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cyra23
06-14-10, 02:56 PM
McKinney, TX - I'm a homeowner in standard sub-division. I currently have a 7' tall wooden privacy fence (overlapping boards) surrounding my backyard. I enjoy sunbathing topless in said backyard. I am not able to be seen from the street or any surrounding neighbor's properties (1 story houses on either side). Here is my question, there is a good possibility that a 3 story office building will be built in the field behind my house that backs up to my fence. I have read that "New York, Hawaii, Maine, Ohio, and Texas all have laws on the books which allow females to remove their clothing above the waist in public wherever males can legally do so." And, I know the Texas indecency law reads "Title 9 Section 21.08, Indecent Exposure. (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." As far as my knowledge goes, breasts do not fall under "genitals". So, will I still be able to be topless in what was the "privacy of my own backyard" after the new building goes up?


Kimble
06-14-10, 04:41 PM
McKinney, TX - I'm a homeowner in standard sub-division. I currently have a 7' tall wooden privacy fence (overlapping boards) surrounding my backyard. I enjoy sunbathing topless in said backyard. I am not able to be seen from the street or any surrounding neighbor's properties (1 story houses on either side). Here is my question, there is a good possibility that a 3 story office building will be built in the field behind my house that backs up to my fence. I have read that "New York, Hawaii, Maine, Ohio, and Texas all have laws on the books which allow females to remove their clothing above the waist in public wherever males can legally do so." And, I know the Texas indecency law reads "Title 9 Section 21.08, Indecent Exposure. (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." As far as my knowledge goes, breasts do not fall under "genitals". So, will I still be able to be topless in what was the "privacy of my own backyard" after the new building goes up?

I'd like to help, but... http://pcmtl.com/public/misc/this_thread_is_useless_without_pics.gif

Blackgoat06
06-14-10, 05:48 PM
Make sure there isnt another law agasinst it. In PA we have two:


Indecent exposure is listed as a sexual offense:

3127. Indecent exposure.
(a) Offense defined.--A person commits indecent exposure if
that person exposes his or her genitals in any public place or
in any place where there are present other persons under
circumstances in which he or she knows or should know that this
conduct is likely to offend, affront or alarm.



Then we have open lewdness which is in the public indecency chapter

5901. Open lewdness.
A person commits a misdemeanor of the third degree if he does
any lewd act which he knows is likely to be observed by others
who would be affronted or alarmed.

There COULD also be a city ordinance. Might be best to ask your local P.D...


fatboyjim154
06-14-10, 06:08 PM
As far as my knowledge goes, breasts do not fall under "genitals".

If they do I can only recommend a more supportive bra.:biggrin5:

As It's private property and you have done as much as you can to prevent accident exposure and if someone want to build a big building that overlooks your backyard why should you suffer tan lines.

You'll please note I have not mentioned Pics unlike others.

Blackgoat06
06-14-10, 06:13 PM
As It's private property and you have done as much as you can to prevent accident exposure and if someone want to build a big building that overlooks your backyard why should you suffer tan lines.


I was going to say this too actually. I don't see any successful prosecution when you have that high of a fence. If your backyard was completely open then you may have an issue. You cant control the fact a large building is being built there.

Then again there needs to be a "victim' too...

ChevySSP
06-14-10, 06:28 PM
As a guy If I was in that office building I probably wouldn't complain at all.

As a cop though I'd have to say if you don't receive any complaints about being topless from anybody after the construction of the building then you should be good to go. If you receive persistent complaints and are continuously disregarding the complaints then you might have a problem.

txinvestigator1
06-14-10, 09:25 PM
McKinney, TX - And, I know the Texas indecency law reads "Title 9 Section 21.08, Indecent Exposure. (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." As far as my knowledge goes, breasts do not fall under "genitals". So, will I still be able to be topless in what was the "privacy of my own backyard" after the new building goes up?

If you look up chapter 42, you will see a similiar law under disorderly conduct, only there is no element of the offense of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person.

However, you are right, I have yet to meet a woman with her genitals on her chest. ;)

But if you look at the second part of disorderly, it reads, "makes an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace;"

There are several key elements; 1) what is "offensive? 2) do your breast tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace when displayed in your backyard 3) is your backyard a public place?

The penal code states, in regards to a public place, "an act is deemed to occur in a public place or near a private residence if it produces its offensive or proscribed consequences in the public place or near a private residence".

There are ways you can block your view from those in buildings. It IS the decent thing to do. But could you be charged under this law? Perhaps. Would it stick? Dunno.

Cat_Doc
06-14-10, 09:34 PM
I see no obligation for her to block the view into her backyard just because they decide to build a high rise well after she has established private residency.

cntryboy0531
06-14-10, 10:17 PM
I think you should be good. We get complaints here in Florida in our tourist house rental areas about it all the time, and we usually just ask them to cover up. However, they do it out in the open, without a fence, and neighbors complain.

Funny when we get those calls, a primary unit will check out enroute, and then you see every availble unit in the district head that way on the GPS vehicle locator map.

Blackgoat06
06-14-10, 10:21 PM
Funny when we get those calls, a primary unit will check out enroute, and then you see every availble unit in the district head that way on the GPS vehicle locator map.

Calls like that have a high potential to go south.

Silver Fox
06-14-10, 11:29 PM
You could sun bathe on a large mirror and when some dude looks down he'll wish that he hadn't.:crazy:

dadyswat
06-15-10, 02:59 PM
I'd like to help, but... http://pcmtl.com/public/misc/this_thread_is_useless_without_pics.gif

I agree +1

cyra23
06-15-10, 04:23 PM
I agree +1

I'd love to help you out, but it won't let me post a pic lol (not that I would post a topless one).

I would like all the advice I can get though :)

Blackgoat06
06-15-10, 05:16 PM
I'd love to help you out, but it won't let me post a pic lol (not that I would post a topless one).

I would like all the advice I can get though :)


You may need more posts to do that, I dont know. Upload it to tinypic.com and it will give you a link to post here.

cyra23
06-15-10, 05:53 PM
The site won't allow posting urls or pics until you've reached 15 posts. But, really whether or not I'm attractive should have no impact on the legality of the situation. I'd rather the police not show up at my door, but I'm also not too keen on losing my "right" to be topless in the privacy of my own backyard. Also, what happens if my 6 year old son decides to run around the backyard naked (not something totally unheard of)? Do I have to worry about CPS showing up? After all, people have been charged with "child porn" for taking pictures of their kids during bath time. It's all very frustrating. Why anyone would want to build an office building in a neighborhood is beyond me....

ETA - On the child porn bit, I really meant, that all it takes is a call from one person and something totally innocent becomes a criminal matter.

Kimble
06-15-10, 07:14 PM
The site won't allow posting urls or pics until you've reached 15 posts. But, really whether or not I'm attractive should have no impact on the legality of the situation. It was said in jest, ma'am. :lol:


Also, what happens if my 6 year old son decides to run around the backyard naked (not something totally unheard of)? Do I have to worry about CPS showing up? After all, people have been charged with "child porn" for taking pictures of their kids during bath time...

ETA - On the child porn bit, I really meant, that all it takes is a call from one person and something totally innocent becomes a criminal matter.

I've worked in an office that investigated child porn cases, and I find that very hard to believe. I've heard that, but only as a common myth, not of actual examples of real people being charged for innocent family pics. Child porn laws are federal crimes, and there's a very clear legal difference between child porn (i.e. the actual act of sexual intercouse) and child erotica (children posing in nude/provocative poses for sexual stimulation). That's probably more than you wanted to know, but the point is people with innocent pics of their kids aren't going to be charged/prosecuted for possessing child porn. That's about as reasonable as swatting a fly and being charged with murder.

txinvestigator1
06-15-10, 09:55 PM
I see no obligation for her to block the view into her backyard just because they decide to build a high rise well after she has established private residency.

If someone in the high rise is offended to the point of creating an immediate breach of the peace, then she could well be in violation.

Cat_Doc
06-15-10, 10:03 PM
If someone in the high rise is offended to the point of creating an immediate breach of the peace, then she could well be in violation.

I sure wouldn't cite her for it, not in her own back yard that was established prior to the friggen building going up.

Blackgoat06
06-15-10, 10:08 PM
I sure wouldn't cite her for it, not in her own back yard that was established prior to the friggen building going up.

Yep that's what it comes down to...if you are in the office building and dont like it, don't look. Simple as that.

Cat_Doc
06-15-10, 10:29 PM
Yep that's what it comes down to...if you are in the office building and dont like it, don't look. Simple as that.

I know this sounds silly, but how about someone flying over in a small plane looking down and seeing a female sunbathing in her fenced back yard and then wanting the cops to do something about it because they were offended? I'd tell them to stop invading her privacy, it's not like she is out in the front yard watering the grass so everyone and their brother can see her while traveling down the street.

I am with you, Greg, I'd tell the person who looked out the window, down into her backyard, then complained; to grow the F up. We have more important things to worry about than hassling a homeowner in her own backyard because someone else is making the effort to look out and down from their multi-story business and becomes offended. Give me a break.

txinvestigator1
06-16-10, 12:02 AM
Yep that's what it comes down to...if you are in the office building and dont like it, don't look. Simple as that.

I agree. It is Texas law that seems to not agree. I can see some yenta busy body woman raising holy hell about it. If you have PC for a citation and don't because of your personal opinions you could face problems from your dept. At least mine worked that way.

A citation gives the offended and the offender their day in court.

Just my opinion

cyra23
06-16-10, 10:40 AM
It was said in jest, ma'am. :lol:


I've worked in an office that investigated child porn cases, and I find that very hard to believe. I've heard that, but only as a common myth, not of actual examples of real people being charged for innocent family pics. Child porn laws are federal crimes, and there's a very clear legal difference between child porn (i.e. the actual act of sexual intercouse) and child erotica (children posing in nude/provocative poses for sexual stimulation). That's probably more than you wanted to know, but the point is people with innocent pics of their kids aren't going to be charged/prosecuted for possessing child porn. That's about as reasonable as swatting a fly and being charged with murder.


I hate to disagree, but google A.J. and Lisa Demaree. Their case was big news last September.

dadyswat
06-16-10, 11:28 AM
I'd love to help you out, but it won't let me post a pic lol (not that I would post a topless one).

I would like all the advice I can get though :)

Sorry, I'm an Ohio guy and no problem here.

Blackgoat06
06-16-10, 01:52 PM
I think really what this hinges on is the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law. Were those laws put in place to prohibit someone from sunbathing topless in their own fenced in backyard? Having that high of of a fence tells me she isn't planning on showing off for the world.

Cat_Doc
06-16-10, 02:05 PM
Yes, Greg. I am impressed with your comprehension regarding the Letter v Spirit and why they gave us discretion on misdemeanors.

Blinding following a code without evaluating the spirit of the law often results in litigation and a repeal of what could be a good law. (The abuse of our old vagrancy statute is a good example.)

I really don't like working with "one-way" staff and encourage evaluation of the spirit of the law and the totality of the circumstances before taking action. I also encourage them to contact the prosecuting attorney (they ARE our attorneys after all) and running a questionable case by them before taking any action. It takes the monkey off our back and blocks many potential lawsuits.

Again, I am impressed, kudos.

Kimble
06-16-10, 02:16 PM
I hate to disagree, but google A.J. and Lisa Demaree. Their case was big news last September.

As I said, I'm not personally aware of anything like this, and even though in the case of the Demarees (ABC article: Arizona Couple Suing After Bathtime Photos Prompt Walmart to Launch Child Porn Investigation - ABC News (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/arizona-couple-suing-bathtime-photos-prompt-wal-mart/story?id=8624533)) a judge threw out charges against them, I see your point.

Blackgoat06
06-16-10, 02:39 PM
Yes, Greg. I am impressed with your comprehension regarding the Letter v Spirit and why they gave us discretion on misdemeanors.

Blinding following a code without evaluating the spirit of the law often results in litigation and a repeal of what could be a good law. (The abuse of our old vagrancy statute is a good example.)
I really don't like working with "one-way" staff and encourage evaluation of the spirit of the law and the totality of the circumstances before taking action. I also encourage them to contact the prosecuting attorney (they ARE our attorneys after all) and running a questionable case by them before taking any action. It takes the monkey off our back and blocks many potential lawsuits.

Again, I am impressed, kudos.

Thank you. It's really the DA prosecuting cases anyway not the police. We bring the charges forward but they can add and delete as they see fit and proceed or not proceed whether the officer wants to or not. Never hurts to ask first...

Cat_Doc
06-16-10, 02:42 PM
Never hurts to ask first...

Especially when the elements of the crime and the culpable state of mind are not clear cut. :thumbsup:

CCBlueMan
06-17-10, 05:56 AM
I would think that with the 7' privacy fence in place, she would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, even with a new office building that overlooked the yard.

But why not just play it on the safe side. Plant a tree between your favorite spot and the office building.

Ispbear
06-17-10, 11:03 AM
I'm thinking at most, the officer might come and ask you to cover up due to someone complaining. Just don't expect him to be looking you in the eyes as he's talking to you. :)

GoDirectly2Jail
06-17-10, 12:18 PM
Just don't expect him to be looking you in the eyes as he's talking to you. :)

As always, they will be scanning for the threat! :lol:

BP348
06-19-10, 12:30 AM
You could put your chair next to the fence closest to the new highrise and that should prevent anyone in there from seeing.

If you really feel the need to post a pic you could send me the link in a PM and I'll make sure it gets posted ;)