What is Required for a Public Lewdness Charge in Texas?

A charge of public lewdness in Texas is very serious.  One small sexual gesture with another could land you in jail for up to one year.  Public lewdness is often accompanied by individuals being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.  Being under the influence may cause certain individuals to behave in ways they would not behave while sober.  However, many people commit the same lewd acts while completely coherent and free from alcohol or drugs.

Under Texas law, public lewdness is defined as the following:

  • Sexual intercourse in a public place;
  • Deviate sexual intercourse in a public place;
  • Sexual contact in a public place; or
  • Conduct of a sexual nature involving an animal or fowl

The range of conduct that could fall into the definition of public lewdness ranges from minor to serious, yet the charge is the same regardless of the particular conduct.  The penalty for public lewdness is harsh.  The charge is considered a Class A misdemeanor in Texas.  A conviction can confine you to jail for up to one year, and you may have to pay a fine of up to $4,000.  Public lewdness may not seem as serious as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or possession of drugs, however, the state of Texas has determined that in order to deter, or discourage people from exhibiting sexual behaviors in public, the punishment needs to be quite strict.

Are There Defenses to a Public Lewdness Charge?

It is often difficult to get around the fact that you were engaged in sexual conduct in a public place.  However, if you were charged with public lewdness and believe the land you were on was private property, you may be able to use this to help either get your charge dismissed, or get your charge lowered to a less serious crime that does not carry the same penalties.

As with most misdemeanor crimes, the fight in court is not worth the risk of being convicted of the crime you have been charged with.  If you have retained an attorney experienced in all types of public lewdness charges, you will likely be able to avoid the maximum Class A misdemeanor penalties under Texas law.  For example, you may be able to plead to a lesser charge that would leave you with a fine and probation, or perhaps simply a fine.

Prevent the Conduct From Happening in the First Place

A charge of public lewdness is something that can easily be avoided.  Many people are not aware that Texas considers this charge to be the most serious of misdemeanors (even more serious than a first time DWI offender).  This may seem outrageous to some people, however, because the lewd conduct can be done in the privacy of one’s own home and not in public for fellow Texans to see, you should not put yourself at risk for serving jail time and paying up to $4,000 for conduct that simply did not have to occur in the public sphere.

Contact Our Office Today to Speak with Attorney Jack Pettit Regarding Your Public Lewdness Charge

If you have been charged with public lewdness, you need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney who is highly experienced in this area of criminal law.  This type of charge can be more serious than many people believe. Attorney Jack Pettit has helped thousands of clients with all types of criminal matters, including public lewdness and indecent behavior.  Allow Mr. Pettit to protect your rights and defend you against your public lewdness charge.  Mr. Pettit can be reached by calling 214-521-4567.  His office also provides legal services in both English and Spanish.  Mr. Pettit also accepts major credit cards.

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