Facing charges for indecent exposure can seem overwhelming and stressful. In Texas, being convicted of indecent exposure can lead to serious penalties, including jail time, fines, and possibly registering as a sex offender. If you are convicted, you will face having a permanent criminal record that can appear on background checks, affecting your employment and housing opportunities.
Contact an Experienced Houston, Texas Indecent Exposure Attorney
Understandably, many people who have been arrested and charged with indecent exposure in Texas are embarrassed or scared. They may be hesitant to reach out to a criminal defense attorney to discuss their case. At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we understand that good people make mistakes every day and that many people are falsely accused of crimes they never committed. Contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys today to schedule your initial consultation.
Understanding Texas’ Indecent Exposure Law
Texas defines indecent exposure as a person exposing his anus or any part of his genitals with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. Additionally, the person charged must have acted recklessly about whether another person is present who would be offended or alarmed by his actions. A person can be charged in Texas if they engage in any of the following actions:
- Exposes his or her anus or buttocks
- Exposes any part of his or her genitals, and
- Acts with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, or
- Acts recklessly as to the presence of another person who could be offended or alarmed
What If I Thought I Was Alone?
If you were charged with indecent exposure but were alone in a public space when it happened, you might be wondering whether you’ll be convicted. You could be convicted if you acted recklessly as to the presence of other people who could be offended or alarmed. For example, even if you didn’t see anyone surrounding you but knew that the area was a public place and continued with the indecent exposure, you could still face charges.
Proving the Elements of Indecent Exposure in Texas
The definition of recklessness means committing an act, being aware that the conduct could result in people being offended, but consciously disregarding the possibility that would happen. Remember, not all cases of indecent exposure result in a conviction by the prosecutor. To succeed in convicting a defendant, the prosecutor needs to prove that the defendant committed every single element of indecent exposure beyond a reasonable doubt. Doing so can be a difficult burden for prosecutors to meet. Working with an experienced attorney can help the outcome of your indecent exposure case significantly.
The penalties for indecent exposure in Texas depend on multiple factors. In Texas, indecent exposure is considered a Class B misdemeanor. The court will consider the defendant’s prior criminal history, his or her mental state at the time of the alleged incident, and the degree of indecent exposure. For a first-time offender, a defendant faces Class B misdemeanor charges, punishable by up to 180 days in prison and/or a fine of not more than $2,000.
When a defendant is charged with second or subsequent indecent exposure, he or she will face a more serious Class A misdemeanor charge. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $4,000. In Texas, indecent exposure is considered a sex crime. As with any other sex crime, a conviction can result in the following additional consequences:
- Registering as a sex offender for a second or subsequent offense
- Public humiliation or embarrassment
- Difficulties related to one’s personal and dating life
- Refusal to be admitted to specific graduate school programs or colleges
- An inability to apply for certain types of jobs, professional licenses, or occupations
- Difficulty obtaining any form of employment
- Difficulty renting a home or apartment
- Living with a permanent criminal record
Defending Against Charges in Houston
Every case is unique and requires a unique legal defense. After carefully reviewing the evidence in your case, one of the experienced attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC will be able to develop a legal strategy tailored to your unique case. Remember, prosecutors must prove every element of the crime of indecent exposure. They will need to prove that you intended to expose a prohibited body part. If you expose yourself accidentally, your attorney will argue that the prosecution cannot convict you.
The prosecutor will also need to show that you performed the act, you had intent to sexually arouse or gratify, or that you did so with reckless disregard for another person’s sensibilities. Proving that you intended to arouse or gratify sexually is challenging, and one of our skilled defense attorneys can begin poking holes in the prosecution’s case regarding your intent. Indeed, building a case to show that you lacked the intent to arouse or upset anyone sexually is one of the best ways to defend against your charges.
In addition to lack of intent, your attorney may be able to argue that you lack the mental capacity to commit the crime. A person with a mental illness may not have had the mental capacity to commit the crime. If you were intoxicated at the time of the alleged incident, you could present evidence of the intoxication as a mitigating factor.
Discuss Your Indecent Exposure Case With a Houston Attorney Today
The criminal defense attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC understand the fear and stress associated with being charged with indecent exposure. If you or your loved one have been charged with indecent exposure in Texas, you may be unsure how to proceed with your case. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC today to schedule your free initial consultation. We will carefully investigate your case and provide you with a skilled and effective criminal defense.