Public Lewdness Charges
You have probably heard of public lewdness, but it sounds so old fashioned that you may not have any idea what such a charge is about. The fact is that you can be charged with public lewdness in the State of Texas, but better understanding this often-misunderstood charge can help you avoid such an occurrence.
What Constitutes Public Lewdness?
In Texas, it is against the law to engage in sexual activity in a public place. Sexual activity in this context refers to nearly any sexual contact between two people (or between a person and an object or animal that arouses or satisfies a sexual urge). A public place in this context refers to anywhere that the public has – or a substantial group of the public have – access. Texas laws regarding public lewdness are quite broad, which means that an act you consider quite private may be viewed as public lewdness in the eyes of the state.
There Is a Distinction between Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure
While the terms public lewdness and indecent exposure are often used interchangeably, there is a legal distinction. If you are alleged to have knowingly engaged in sexual conduct in public, the charge is public lewdness. If you are alleged to have exposed your genitals for sexual gratification or arousal, however, the charge is indecent exposure.
Charges and Attendant Penalties
If you are charged with public lewdness in Texas, you are facing a Class A misdemeanor that can carry all of the following penalties:
A jail sentence of up to 12 months
Fines of up to $4,000
Probation and/or community service
There are, however, also important social consequences associated with a public lewdness conviction to consider (predicated on the fact the conviction can be accessed via a background check), including:
Having difficulty renting or buying a house or apartment
Having difficulty finding work
Having one’s professional licensure revoked
Failing to obtain financial aid to further one’s education
Being excluded from private organizations
It is important to note that a public lewdness conviction – as serious as it is – is not reportable in Texas, which means that you will not be required to register as a sex offender.
Mount Your Most Robust Defense
If you are facing a charge of public lewdness, it is time to mount your most robust defense, which may include that there was no sexual intent on your part, that you believed the act in question was private, or that your state of mind was other than sexual arousal at the time. The most important order of business is working closely with a dedicated criminal defense attorney who has a significant amount of experience successfully defending the rights of clients facing similar charges.
Reach out to a Reputable Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you are facing a charge of public lewdness, the time to address the issue is now. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a formidable criminal defense lawyer who is committed to diligently defending your rights in pursuit of your most favorable case resolution. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 today.