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Texas Indecent Exposure Laws

When they say "don't mess with Texas" that includes showing Texas your privates. Exposing yourself to another person in Texas can result in indecent exposure charges. If you've been charged with indecent exposure you'll want to know how the crime is defined, what defenses might be available, and what kinds of punishments might result. The following chart provides information about Texas indecent exposure laws:

Statute Texas Indecent Exposure Statute - Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 21, Section 21.08
The Crime of Indecent Exposure

As in other states, indecent exposure is considered a sexual offense in Texas. In order for a defendant to be convicted on a charge of indecent exposure, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant exposed his anus or any part of his genitals with the intent to arouse the sexual desire of any person, and that he is reckless about whether another person is present who may be alarmed or offended by this act.

If there is any unwanted touching involved (such as groping or attempted rape), then the much more serious crime of sexual assault likely has occurred. See FindLaw's Sex Crimes section to learn about related offenses.

Defenses to Indecent Exposure Charges
  • Lack of intent - Since the intent must be to around sexual desire, urinating behind a dumpster likely would not be considered "indecent."
  • Insanity - Someone with a diagnosed mental illness or disorder may not be held accountable for certain acts (i.e. he/she lacks capacity).
  • Intoxication - This is not a standard defense to charges, but intoxication may be a mitigating factor in some cases (thus reducing penalties)
  • Age - Children are less likely to have had intent to arouse another individual by such an act of exposure than an adult.
Penalties and Sentences

In Texas, indecent exposure laws classify the crime as a "Class B" misdemeanor. This charge typically faces a penalty of not more than 180 days in a county jail and/or a fine of no more than $2,000. The sentence imposed will be at the discretion of the judge and will depend upon the circumstances of each defendant and the nature of the offense. For example, a defendant who has been convicted of the same charge in the past will likely face a harsher sentence than one who has not been convicted before.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Resources:

Feeling Exposed? Get Covered by a Texas Defense Lawyer

Although an indecent exposure charge may seem minor, you should remember that it is still considered a sexual offense and a conviction can result in some uncomfortable exchanges with neighbors, future employers, and others who may become aware of your record. You can avoid all of this continued exposure by taking your criminal defense seriously. Contact a local criminal defense attorney today.

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