If you have been arrested for indecent exposure, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to gain an understanding of your legal rights. It is possible that before, during, or after your arrest, your constitutional rights were violated and you may be entitled to a reduction or dismissal of your charges. Without hiring a criminal defense attorney, however, you may be unaware of these options.
Indecent exposure defined
Texas Penal Code Section 21.08 defines indecent exposure.
An individual may be convicted of indecent exposure if that person exposes the genitals or anus to someone else. The individual must have the intent to arouse the other person, and it must also be shown that the individual was reckless about whether others who are present may be offended or alarmed.
Note that there is no distinction between private and public property in this statute. Someone may be arrested for indecent exposure regardless of where the crime actually took place.
Prosecutors must show that the accused had the intent to arouse someone else when the genitals or anus were exposed. If the accused did not intend to arouse the other person, charges for indecent exposure may not be proper.
Hundreds of individuals are arrested for indecent exposure every year for acts such as:
- Urinating in public
- “Flashing” someone
- Tanning topless outside
However, many of these charges are dismissed because they do not meet all of the elements of the crime. Experienced criminal defense attorneys will argue that charges should be reduced or dismissed when appropriate.
Penalties for indecent exposure
Indecent exposure is a class B misdemeanor. An individual convicted of indecent exposure faces up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Registering on the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry may also be required, depending on the nature of the crime.
Evidence considered in indecent exposure cases
Every case is different and will include a variety of evidence. Commonly, indecent exposure cases use the following types of evidence:
- Eyewitness statements
- Video surveillance
- Police reports
However, some evidence may not be admissible in court. In many cases, evidence is not admissible if it violates the accused’s constitutional rights or if it is not relevant to the case. Your criminal defense attorney will be able to study the evidence gathered in the case to determine whether it is admissible or not.
When should I hire a criminal defense attorney?
Hiring a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest is key to the success of your case. If you have not been arrested but are concerned that charges may be brought against you, you should still consult with an attorney so that the attorney can investigate the charges and determine what steps should be taken to protect your rights.
When you hire a criminal defense attorney, your attorney communicates about the case on your behalf. This prevents you from making statements to law enforcement that may damage your defense. In addition, your attorney knows the filing deadlines and other legal requirements that are necessary in your case. You may focus on rebuilding your life after your arrest while your attorney handles your court case. Hiring an attorney is one of the best steps you can take after charges have been brought against you.
Have you been arrested?
If you have been charged with indecent exposure, contact the Hampton Eppes Law Group. Jeff Hampton and Brian Eppes are former prosecutors with unique insight into the criminal justice system. To schedule your free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.