While it might not seem like a serious offense, a charge of indecent exposure is a sexual crime that can carry serious penalties. Simply put, if you’re not taking this seriously yet, you should be. The consequences of being labeled a sexual predator will have lifelong ramifications that will haunt you for the remainder of your life if not handled quickly, professionally, and properly.
If you or a loved one has been charged with indecent exposure, don’t try to fight this charge alone. You need an experienced defense firm that knows the law and will help you get through this difficult time with as few problems as possible.
There is no question that this charge is the most dangerous and life-altering moment in your life. If you or someone you love has been accused of this serious offense, it’s expected and natural for you to be petrified. What you need is to pull yourself together and start fighting for your life. However, you should not fight this alone. You don’t just need a lawyer, you need a team of experienced sex crime defense lawyers and staff. Schiffer Law Firm is that team.
With over 45 years of combined defense experience, as well as working in both state and federal prosecutors’ offices, both prosecuting and defending sex crimes cases, our attorneys have found that investigation and intensive preparation are the keys to a successful resolution.
According to Title 5, Chapter 21, Section 21.08 of the Texas Penal Code, indecent exposure is any person exposing their anus or genitals with the intent to gratify sexual desire or to sexually arouse themselves or the victim. The act may be intentional, but can also be reckless, depending on whether or not another person who might be offended or alarmed was present during the exposure.
There doesn’t need to be any physical contact with a victim in order for the crime of indecent exposure to occur.
If contact is made, the charge is elevated to a sexual assault charge, most likely a felony.
A charge of indecent exposure is a misdemeanor. If, however, you exposed yourself in front of a minor under the age of 17, you might be charged with indecency with a child by exposure. This sex crime is a felony offense in Texas and is considered a much more serious crime than the misdemeanor crime of indecent exposure. The crime of indecency with a child by exposure carries different penalties, as well as far-reaching ramifications that will impact the rest of your life.
In an indecent exposure case, the burden falls on the prosecutor to prove not only that the exposure itself occurred, but that there was an intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire. The prosecution will also have to prove that the accused had reckless disregard toward another person who could have been offended or alarmed by the exposure.
Since there is more to the case than the simple fact that someone exposed his or her genitals or anus in front of someone else, a conviction of indecent exposure is not automatically achieved. The prosecution must prove the requisite intent beyond a reasonable doubt. A good defense team, like Schiffer Law Firm, understands this and will strategize your defense to get you the best favorable result possible.
If you’ve had a youthful indiscretion and flashed or mooned a buddy or passersby, that doesn’t necessarily fit the definition of indecent exposure. While it may meet part of the criteria, the intent to sexually arouse or gratify isn’t present. Against an experienced defense attorney, a prosecutor might have a hard time convicting on this charge to make it stick, because of the lack of requisite intent.
In Texas, indecent exposure is considered a Class B misdemeanor unless it’s done in the presence of a minor, at which point it becomes a felony. If you’re convicted of this crime, you can be sentenced up to 180 days in jail, and fined up to $2,000.
The length of your sentence and the fines attached to it are up to the discretion of a judge or jury who might consider positive or negative factors to determine your final sentence. These factors can be your criminal record, the severity of the incident, and your character, as well as many others. Schiffer Law Firm will work with you to identify your individual mitigating factors, and use those to get you the best possible outcome.
For example, if you’ve never before committed a crime, a judge or jury might be more lenient than they would be with someone who has a criminal record, especially one including previous exposures. Similarly, a serial flasher who has terrorized a neighborhood with his or her actions might be given the maximum sentence available.
If you are convicted of indecent exposure, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony conviction, you will have a permanent criminal record which will show up in background checks to whomever looks for it, including potential employers and landlords. In addition, you might be required to register as a sex offender.
If you are convicted of indecent exposure more than once, you’ll have to register as a sex offender every year for the 10 years following your discharge from supervision. The only way to avoid this is to get a deferred adjudication for your second offense if it is even available at all.
If you are required to register as a sex offender, some of the consequences are:
Just because you are charged with indecent exposure, it doesn’t mean that you’re guilty of the crime. Even if you’re demonized in the public eye, a good defense attorney is able to defend against an indecent exposure charge in different ways in order to help you maintain your freedom and regain your reputation as an outstanding citizen.
One defense is a lack of intent. As the Texas Penal Code states, there has to be intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire through exposure. If there is no intent to do this, there essentially is no crime. In many cases, the accused never meant to expose themselves to someone else. But it takes the skill of an experienced and knowledgeable defense attorney to hold the prosecution to its burden of proof.
For example, if you couldn’t find a bathroom and urinated in an alley without realizing someone could see you, there is no intent to sexually arouse that person or yourself. All of the necessary elements of the crime of indecent exposure would not be present, but your ability to fight these charges on your own is virtually impossible.
A good defense team, on the other hand, knows how to take this information and attack the prosecution’s case against you.
While it is uncommon, insanity may also be a defense. If the accused suffers from a mental illness that prohibits him or her from being held accountable for his or her actions, a good defense attorney can present evidence of the same, and argue that the person doesn’t meet the elements of the crime.
You should never fight a charge of indecent exposure alone. If you or someone you love is being accused of this crime, call our firm immediately. Our sex crimes team has over 45 years of combined defense experience, and has successfully defended indecent exposure cases before. We know what it takes to protect your rights.
It is also important that you have a defense attorney who will treat you with respect despite the charges against you. At the Schiffer Law Firm, you will be welcomed openly and treated with dignity from the moment you contact us. We know that these are difficult times, and we will handle your case sensitively to make sure that you get through the process with the best possible result. Don’t wait any longer. The sooner you get in touch with us, the sooner we can begin to build your defense.
That’s a great question, but you won’t find the answer here. While there is nothing inherently secret about a great defense, some attorneys are simply better prepared, more creative, and more experienced than others. It’s that combination that makes our sex crimes defense team so successful in defending these cases. A professional sports team, or an army preparing for battle, doesn’t disclose its strategy to the opposition. It is only through a confidential, in-person, meeting with our attorneys, where your information is protected by the attorney-client privilege and away from any prying wire taps or snooping law enforcement investigators, that we will discuss potential strategies that are tailored specifically for you.
Call today to set up a confidential in-office or virtual meeting.
The first thing you need to do is accept the situation. You have been charged with a crime, and yes, this is really happening. Having worked with thousands of clients throughout our attorneys’ careers, we understand thoroughly the storm of emotions that you may be feeling right now. Accepting the situation you are in will allow you to make rational decisions moving forward.
Now that you’ve accepted the reality of your situation, it is imperative that you maintain a clear head and stay in control of your emotions. In far too many situations, we see clients betrayed by their emotions which negatively impacts their own defense. Panic, anxiety, and second-guessing everything is the soil where bad legal strategy and decision making grows.
If you find yourself stressing about your situation, do what you can to calm yourself down. If you find that you need to talk with someone, please call us. We’ll discuss what’s going on and help you get a clear picture of your situation.