Summers in Texas keep getting longer, drier, and hotter by the year. It is not uncommon for temperatures to rise above 100°F in the summer in Texas, which is why Texans escape the heat by wearing a minimum amount of clothes or staying indoors with air conditioning.
However, there are also those who stay indoors with no clothing at all. But can you be charged with indecent exposure for being naked in your own home in Texas? While you can face indecent exposure charges for being naked in public, you may also be charged with the crime if you get caught exposing your naked body to the public while being on your private property.
If you are accused of indecent exposure for wearing no clothes on your private property, contact a Florence criminal defense lawyer to find out the best defense to indecent exposure charges in your particular case.
What is Considered Indecent Exposure in Texas?
Wearing nothing at all in public can result in indecent exposure charges. However, you may also be charged with indecent exposure in Texas if you expose your naked body to the public while on your private property.
Under Texas Penal Code § 21.08, a person can face indecent exposure charges for exposing any part of their genitals or anus to other people with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual arousal of others. According to the definition of the criminal charge, a person accused of indecent exposure must be reckless about whether other people might get offended or alarmed by the exposure.
A person who exposes their private parts to others may not face any criminal charges if the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person had the intent to arouse another person. In most cases, urinating in public may not meet the definition of indecent exposure under Texas law unless there was the intent to arouse someone.
It is also important to point out that the definition of indecent exposure does not include female breasts. For this reason, whether or not a woman can be charged with indecent exposure for exposing her breasts to others in public is a tricky question. While the woman may not face indecent exposure charges in Texas, she may be charged with disorderly conduct.
Can You Face Indecent Exposure Charges for Being Naked in Your Own Home?
But what about being naked in your own home? Can you face criminal charges for walking around your private property without any clothes? The short answer is “yes.” You may be charged with indecent exposure if you expose your genitals or anus to the public while being on your private property. A simple example would be to stand completely naked on your porch.
However, even if someone sees you being naked in your own home, the prosecution must prove that you had the intent to arouse the person who saw you. It is advised to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you dismiss the charges filed against you for being naked on your private property.
What Are the Penalties for Indecent Exposure in Texas?
In Texas, indecent exposure is considered a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum of $2,000 in fines and up to 180 days in jail unless it is not your first offense. However, for a second indecent exposure conviction, you can be required to register as a sex offender for at least 10 years.
In addition, you can face the following penalties for an indecent exposure conviction in Texas:
Permanent criminal record;
Difficulty in finding employment;
Difficulty in finding housing;
Inability to apply for certain jobs;
Inability to apply for certain educational programs; and
The stigma of being convicted of indecent exposure – or any other sex crime, for that matter – can last a lifetime. For this reason, it is critical to contact a skilled criminal lawyer if you have been charged with indecent exposure to discuss your defense strategy.
Defenses to Indecent Exposure Charges in Texas
If you have been arrested for or charged with indecent exposure in Texas, an experienced and detail-oriented criminal defense attorney can help you identify the best defense strategy in your particular case. Some of the best defenses to indecent exposure charges include:
A lack of intent. As mentioned earlier, you cannot be convicted of indecent exposure if you lack the intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire. For example, if you accidentally took your pants off while attempting to take your shorts off near a swimming pool, you may not be charged with indecent exposure unless you exposed your genitals on purpose.
A mental illness. A mental illness is a defense to indecent exposure charges in Texas. A person diagnosed with a mental illness cannot face criminal charges because they lacked the mental capacity to understand what they were doing.
Intoxication. A court may also consider the defendant’s level of intoxication when deciding whether or not to charge him/her with indecent exposure.
Age. A child is unlikely to have the intent to arouse someone by exposing their genitals or anus in public. For this reason, a small child may not be charged with indecent exposure for being naked in public.
Breastfeeding. Under Texas law, women have the right to breastfeed babies in public.
When facing indecent exposure charges, the accused may argue that their genitals were not actually exposed. Without any photographs or videos, the prosecution may not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s private parts were exposed and they had the intent to arouse others.If you are facing indecent exposure charges in Texas, it is advisable to schedule a case review with a knowledgeable attorney to determine the best defense strategy in your specific situation. Get a free consultation with our Florence criminal defense lawyers at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to talk about your particular situation. Call (254) 220-4225 to get a case review.