All couples show public displays of affection in varying degrees, and of course this is legal. However, if the display of public affection begins to make other uncomfortable because the actions are inherently sexual—then it could turn into a charge for public lewdness. Public lewdness is classified as a misdemeanor offense under Texas law, but often prosecutors will impose additional charges for other related sex crimes such as indecent exposure.
It’s a common mistake by many defendants to not take public lewdness charges seriously until it’s too late. These charges can turn into a misdemeanor conviction, which despite misconceptions can create a massive impact on your life. If convicted, you could be required to pay expensive fines and possibly spend time in jail. To speak to a qualified attorney in detail about your options, call The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski.
Austin Public Lewdness Lawyer, TX | Travis County & Williamson County
Public lewdness, while a victimless crime, carries significant penalties that could significantly impact your life. Don’t speak a word to law enforcement and instead contact the experienced legal team at The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski for qualified assistance. Attorney Jackson F. Gorski has spent years defending clients from all types of sexual offenses ranging from indecent exposure to high-profile sexual assault or child pornography charges.
Gorski is more than prepared to take on any obstacle your case presents, and to mount a sturdy defense that can withstand the prosecution’s arguments. Schedule your first consultation with Attorney Gorski by calling his office at 512-960-4646 or simply submitting an online contact form. The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in both Georgetown and Austin but accepts clients throughout the greater Travis County and Williamson County area including Caldwell County, Milam County, Bell County, Blanco County, Hays County, Burnett County, and Lee County.
Texas Definition of Public Lewdness
Many assume public lewdness is simply PDA gone too far, and while that isn’t necessarily untrue the crime has a specific definition under Texas law. The crime is defined under the Texas Penal Code Section 21.07(a), which states it’s unlawful to knowingly or intentionally engage in any of the following acts in a public area.
- Acts of sexual intercourse
- Acts of deviate sexual intercourse
- Acts of sexual contact
It’s important to note that an individual can be charged with public lewdness even if the crime was not committed in a public place. However, the individual accused must have been committing one or more of the acts above in an area where another person could easily be alarmed or offended by their actions.
Knowing certain legal definitions may give you a better understanding of public lewdness charges. A “public place” in context to the crime of public lewdness is defined 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 common areas of schools, apartment houses, hospitals, transport facilities, office buildings, and shops.
“Sexual intercourse” as defined under the Penal Code Section 21.01(3) is any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ. “Deviate sexual intercourse” on the other hand is any contact between any parts of the genitals of one person and the anus of another person, or the penetration of genital or anus of another person using an object.
Penalties for Public Lewdness in Texas
Despite the fact public lewdness harms no one, the crime carries serious penalties. Texas Penal Code Section 21.07(b) states a conviction for public lewdness will result in a class A misdemeanor. The penalties for a class A misdemeanor include:
- Up to 12 months in jail
- A fine of up to $4,000
The judge may impose additional court costs and fees as well as possible terms for probation.
Examples of Public Lewdness
The majority of public lewdness acts are tied to sexual acts between two or more people. Listed below are examples of the crime public lewdness under the Penal Code.
- Engaging in sexual conduct in the bathroom or the “back room” in a public place
- Sexual intercourse in the defendant’s backyard with a see-through chain link fence
- Touching another person in a sexual manner in common areas of the building
- Fooling around in a motor vehicle with another person in a parking lot
Texas Laws for Public Lewdness– Visit the website of the Texas Penal Code to read more about the crime of public lewdness. Access the site to learn more about the elements of the crime, admissible defenses, penalties, and other related sexual offenses.
Texas Center for Justice & Equity (TCJE) – Visit the official website for the Texas Center for Justice and Equity, formerly known as the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. They are a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose goal is to partner with community partners to end mass incarceration in the State of Texas.
Travis County Public Lewdness Lawyer, TX
If you or someone you know has been arrested for the crime of public lewdness, it’s imperative you secure legal representation as soon as possible. Jackson F. Gorski can assess the facts of the case and develop a defense curated for your charges. From there, Attorney Gorski can execute this defense with his experienced legal team and advise you every step of the way.
Schedule your first consultation with The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski by calling our firm at 512-960-4646 or simply submit an online contact form. The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in both Austin and Georgetown, TX.