Couples should be permitted to show public displays of affection to each other despite other’s opinions. Unfortunately, some public displays of affection can make others uncomfortable and if the actions are sexual then it could result in a criminal charge for public lewdness. Public lewdness is normally charged as a misdemeanor; however, prosecutors tend to impose additional charges for other related sex crimes including indecent assault or exposure.
Don’t underestimate the impact of a misdemeanor conviction. A misdemeanor can result in expensive court fines in the thousands and possible jail time. What’s worse is a public lewdness conviction will become part of the offender’s record. They may face issues obtaining employment and housing due to their public lewdness conviction on their record.
Houston Public Lewdness Defense Lawyer | Harris County, TX
Have you recently been arrested for public lewdness in the Harris County and/or Houston area? Don’t attempt to justify your actions with law enforcement until you have legal representation ready. Call The Benken Law Firm to speak to an experienced and skilled attorney with Brian Benken.
Attorney Benken has decades of experience as he’s been practicing criminal defense since 1991. He can assess your charges, answer all your legal questions, and fight for your rights in court. Call The Benken Law Firm today at (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first consultation free. The Benken Law Firm is located in Houston, but accepts clients throughout Harris County including Greenspoint, Midtown, Memorial and Magnolia Park.
- What is Considered Public Lewdness?
- Penalty for Public Lewdness
- Examples of Public Lewdness in Texas
- Additional Resources
What is Public Lewdness?
Public lewdness is a sexual offense involving two people engaging in explicit conduct in public. The offense is defined under the Texas Penal Code Section 21.07(a) as knowingly or intentionally engaging in any of the following acts in a public area. You could also be charged with public lewdness if the sexual act wasn’t in a public place, but you and whoever else was committing the act was reckless about whether another person could be offended or alarmed.
The following acts are not permitted in public and could result in a public lewdness charge.
- Act of sexual contact
- Act of sexual intercourse
- Act of deviate sexual intercourse
It’s important to know the legal definitions of these terms so you have a thorough understanding of the charge. In Texas, a public place is defined under the Penal Code Section 1.07(40) as “a place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office building, transport facilities, and shops.”
Sexual intercourse is defined under the Penal Code Section 21.01(3). The statute establishes sexual intercourse as penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ. Deviate sexual intercourse is defined under the same section provision (3). It states the act is “any contact between any parts of the genitals of one person and the mount/anus of another person; or the penetration of the genitals or the anus of another person using an object.”
Lastly, sexual contact is defined as touching of the breast, anus, or any part of another person’s genitals with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of another person.
Public Lewdness Consequences
The penalties for public lewdness are listed under the Penal Code section 21.07(b). The crime is classified as a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- Up to 12 months in jail
- A fine of up to $4,000
The judge may impose additional court costs and fees as well as possible terms for probation.
Public Lewdness Examples
The majority of public lewdness offenses involve sexual acts between two people in a public or semi-public area. The following are a few examples of public lewdness as defined under the Texas Penal Code.
- Fooling around in a car parked in a public lot
- Engaging in sexual acts in a public bathroom
- Touching one another sexually, clothed or unclothed, in common areas of a building
- Having sexual intercourse in your background with a chain link fence
- Engaging in sex at work in the bathroom or “back room”
Texas Laws for Public Lewdness & Indecent Exposure – Visit the website of the Texas Legislature to learn more about public lewdness and indecent exposure crimes. Access the site to find more information about the legal definitions for the crime, look at the penalties for the offense, and learn about other related sex crimes.
Basics of the Texas Judicial System – Visit the official website for the Texas Judicial Branch to learn more about the basics of the Judicial System. Access the site to learn more about the different types of cases they take on, the court structure, steps of the trial, and more.
Public Lewdness Harris County Lawyer | Indecent Exposure, Sex Crimes
If you or someone you know has been arrested for public lewdness, call The Benken Law Firm. Brian Benken is a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with more than 3 decades of experience under his belt. He can analyze your case and determine what is the best defense so you can receive reduced/dismissed charges.
Call The Benken Law Firm today at (713) 223 - 4051. The Benken Law Firm accepts clients in the greater Houston and Harris County area as well as all parts of Texas.