Public displays of affection can make some people uncomfortable, and public conduct that is sexually explicit can result in people being charged with the crime of public lewdness. On its own, public lewdness is a misdemeanor offense, but prosecutors may pursue additional criminal charges for other related sex offenses, such as indecent exposure.
Misdemeanor convictions can still carry some very costly consequences, including large fines and possible jail time. Worse yet, a public lewdness conviction becomes part of an offender's criminal record and can cause numerous hardships in matters relating to employment, housing, or professional licensing.
Lawyer for Public Lewdness Arrests in Austin, TX
Were you recently arrested for alleged public lewdness anywhere in Central Texas? Do not attempt to justify your alleged actions or say anything else to authorities until you have legal representation. Contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today.
Austin criminal defense attorney Kevin Bennett defends clients charged with sexual crimes in communities all over Travis County, such as Lago Vista, West Lake Hills, Austin, Pflugerville, Bee Cave, Lakeway, Sunset Valley, and many others.
Call (512) 476-4626 to have our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.
Travis County Public Lewdness Information Center
- How does a person commit this crime?
- What are the consequences of being convicted of public lewdness?
- Where can I learn more about public lewdness in Austin?
Under Texas Penal Code § 21.07(a), a person commits a public lewdness offense if he or she knowingly engages in any of the following acts in a public place or, if not in a public place, he or she is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his or her:
- Act of sexual intercourse;
- Act of deviate sexual intercourse; or
- Act of sexual contact.
The definitions of the terms used in this statute are very important in determining whether to file criminal charges. A public place is defined by Texas Penal Code § 1.07(40) as "any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops."
Texas Penal Code § 21.01(3) defines sexual intercourse as "any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ." Deviate sexual intercourse is defined under Texas Penal Code § 21.01(1) as "any contact between any part of the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person; or the penetration of the genitals or the anus of another person with an object."
Under Texas Penal Code § 21.01(2), sexual contact is defined as "any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person."
Texas Penal Code § 21.07(b) establishes that public lewdness is a Class A misdemeanor. Convictions are punishable as follows:
- Up to one year in jail; and/or
- A fine of up to $4,000.
Convictions may also include other courts costs and fees as well as possible terms of probation. If an alleged offender is not convicted of public lewdness, that individual can have the arrest expunged from his or her criminal record. People convicted of this crime may still be able to obtain an order of nondisclosure that seals the record of the arrest from public view.
Hines v. State, 906 S.W.2d 518 (Tex. Crim. App. 1995) — The appellant in this case was convicted of public lewdness after engaging in sexual contact with a 13-year-old child in an area that was not a public place. The Sixth Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of conviction, holding that although the appellant's conduct may have constituted indecency with a child, it did not amount to public lewdness, "in light of the history and wording of the public lewdness statute." The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that the State did not prove the appellant was reckless with regard to the presence of a third party in order to establish an offense under the non-public-place theory of public lewdness and affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals.
Five arrested at park restroom ‘popular’ for public lewdness — View a March 29, 2016 KXAN-TV story about five people arrested as the result of an Austin Police Department sting operation at a restroom in Walnut Creek Park. Three individuals were charged with indecent exposure while two others were charged with public lewdness. The article notes that previous sting operations at Walnut Creek resulted in three arrests each in January and September of 2012 for indecent exposure and public lewdness.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett | Austin Public Lewdness Defense Attorney
If you were arrested anywhere in Central Texas for an alleged public lewdness offense, it will be in your best interest to quickly retain legal counsel. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents both residents and visitors in Bastrop County, Caldwell County, Travis County, Hays County, and Williamson County.
Kevin Bennett is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Austin who will work to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case, including having the charges reduced or dismissed. You can have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (512) 476-4626 or submit an online contact form to receive a free, confidential consultation.