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Understanding Indecency with a Child

Indecency with a child is one of several types of felony crimes in Texas. The state divides indecency with a child into two distinct categories: indecency by exposure (which does not involve contact) and indecency by contact.

Being accused of indecency with a child is a serious situation. If you’ve been charged with this or any other child sex offense, it is critical for you to contact a Texas sex crimes defense lawyer as soon as possible. A qualified attorney can help you understand your constitutional rights.

You cannot talk your way out of accusations like these. Anything that you say can and will be used against you; so, instead of allowing other parties to take advantage of what you say, you’ll be best served by working with a lawyer.

The Two Types of Indecency With A Child: Indecency With A Child By Contact and Indecency With A Child By Exposure

Texas law defines two types of indecency with a child: by contact and by exposure.

Indecency With A Child By Contact

Indecency with a child by contact takes place when somebody engages in sexual contact with a child who is:

  • Under 17 years in age and…
  • …who is not the person’s spouse

Texas law defines sexual contact as taking place when someone touches the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a child– even if it takes place through clothing. The law also states that sexual contact is performed with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of someone (this someone can be any person).

Indecency With A Child By Exposure

Indecency with a child by exposure in Texas occurs when:

  • A person exposes any part of their genitals or anus in the known presence of a child or…
    • …causes a child to expose any part of his or her genitals or anus
  • …with the intention to sexually arouse or satisfy any person’s sexual desires

Indecency With a Child Is a Felony Offense: The Penalties For Indecency With A Child In Texas

  • Indecency with a child by contact
  • Indecency with a child by exposure
    • Felony of the third degree
    • Fine up to $10,000
    • 2 to 10 years in prison

Anybody charged with indecency with a child must also register as a sex offender. Most Indecency-Contact convictions require mandatory lifetime registration. Most Indecency-Exposure convictions require 10-year registration.

  • The ten-year registration period for Indecency-Exposure convictions may be extended to a lifetime registration if the person receives another reportable conviction or adjudication

Penalties For Indecency With A Child In Texas

Texas takes a very strict approach to most crime. Crimes involving children are certainly not an exception. Those who are found guilty of indecency with a child in Texas will likely face some combination of fines, prison time, and a requirement to register as a sex offender.

  • Criminal convictions alone come with heavy career and personal penalties; those who are found guilty face more hurdles than the ones that are legally outlined

Pleading “No Contest” Or “Guilty”: Deferred Adjudication Community Supervision (Probation)

Sometimes, a judge believes that it’s in a community’s best interests to allow someone to plead “no contest” or “guilty” in exchange for deferred adjudication community supervision (also called probation).

  • Sometimes it’s also in a victim’s best interest for a convicted defendant not to be imprisoned
  • In these circumstances, a convicted defendant may be placed under community supervision

The length of probation for a charge of indecency with a child cannot be less than five years.

Frequently Asked Questions About Indecency With A Child In Texas

Is a child’s testimony enough to support a sex offense conviction in Texas?

Yes. The testimony of a child who’s standing alone is sufficient to support a sex offense convictions.

Is indecency with a child a felony offense in Texas?

Yes. Indecency with a child is always a felony offense in Texas.

Are indecent contact and indecent exposure with a child different offenses in Texas?

Yes. In Texas, indecency with a child by contact and indecency with a child by exposure are considered to be separate offenses.

  • Someone can commit indecency with a child by sexual contact without committing indecency with a child by exposure; the same is true for the other way around

Are there affirmative defenses to indecency with a child in Texas?

Yes. There are two affirmative defenses to indecency with a child laid out in Tex. Penal Code § 21.11.

  • An age difference of less than three years between parties of the opposite sex AND…
    • …there was no duress, force, or threat involved in the sexual activity AND…
    • …the defendant is not a registered sex offender

The other affirmative defense involves:

  • The parties in question are married
    • If an individual is 14 or older (but under 18), he or she may receive parental consent to marry

Does Texas have a statute of limitations on indecency with a child charges?

No. Texas does not have a statute of limitations on indecency with a child charges. That means that somebody can make an accusation years after an alleged incident and still have an opportunity to bring a case.

Can I deny indecency with a child charges in Texas?

Yes. You can work with an attorney who can help you prove that an accusation was false.

Starr Law, P.C: Indecency With A Child Charges In Texas

Have you been charged with indecency with a child? Our offices may be able to help 

Kent Starr is the most and best-reviewed criminal lawyer in Collin County. He is an experienced bail bondsman who can help clients save money by hiring an attorney who can bond them out of jail. Areas of practice include:

Call 214-982-1408 to take advantage of a free and confidential telephone consultation or contact us via the web today.

Sources:

Tex. Penal Code, Sections 21.01, 21.02, 21.11

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