Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure

What’s the Difference between Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure in Texas?

Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure are both crimes in the State of Texas. Public Lewdness is codified in Penal Code 21.07 and Indecent Exposure is codified in Penal Code 21.08.

What is Public Lewdness in Texas?

In the most general terms, Public Lewdness is having sex in public. Penal Code 21.07 defines Public Lewdness as an offense where a person 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:

  • Act of sexual intercourse;
  • Act of deviate sexual intercourse;
  • Act of sexual contact; OR
  • Act involving contact between the person’s mouth or genitals and the anus or genitals of an animal or fowl.


  • Deviate sexual intercourse is any contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person. The penetration of the genitals or anus of another person with an object is also considered deviate sexual intercourse.
  • Sexual contact is any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
  • Sexual intercourse means any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.

What is the punishment range for public lewdness in Texas?

Public Lewdness is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. It is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

What is Indecent Exposure in Texas?

Indecent Exposure is, in general terms, a person exposing himself to another. Penal Code 21.08 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 while being reckless about whether another person is present who will be offended or alarmed by his exposure.

What is the punishment range for indecent exposure in Texas?

Indecent Exposure is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas. The punishment range is:

  • Confinement: No more than 180 days in jail
  • Potential fine: Up to $2,000.

Indecent exposure and public lewdness are offenses that are taken seriously by prosecuting agencies throughout the state. If you are charged with a sex crime, even a misdemeanor offense such as these, you will want a criminal defense attorney that is experienced in handling these types of matters. Combined our attorneys have over half a century of experience handling criminal cases. Call us at (817) 203-2220 to find out how our experience can help you.

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About the Author

Benson Varghese

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Benson Varghese is the Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a state and federal practitioner who has handled thousands criminal cases and taken over 100 cases to trial by jury. Benson is frequently called upon to handle cases that require a high degree of knowledge in technology, scientific evidence, forensic evidence, as well as serious intoxication cases. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.

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