Public Lewdness

Public lewdness is a type of sex crime that can destroy a person’s life.  In addition to jail time and fines, if a person has been convicted of public lewdness three or more times, he or she will be required to register as a sex offender — even if each instance involved a consenting adult partner. It is a Class A misdemeanor, with a potential penalty of up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $4,000.

In Dallas or the surrounding counties, the Law Office of Chad West offers an emergency jail release for clients arrested on public lewdness charges.  Call us anytime at 214-282-0035, and we will post bond for you and defend you on these charges.

Definition of Public Lewdness

In Texas, the charge of Public Lewdness is brought when a person engages in a particular sex act in public or while “reckless” as to whether someone else may be present who would be offended or alarmed. 

The sex acts may include:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Deviate sexual intercourse
  • Sexual contact
  • Sexual contact with a bird or animal

This statute has often been used to entrap people, particularly gay men in public restrooms, even in cases where there was no one else in the bathroom and the only witness was an undercover police officer.

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Under Texas law, a public place can be anywhere that the public or a substantial group of the public has access to, including:

  • A public park or outdoor space
  • A public bathroom
  • A car, if it is located in a parking lot or on the road
  • Common areas of an apartment building

Even if you were not having sex in a public place, you could still be charged with public lewdness if you were engaged in sexual activity in a place where other people could discover you and be offended or alarmed.  For example, if you share a house with others and have sex in the basement and a housemate walks in on you, that could result in a public lewdness charge if the person was offended or alarmed.

There are potential defenses to lewdness charges, which may include an argument that the person was entrapped or that the person was mistaken about how private the area was where they were engaged in sexual activity.  The law requires that you “knowingly” engage in the activity — and if you did not know that the place was public, or that someone else could walk in on you in a private place, that may be a defense.

Public Lewdness Defense Attorneys in Dallas, Texas

If you have been charged with Public Lewdness, contact the Law Office of Chad West immediately.  We will review your case and present you with a variety of options for resolving it, including filing a motion to quash the charge or arguing to the prosecutor that the case should be dismissed.  We also offer emergency release services if you are jailed on a Public Lewdness charge in Dallas or the surrounding counties. Call us 24/7 to request that we post bail or speak to us about representing you in a Public Lewdness case.