Public Lewdness in Texas | Is it Illegal to Have Sex in Public?

public lewdness in Texas

Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure are both crimes in the State of Texas that involve nudity or sexual acts in public. Public Lewdness is codified in Penal Code 21.07.

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; OR
  • Act of sexual contact.

Penal Code 21.07

(a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly engages in any of the following acts in a public place or, if not in a public place, the person is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by the person’s:

(1) act of sexual intercourse;

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(2) act of deviate sexual intercourse; or

(3) act of sexual contact.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

Is having sex in public illegal in Texas?

Having sex in public can lead to the misdemeanor charge of Public Lewdness.


  • 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.

Public Lewdness and Gun Rights in Texas

If you are convicted of public lewdness, you will be prohibited from having a License to Carry for a period of five years.

Our Goals for a Public Lewdness Case

Public lewdness carries with it a stigma that few cases have. Although it is a misdemeanor, most people look at this charge as an act of sexual deviance. Our goals for a public lewdness charge is to seek opportunities to resolve the case in a manner that avoids jail time, a conviction, and allows for an expunction or nondisclosure in the future. While this may not always be possible, we want to do everything we can to prevent this charge from adversely affecting you in the future.

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Call for a complimentary strategy session. During this call we will:

  • Discuss the facts of your case;
  • Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
  • Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.

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Benson Varghese

Managing Partner at Varghese Summersett PLLC
Benson Varghese is the founder and Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a prolific writer and has authored hundreds of articles about criminal law in Texas and at the Federal level. His articles have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Above the Law, and have been selected as Top Blogs by the State Bar of Texas. He was named the Young Lawyer of the Year in 2019 by the Tarrant County Bar Association. Benson led the firm to become one of the 500 fastest growing businesses in the United States by Inc 500 Magazine in 2018. In the same year, the firm was named the Best Law Firm in Fort Worth by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.
Benson Varghese