At the Fulgham Law Firm, P.C., our seasoned criminal defense attorney is keenly aware of how devastating criminal charges can be, especially when they involve a claim of indecent exposure. In Texas, an indecent exposure conviction can result in numerous penalties, including jail time and mandatory sex offender registration. That is why it is critical to hire an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases, as early intervention can mean the diff
Indecent Exposure Charges In Fort Worth, Texas
Have you been arrested and charged with the crime of Indecent Exposure? If so, you must fight to get your criminal charges dismissed and removed from your criminal record. Your first priority should be to find a team of criminal defense attorneys with a proven track record of getting indecent exposure cases dismissed in Fort Worth, Texas.
At the Fulgham Law Firm, P.C., our seasoned criminal defense attorneys are keenly aware of how devastating criminal charges can be, especially when they involve a claim of indecent exposure.
In Texas, an indecent exposure conviction can result in numerous penalties, including jail time and mandatory sex offender registration if convicted. This is precisely why it is critical to hire a criminal attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases, as early intervention can mean the difference between jail time and freedom.
What Should You Do If A Detective Has Called You?
If you have learned that you are under investigation for indecent exposure and are being asked to speak with investigators about the case, do not do so without having a criminal lawyer by your side.
Why? Because anything you say can, and most definitely will, be used against you in court. A common tactic used by police officers is to call and claim they only want to hear your side of the story and let you move on with your life. However, this is very unlikely to happen. By the time a detective calls you, he will have already interviewed the alleged victim, gathered information from them and formulated an opinion regarding your guilt. What about the presumption of innocence afforded to you by the U.S. Constitution? Unfortunately, not every detective chooses to presume your innocence. Remember, attempting to clear your name by explaining everything that happened could put you in danger! What if a detective misinterprets your statements? What if he intentionally misrepresents your side of the story and claims it is confession? Be careful giving information that could allow the court to choose the detective’s word over yours.
Choosing to hire a criminal defense attorney to intervene on your behalf acts as a firewall between you and the detective. If the detective claims there is a witness statement that you indecently exposed yourself, a criminal attorney can talk to the detective and provide evidence establishing your innocence. Everything your criminal lawyer says to the detective is hearsay and cannot be used against you in court.
A criminal defense attorney will be able to review your legal options, advise you of your rights, and help you to proceed in your case with the most solid and effective defense strategies possible. Do not sacrifice your rights – contact the Fulgham Law Firm, P.C. today to learn more about how we can help you.
What Is Indecent Exposure?
Under the Texas Penal Code § 21.08 entitled “Indecent Exposure,” the law provides in pertinent part that: “(a) a person commits an offense if he exposes his anus or any part of his genitals with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, and he is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his act. (b) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.”
Is Indecent Exposure A Felony In Texas?
For a first-time offense of indecent exposure, it is not a felony. If convicted of indecent exposure, you would face a Class B Misdemeanor punishment, with a monetary fine of up to $2,000, and up to 180 days in jail, and mandatory counseling. Deferred adjudication or probation may be possible if you have no prior criminal record. Although deferred adjudication probation may sound like an option, beware the conditions of a probation for indecent exposure.
For example, in Tarrant County, Texas, it is common for the probation department to require first-time offenders to take sex offender counseling as a condition for probation. The class is referred to as Sexual Misconduct Counseling (SMC). As part of the class structure, many treatment providers require you to admit you have a problem with sexual deviancy as a prerequisite for completion of the program.
Repeat Offender Indecent Exposure In Texas
However, should you be deemed a repeat offender, or if the crime involved children, you could also be forced to register as a sex offender and face even stiffer fines and penalties.
For example, if you have previously been convicted or received deferred adjudication for indecent exposure, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
The worst part of being convicted for an indecent exposure case with a prior conviction is that you will face a mandatory 10-year sex offender registration. In other words, being convicted for a repeat offense of indecent exposure will place you with a 10-year sex offender registration that requires you to register as a sex offender anywhere you live. This information is made public to everyone in your community, and you are branded as a sexual deviant in the community. It is critical to fight you charges to avoid this stigma and punishment!
Legal Defenses To Indecent Exposure
If you are facing the crime of indecent exposure, it is critical to know the legal defenses necessary to achieve a favorable result. We will examine a few below:
Lack Of Intent To Arouse Or Gratify
As discussed earlier, in order to be convicted of the crime of indecent exposure in Texas, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you exposed yourself and that exposure was done with the specific intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of another.
What does this mean? What if you exposed yourself but you did not do so with the intent to arouse or gratify yourself or another person? How can the prosecutor prove this? The most common way that the district attorney’s office proves the crime of indecent exposure is to argue that the accused had an erection or was masturbating at the time of the exposure. Evidence of this behavior can be used to establish probable cause that the exposure had the specific intent arouse or gratify their sexual desire.
What if there is no erection or masturbation? Can the prosecutor prove that the exposure was done with the intent to arouse or gratify the desire of another person? In this situation, the prosecutor would need evidence that the accused said or acted in a manner that made it clear to the recipient that the exposure was made for their sexual gratification.
For example: an elderly man with dementia was at a gas station and walked up to the counter to pay for his gas. He partially pulled down his pants and walked to the counter and paid for his gas with the clerk. Did he expose himself? Yes. Did he act with the specific intent to arouse or gratify himself or another? In this situation, there was no evidence of an erection, and he was not masturbating. He also made no statements or acted in any manner that made the clerk believe it was done for her sexual gratification. As a result, the State of Texas had insufficient evidence to prove that the crime of indecent exposure had occurred.
Client Did Not Act Reckless As To Whether Another Would Be Present
In addition to proving that the accused exposed himself with the intent to arouse or gratify another, the State of Texas must also prove that the accused was reckless as to whether another person would be present that would be alarmed or offended by the act.
This happens commonly when someone sees another person exposing themselves in a remote area and believes they are masturbating or have an erection. We have had many cases where a woman sees a man urinating behind a tree or other area and observes this behavior and is offended. Is this indecent exposure? NO! First, there is no sexual element to the crime, but you must also inquire as to whether or not the accused was reckless as to his exposure. Did he expose himself in a manner that would be reckless as to whether someone else might be offended by his act? What if someone did expose themselves and had an erection or was masturbating but the surrounding facts would not have reasonably concluded that someone else would have been present to observe the act and become offended?
As you can see, this is a fact-specific inquiry, and your criminal defense attorney should thoroughly examine you or your loved one’s evidence to determine if the State of Texas can meet their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Remember, failure to prove each and every element of the crime of indecent exposure beyond a reasonable doubt will result in a dismissal of the charge or a not guilty verdict at a jury trial.
Regardless of the circumstances, it is important to realize that defenses may be available to either reduce or dismiss your charges. In Texas, it is not just the exposure that results in a conviction; the act must be done with the “intent to arose or gratify,” which the State has the burden of proving. Whether you have been falsely accused or made a mistake that led to your indecent exposure charges, our seasoned criminal defense lawyers are available now to help you now. We passionately believe that every person deserves superior legal representation to ensure that your constitutional rights are safeguarded at all times. Give us a call to find out about the difference we can make for you and your case.
Former Fort Worth Criminal Prosecutor Ready to Help You Now
If you or someone you love has been charged with indecent exposure or some other crime in Texas, contact our seasoned Forth Worth, Arlington and Tarrant County criminal defense attorney now at (817) 877-3030.
Our team of former prosecutors with over 80 years of criminal law experience and over five hundred jury trials stands ready to protect you from the State of Texas. We will take the time you need to review your case, develop strong legal defenses on your behalf, and ensure that you receive the best criminal defense that you deserve. Our initial consultation is always free, and it is also completely confidential, so do not hesitate to call us now to learn more about how we can help you. At the Fulgham Law Firm, P.C., our goal is to prevent jail time and to help you clear your record.
Call us right now to get help.
We have helped hundreds of people in Texas, and we can help you too. We will set you up with a free conversation with Mr. Fulgham which will help you know what to do next. The Fulgham Law Firm serves Fort Worth and Tarrant county areas.