While it might not seem like a serious offense, a charge of indecent exposure is a sexual crime that can carry serious penalties. 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 attorney who knows the law and can help you get through this difficult time with as few problems as possible.
With over four decades of experience, Paul Schiffer and his team are not just equipped with the skills and knowledge to help you, but also with the compassion and care needed to defend these cases. Don’t wait any longer, contact us today.
What is Indecent Exposure in Texas?
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 different sexual assault charge.
From a Misdemeanor to 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.
Proving Indecent Exposure
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 attorney, like Paul Schiffer and his team, understands this and will strategize your defense to get you the best favorable result possible.
Are Pranks Indecent Exposure?
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, as earlier stated. 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. Paul Schiffer and his team 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.
Aside from jail time and fines, a conviction of indecent exposure may continue to cause you practical problems for some time to come.
Thanks to background checks, anyone can find out if you have a criminal record. When someone discovers that you have a record of conviction for a sexual crime, he or she may judge you ways you might find difficult to combat.
For example, you might encounter difficulties getting a job with a sexual offense (or any other crime) on your record. That is more likely to occur if you’re seeking a job involving children, or with a religious or government organization. You might also have certain licenses temporarily suspended or, in some cases, revoked.
A criminal record might also make it difficult for you to get bank loans, rent property, volunteer with certain organizations, adopt or foster a child, gain or maintain custody of a biological child, run for public office, or gain admission to a college or other secondary education.
Sex Offender Registration
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.
Defenses to a Charge of Indecent Exposure
Just because you are 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 a lot of cases, the accused never meant to expose themselves to someone else and can escape a guilty verdict. 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.
At the Law Office of Paul Schiffer, we have the experience and the knowledge to build a solid defense for your case, to either prove your innocence or to keep your sentence to a minimum. We will go over your case, tell you your options, then work with you and your facts to craft a strategy to achieve the best possible outcome.
Why You Need a Defense Attorney
As you can see, indecent exposure has far-reaching consequences and can affect the remainder of your life, even if you don’t serve any significant jail time. A criminal record can ostracize you from society, where you will be judged severely if you have to register as a sex offender.
By hiring a defense attorney like Paul Schiffer and his team, you can better navigate these tough times and fight against the accusations being made against you. This can help you preserve your freedom and restore your reputation.
Call us today so that we can discuss your case with you, and help you navigate the difficult times that lie ahead of you. We’ll explain the charges made against you and penalties that you are facing, and strategize how, if at all, your past and your character can affect the prosecution of your case.
When you work with us, we will never judge you because of the charge or because of your past. You will always be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect from the moment you call to the moment your case is resolved. There is still hope and you do have options. Don’t hesitate; get in touch with us by phone, email, or through our site’s contact form to discuss your case today.
How has Paul Schiffer Successfully Defended Cases of this Kind?
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 Paul Schiffer 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 Paul Schiffer, where your information is protected by the attorney-client privilege, that he will discuss potential strategies that are tailored to your circumstances. Call today to set up a meeting with Paul in his office. Be sure to bring any paperwork or other information you have about your case or an investigation.