In Texas, you can be arrested for the crime of public lewdness under a variety of circumstances. Typically, if it’s alleged that you’ve engaged in some form of sexual contact, in a public place, you can be charged with this offense. By law, a public place is considered to be a place to which a reasonable degree of the public has access. Under this definition, even if you and your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/whatever find a deserted side road on which to “get busy,” both of you can be arrested and charged with public lewdness. Also, even if you’re in a private place, you can be charged with this crime, if it’s alleged that you were reckless with respect to whether someone else might have been offended by your conduct. Dancers at gentlemen’s clubs are often charged with this offense. Undercover officers, posing as club patrons, sometimes patrol these establishments, looking for dancers whom they believe are engaging in conduct that runs afoul of this statute.
Public lewdness is a Class A misdemeanor, with a penalty range that includes up to one year in the county jail, and up to a $4,000 fine, though probation is also possible. If you’ve been arrested or charged with public lewdness, you need serious legal help. You should contact Berlof & Newton, P.C. at 214.827.2800. Se habla español. Call today, or email one of our attorneys directly by using the “Get Legal Help Now!” from in the left margin of this web page. Free consultation. Each of our lawyers has over fifteen years of experience in criminal defense law. We can help!
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Texas Penal Code Section 21.07. PUBLIC LEWDNESS. (a) A person commits an offense if he knowingly engages in any of the following acts in a public place or, if not in a public place, he is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his:
(1) act of sexual intercourse;
(2) act of deviate sexual intercourse;
(3) act of sexual contact; or
(4) act involving contact between the person’s mouth or genitals and the anus or genitals of an animal or fowl.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.