferred probation for the Indecent Assault charge, then he could have that charge sealed upon successful completion of deferred probation.

A good criminal lawyer is always looking for options for the client to in order to obtain the best result when facing serious criminal charges.

Increased Penalties for Groping in Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill Friday that increases the penalty for Groping to jail time up to one year and a fine up to $4,000. The new crime is now called Indecent Assault and applies to any touching of the breast, buttocks, or genitals done with the intent to arouse or gratify the offender.

Prosecutions for this type of criminal offense are on the increase nation wide. Cuba Gooding Jr. Was recently charged with groping a woman in a Manhattan bar. The Texas bill passed without opposition and is further evidence the Me Too movement is having on the criminal justice system. After September police can arrest individuals if they believe there is probable cause that an Indecent Assault has occurred.

What type of evidence will we see to prove a groping offense? Primarily the complaining witness’s testimony and any other eye witnesses who may have seen the touching. There may also be video evidence available with the increase of security cameras in public places.

A class A misdemeanor carries serious consequences. Jail time up to one year or probation that can extend up to two years. A conviction for Indecent Assault can have serious consequences on a persons life. If you find yourself charged with a Groping offense seek the advice of an experienced criminal attorney right away.

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