972-372-4054

Call Or Click Below For A Free Consultation!

CONTACT

New Texas Revenge Porn Law Now in Effect

Revenge porn, or the act of sharing private or intimate information, such as nude photographs, online with the intent to shame, harass, or embarrass the victim, has gained a lot of attention in the past few years. In the typical case, sexually explicit photos or similar content is uploaded to the internet by a jilted ex-lover with the intention of humiliating their former lover who is depicted, hence the term “revenge porn.” To make matters worse, the content is usually accompanied by sufficient information to identify the person who is depicted, including their name, profession, location, and links to their social media accounts.

Until now, revenge porn was not illegal in Texas, which meant that law enforcement agencies had to get pretty creative if they wished to try to prosecute someone for posting sexually explicit content of someone else without their consent. Sometimes, offenses such as Online Impersonation and Breach of Computer Security would be used to try to prosecute perpetrators of revenge porn. But, because those types of offenses were not intended or designed to target, prevent, and punish revenge porn, often times they were ineffective. Therefore, as of September 1, 2015, Texas has now joined 24 other states and the District of Columbia in outlawing revenge porn.

Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Visual Material, or “Revenge Porn”

According to Texas Penal Code, Section 21.16, a person commits an offense if:

  1. Without the effective consent of the depicted person, the person intentionally discloses visual material depicting another person with the person’s intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct;
  2. The visual material was obtained by the person or created under circumstances in which the depicted person had a reasonable expectation that the visual material would remain private;
  3. The disclosure of the visual material causes harm to the depicted person; and
  4. The disclosure of the visual material reveals the identity of the depicted person in any manner, including through: (A) any accompanying or subsequent information or material related to the visual material; or (B) information or material provided by a third party in response to the disclosure of the visual material.

So, basically, a person commits revenge porn in Texas if, without the consent of the victim, he or she reveals sexually explicit material depicting the victim, the material was created or obtained with the victim having a reasonable expectation that the material would remain private, and the victim is identified and harmed as a result.

In addition, a person commits an offense if the person intentionally threatens to disclose, without the consent of the depicted person, visual material depicting another person with the person’s intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct and the actor makes the threat to obtain a benefit: (1) in return for not making the disclosure; or (2) in connection with the threatened disclosure.

Finally, a person also commits an offense if, knowing the character and content of the visual material, the person promotes visual material described above on an internet website or other forum for publication that is owned or operated by the person.

Defending Against Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Visual Material, or Revenge Porn, in Collin County, Texas

Under Texas’s new law, revenge porn is charged and punished as a Class A Misdemeanor. Therefore, if you are charged and convicted of revenge porn, you face a maximum punishment of up to 1 year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. In addition, you may also face civil liabilities, including actual damages for a victim’s mental anguish, court costs, and attorney’s fees. So, if you or someone you know has been charged with revenge porn, I invite you to contact me at (972) 372-4054 to discuss your case and your options.

Comments on this entry are closed.