If you have been arrested for public lewdness in Texas, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney experienced in these claims as soon as possible to ensure your legal rights are protected. Without proper legal counsel, you face serious legal consequences. Those convicted of public lewdness in Texas face jail time, fines, and other consequences.
The elements of public lewdness
The crime of public lewdness is laid out in Texas Penal Code Section 21.07.
Someone may be convicted of public lewdness if that individual knowingly does any of the following in a public place:
- Engages in sexual intercourse
- Commits an act of deviate intercourse
- Engages in an act of sexual contact
- Commits an act that involves contact between the mouth or genitals and the anus or genitals of an animal or fowl.
If the offender is not in a public place, the offender may still be charged with public lewdness if that person is reckless about whether others who are present would be offended by such conduct.
If the offender committed an act “knowingly,” the offender acted in such a way that he should have reasonably known would cause a certain result.
If the offender committed an act “recklessly,” the offender was aware that a certain result may occur but consciously disregarded the risk of such a result occurring.
Penalties for public lewdness
Public lewdness is a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, an individual faces up to one year in jail. A fine of up to $4,000 may also be ordered. Depending on the circumstances of the case, someone convicted of public lewdness may also be required to register on the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry.
Defenses to public lewdness
Public lewdness requires that the offender knowingly committed the crime. What if you had no idea you were on public property? If other circumstances are met, your criminal defense attorney may be able to argue that you did not intend to commit the crime, because you did not know you were on public property.
Changes to the law
Effective September 1, 2017, the part of the law that criminalizes sexual contact with an animal or fowl will be removed from the public lewdness statute. Instead, it will be included under another offense called bestiality.
How can a criminal defense attorney help me?
Criminal defense attorneys are trained to study the facts of a case and determine whether they meet the elements of a crime. They also make sure that state prosecutors and other members of law enforcement provide sufficient evidence that shows a crime has actually been committed.
From the moment you hire a criminal defense attorney, your attorney is able to communicate on your behalf with law enforcement and prosecutors. If you discuss your case with these individuals, you may make statements that actually harm your defense
Your criminal defense attorney will also determine what, if any, defenses are available in your case. Your criminal defense attorney will work hard to gather evidence to support these defenses. You may not even know what defenses are available to you until you hire a criminal defense attorney. Rather than risk damage to your reputation, career, and personal life, it is best to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest.
Call today to schedule a free consultation with the Hampton Eppes Law Group
Brian Eppes spent much of his legal career as a prosecutor. He understands how to build strong defenses in criminal cases and protect his clients’ legal rights. To schedule your free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.