Indecent Exposure Is a Crime
A recent incident on a Texas lake highlights the crime of indecent exposure. Although indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor – and not a felony – it remains a crime with severe penalties. These can include up to $2,000 in fines and up to 180 days behind bars. All of this is in addition to the profound social consequences of being convicted of a sex crime. You could even face being included on the sex offender registry.
The Incident in Question
In the incident in question, a teenage girl claims she was sunbathing on her Jet Ski when an older man on a boat asked her if she needed a ride. According to the teenager, the man was naked at the time. The young woman alerted the authorities to the incident. When she again spotted the man and his boat on the water at a later date, she not only alerted the authorities but also used her phone to snap a picture of his boat.
Indecent Exposure Laws in Texas
In the State of Texas, all of the following elements must be present for an act to be considered indecent exposure:
Exposing one's buttocks or anus or exposing any part of one's genitals
Acting with the intention of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of oneself or anyone else
Acting recklessly with regard to the presence of someone else who could be offended or alarmed by the behavior
If the charge is not the defendant's first, they are far more likely to receive the most severe penalties if convicted (and repeat offenders are more likely to be forced to register as sex offenders). Further, the Class B misdemeanor charge can be elevated to a third-degree felony if the defendant purposefully exposed himself or herself to a child who had not yet reached the age of 17. Penalties in such an instance can include fines of up to $10,000 and 2 to 10 years in prison, and these pertain regardless of whether it is a first offense or not.
It is easy to accuse someone of indecent exposure, but it is more difficult to prove that it did not happen, which means that, if you are facing indecent exposure charges, you need a seasoned criminal defense attorney on your side. Every charge of indecent exposure contains its own unique set of circumstances. Still, certain defense strategies commonly apply, including:
The accusation is false (either your accuser is mistaken, or the accusation was made as a form of revenge).
You were not aware of the exposure (intoxication can play a role in this defense – although it does not mitigate the behavior, it can highlight that you were not aware of what you were doing).
There was no intention of arousal involved, which is a necessary element of the charge).
Do Not Delay Consulting with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney
If you face indecent exposure charges, attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, has the legal acumen and experience you need. Every sexually-based charge is a serious charge, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.