Blog

What is Revenge Porn in Texas?

In most circumstances, the law does not concern itself with what consenting adults do behind closed doors. There is nothing illegal about adults who willingly take intimate photos and videos of themselves, and then share them with their partner.

A recent Pew Research survey shows that 85% of adults in the U.S. have a smartphone. These devices have made it easy and discreet for partners to create and share sexual images.

Where the law does get broken, though, is when these private photos are distributed without the depicted person’s consent. Oftentimes, this is done as an act of retaliation after a relationship ends. When this distribution is done to harm the individual, it is commonly called “revenge porn.”

Texas Revenge Porn Laws

Texas law formally calls revenge porn the “Unlawful Disclosure Or Promotion Of Intimate Visual Material.” According to Texas Penal Code § 21.16, a person commits a crime if:

“(1) [W]ithout the effective consent of the depicted person and with the intent to harm that person, the person discloses visual material depicting another person with the person’s intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct;

(2) at the time of the disclosure, the person knows or has reason to believe that 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[.]”

Revenge porn is considered a state jail felony in Texas.

Situations Where the Law May Not Apply

According to § 21.16, a crime was not committed if the visual images were disclosed or promoted in the course of:

  • “lawful and common practices of law enforcement or medical treatment”
  • “reporting unlawful activity”
  • “a legal proceeding, if the disclosure or promotion is permitted or required by law”

If you do face charges under these circumstances, you should still consult with an attorney. Don’t assume that the charges will be dropped once you have a chance to explain yourself. Invoke your right to remain silent and seek legal representation.

Defenses Against False Revenge Porn Allegations

Not everyone who faces revenge porn charges is guilty. Unfortunately, you may face charges even though:

  • You had the individual’s consent to distribute the photos or videos.
  • Someone else accessed your smartphone or other electronic device, and distributed the images without your consent or the consent of the depicted individual.
  • There is more to the story than what the plaintiff alleges.

After a romantic relationship ends, emotions can run high. These types of cases can turn into a “He said/She said” scenario. The penalties for a state jail felony are nothing to scoff at. You need an aggressive defense attorney to protect your legal rights.

Consent to View is Not the Same as Consent to Promote

When it comes to a sexual relationship between two adults, there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. An individual may consent to have their partner view or create intimate images with them. That is not the same as consenting to the promotion of those images.

The Consequences of Revenge Porn in Texas

In Texas, you could face both criminal and civil penalties for the Unlawful Disclosure Or Promotion Of Intimate Visual Material.

Criminal Penalties for Revenge Porn

According to § 12.35, a conviction could mean at least six months and up to two years in jail.That’s precious time away from your career, your friends, and your family. You may also be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000.

Civil Penalties for Revenge Porn

The alleged victim could pursue a civil case against you. Chapter 98B of the Civil Practice And Remedies Code lists the possible civil penalties. You could be required to compensate the plaintiff for:

  • “actual damages, including damages for mental anguish”
  • “court costs”
  • “reasonable attorney’s fees”

An accusation of revenge porn can turn your life upside down.

Can a minor be charged with revenge porn in Texas?

Yes, minors can face similar charges under a different law. Under Section 43.261. Electronic Transmission Of Certain Visual Material Depicting Minor, it is illegal for a minor to possess or promote sexual images of another minor. There are exceptions to this law, including minors who are married to each other and those who are in a close-in-age dating relationship.

Regardless of intent, a violation of § 43.261 is a Class C misdemeanor. However, if the promotion is done “with the intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another,” it is a Class B misdemeanor.

Teenagers and their parents need to take these charges seriously. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is “only” a misdemeanor. Any type of criminal record can interfere with college acceptance and future job opportunities.

Legal Help for Revenge Porn Charges in Plano, TX

Attorney Kent Starr is an experienced and compassionate criminal defense attorney who serves Collin County and the surrounding area. He is ready to help individuals who face charges of Unlawful Disclosure Or Promotion Of Intimate Visual Material.

Mr. Starr fights aggressively for his clients and pursues the best possible outcome for them. He is not an unmotivated “plea attorney” who is intimidated by the prosecution. For Mr. Starr, being a defense attorney isn’t just an occupation; it’s his calling. This comes through in his favorable case outcomes, which are a matter of public record. Mr. Starr is more than happy to sit down with prospective clients and show them in black and white how he’s helped others in similar situations.

Attorney Starr is also a bail bond attorney. One call to his office gets you out of jail, saves you money, and starts your legal representation, 214-982-1408.

Are you facing revenge porn charges in Texas? Read through Attorney Kent Starr’s Google reviews. Then contact his office to schedule your free consultation.

Sources

Texas Penal Code

Civil Practice And Remedies Code

Chapter 98B. Unlawful Disclosure Or Promotion Of Intimate Visual Material

Related Articles

Can a minor be arrested for possessing child pornography in Texas?

How to Choose the Right Criminal Attorney in Plano, TX

Let's talk