People who are charged with indecent exposure in Texas are accused of sex crimes. The same section of the Texas Penal Code includes public lewdness as another offense involving public displays of nudity or sexual behavior.
Convictions for indecent exposure can carry the risk of possible fines and even jail time. In addition to these penalties, alleged offenders could also be required to register as sex offenders in some cases.
Indecent Exposure Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX
Were you or your loved one arrested for indecent exposure in the greater Fort Worth area, you will need to take your indecent exposure charges very seriously. Contact our firm as soon as you can.
Call (817) 422-5350 or contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your alleged offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas.
Indecent Exposure Charges in Fort Worth
Under Texas Penal Code § 21.08, a person commits the crime of indecent exposure when they expose their anus or any part of their genitals with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, and they are reckless about whether another person is present who will be alarmed or offended by their act. Under Texas Penal Code § 6.03(c), a person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding their conduct or the result of their conduct when they are aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur, and the risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.
Indecent exposure in Fort Worth may involve:
- Nude sunbathing
- Urinating in public
- Flashing or exposing sexual organs in public
- “Mooning” or exposing your rear in public
A mother breastfeeding her child in public is never considered indecent exposure for criminal purposes. Under Texas Penal Code § 21.07, a person commits public lewdness when they knowingly engage in any of the following acts in a public place or, if not in a public place, they are reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by the person:
- act of sexual contact;
- act of sexual intercourse; or
- act of deviate sexual intercourse.
Indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor, but public lewdness is a Class A misdemeanor.
Penalties for Indecent Exposure in Texas
The difference between indecent exposure and public lewdness convictions is that the respective crimes have different grades. Convictions may be punishable as follows:
- Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000.
- Class B Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000.
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 62.001(5)(F) establishes that a second violation of Texas Penal Code § 21.08 relating to indecent exposure (unless it results in a deferred adjudication) is considered a “reportable conviction or adjudication.” An offender will have to register as a sex offender with a local law enforcement authority of the county where they reside for a period of 10 years.
Indecent Exposure Defenses in Tarrant County
It is important to understand that intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of another person is incredibly challenging to prove beyond a reasonable doubt because a prosecutor has no way of knowing what an alleged offender was actually thinking unless a person specifically stated they had such intent. One of the most basic defenses to these crimes can be that you had to intend to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of another person.
Other defenses could be more technical relating to the alleged violations. For example, a person may claim that their genitals were not exposed or that the exposure did not occur in the presence of another person.
Indecent Exposure Resources in Tarrant County
Briceno v. State, 580 S.W.2d 842 (1979) — An appellant convicted of indecency with a child argued the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of indecent exposure. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas found that the “elements of these two offenses are identical except that indecency with a child requires the defendant to know that a child is present, whereas indecent exposure requires that the defendant is reckless as to the presence of another person.” The court reversed the judgment and remanded the cause.
Ex Parte Amador, 326 S.W.3d 202 (Tex. Crim. App. 2010) — The question in this case was whether double jeopardy prohibited the state from obtaining a conviction for an offense when an alleged offender has previously been convicted of a lesser-included offense of that offense. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas held that it does. It also stated it had to determine the continuing validity of its holding in Briceno v. State, 580 S.W.2d 842 (Tex.Crim.App.1979), that the offense of indecent exposure was a lesser-included offense of the offense of indecency with a child by exposure. The court reaffirmed that holding. The Court wrote that double jeopardy prohibits the State from obtaining a conviction for an offense if the alleged offender has previously been convicted of a lesser-included offense of that offense. Brown v. Ohio, 432 U.S. 161, 97 S. Ct. 2221 (1977) The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas reaffirmed its holding in Briceno that indecent exposure is a lesser-included offense of indecency with a child by exposure. The court of appeals therefore erred in failing to apply that holding to the present case. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas reversed the judgment of the court of appeals, and remanded the case to the trial court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Gengnagel v. State, 748 S.W.2d 227 (Tex. Crim. App. 1988) — Ronald Melvin Gengnagel was convicted by a jury of the offense of indecent exposure. Punishment was assessed by the jury at a $1000 fine which was probated. On appeal to the Dallas Court of Appeals, Gengnagel’s conviction was reversed and the information was dismissed. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, En Banc granted the state’s petition for discretionary review to determine the correctness of the Court of Appeals’ dual holding that the information was fundamentally defective and that the trial court erred in denying appellant an opportunity to cross-examine a state’s witness as to matters affecting that witness’ credibility. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, En Banc agreed with the Court of Appeals that the information was fundamentally defective and affirmed the dismissal of the information. Gengnagel contended on appeal, and the Court of Appeals agreed, that the information was fundamentally defective for failure to allege with reasonable certainty the acts relied upon to constitute recklessness.
Gengnagel did not challenge the information by a motion to quash at trial. The State argues in its petition that the Court of Appeals erred in finding the information fundamentally defective since the alleged defect is a matter of form which must be challenged by a motion to quash and which cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. The Court of Appeals relied on Brown v. State, 558 S.W. 2d 471 (Tex.Cr.App.1977), in finding the information fundamentally defective. The State contended that the Brown decision conflicts with our holding in Graham v. State, 657 S.W.2d 99 (Tex.Cr.App.1983). The Court of Criminal Appeals ruled the State was correct that this ground may not be raised for the first time on appeal, but that was not Gengnagel’s contention. The Court of Criminal Appeals found that the information in the present cause did not inform Gengnagel of the nature of his alleged recklessness.
Although the information alleged that Gengnagel exposed himself to another person, Kenneth Gore, the information does not allege any act or circumstances which would show that this exposition was done in a reckless manner, as required by Art. 21.15, supra. In order to comply with Art. 21.15, supra, the State must allege circumstances which indicate that Gengnagel was aware of the risk that another person was present who would be offended by his act of exposing himself and that appellant acted in conscious disregard of that risk. The Court of Criminal Appeals therefore found that the information in this cause was fundamentally defective for failing to allege with reasonable certainty the act relied upon by the State to show that Gengnagel acted recklessly. The State’s first ground for review is overruled. The judgment of the Court of Appeals reversing the judgment of the trial court and dismissing the information was affirmed.
Sex Offender Registration Program | Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) — Learn more about the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program. Find answers to many Sex Offender Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The website also includes a link to Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure relating to the Sex Offender Registration Program.
Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Indecent Exposure Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
If you or your loved one have been arrested for indecent exposure in Fort Worth or a surrounding area of Tarrant County, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel. Our firm will provide an aggressive defense and fight to help you achieve the most desirable outcome to your case.
Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area. We can help you better understand the nature of your charges and also examine your possible defense options.