Is ''Sexual Contact'' While Driving Considered ''In a Public Place'' ?
In Kirtley v. State, 585 S.W.2d 724, 726 (Tex. Crim. App. 1979), the appellant was driving his automobile on Lake June Road.
Apparently while he was attempting to put his arm around his female passenger, his hand came in contact with her breast.
The dispositive issue was whether or not a vehicle traveling on a roadway is a public place.
The court of criminal appeals declined to adopt a per se rule as to the status of the interior of an automobile.
The difficulty and, indeed, the impossibility of establishing a per se rule in such cases such as appellant's can be illustrated best by example.
There can be little doubt that a convertible automobile participating in a parade down Main Street is a public place.
The parade spectators "have access" to the interior of the vehicle, because they are able to see the interior of the auto.
However, the same auto traveling at a high rate of speed at night on a public road may not be a public place. Id. at 726.
The court also stated that "several other examples come to mind, such as vehicles with tinted windows or recreational vehicles with the curtains pulled.
These circumstances must be adduced by the State." Kirtley, 585 S.W.2d at n.5.