There was a time when every city in America had a "lover's lane." Being new to town, I asked a few older citizens if they could tell me where Lover's Lane was here in town.

I got a lot of naughty smiles. A few told me about a naughty store. That was not what I had in mind. Many said it was "none of my business."

Secluded romantic parking spots are a part of Americana. Most of the time, going "all the way" in the car was not the original intent. Sometimes raging hormones get the best of you. Watching a spectacular Victoria sunset with your special someone can certainly spark a desire for a passionate fling.

Is it a big deal if you get caught in the throws of passion in a car here in Texas? The short answer is yes.

While no criminal law specifically states that it is illegal to have sex in a car, several statutes apply.

Texas Penal Code Title 5, Chapter 21 defines sexual offenses in Texas. Getting caught in a compromising position in a car in Texas falls under Public lewdness. Public lewdness, defined by § 21.07, is a sex crime in Texas that prohibits sexually explicit actions that other non-participating persons may see.

Indecent exposure, defined by §,21.08 occurs when someone recklessly exposes their naughty parts. This means they don't care if another person happens to see it. If you're in a car in public, this applies.

What is a "public" place? A public place is defined by § 1.07 of Texas Ann. Penal Code. It is defined as a place to which the entire public or a significant part of the public has access.

If you have a large parcel of land and no one can see you, have at it.

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In many cases, if you are parked in a secluded area after dark, and a cop happens to interrupt you, it is because you are on private property and they've been called. In these cases, the officer might interview you both to determine if you are of legal age, if you consent to the activity, and if no one is a prostitute. Your IDs will be run, and then it will be up to the officer to determine what happens next.

If you are highly respectful and are in a secluded place, you might get off with a warning. If that happens, consider yourself extremely lucky.

If convicted of public lewdness, a Class A misdemeanor, penalties can range from a small fine to jail time of up to one year in prison plus a $4000 fine. Your name can be published in the newspaper. From now on, a potential employer can search for reputation names online and find out.

Also, you may face being sentenced to register as a sex offender. This is especially true if a school is near where the offense occurred.

Indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to a six-month jail sentence plus a $2000 fine.

All of this is very unlikely on a first offense. At the very least, you will:

1) Miss a lot of work due to court

2) Pay legal fees and court costs

3) Possibly face up to a year on probation.

4) Someone might see and post photos or videos online.

5) You will get media/news exposure, and not the good kind.

Despite all this risk, researchers at the University of South Dakota, in a study published in the Journal of Sex Research, found that 60% of survey respondents say they have gotten busy in a parked car. Less than 10% say they were caught.

Fortunately, no one in this survey reported injuries from the activity. I am thinking of a parking brake or gear shift in the wrong spot.

Even though dating trends and times change, getting busy in vehicles is an enduring pastime. It is ultimately up to you and your partner if the rewards justify the risks.

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