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UPDATE: New Law Makes Sending Unwanted Nude Photos a Crime in Texas

 Posted on June 21, 2022 in Criminal Defense

Midland Texas Sex Crimes LawyerOriginally published: August 24, 2020 -- Updated: June 14, 2022

Update: In addition to the law described below, which makes it illegal to send unsolicited and unwanted photos to someone else online, people should also be aware that it is illegal to post intimate pictures or videos of others online without their consent. This is commonly known as “revenge porn,” and violating this law is considered a sex crime in Texas.

The applicable law specifically prohibits the unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material. Applicable materials may include photos, videos, or other depictions of a person’s intimate parts being exposed or engaging in sexual conduct, and these materials must have been obtained with the expectation that they would remain private. If the disclosure of these materials, such as by posting them online, would reveal the person’s identity and cause them to suffer harm, the person who shared the images or videos may be charged with a crime. It is also a crime to threaten to share these types of materials in order to obtain benefits from another person.

Violation of this law is a Class A misdemeanor, and a person who is convicted could face up to one year in prison, as well as up to $4,000 in fines. The person depicted in these materials may also pursue a civil lawsuit against a person who illegally shared intimate images or videos of them. A defendant may be required to pay damages to the plaintiff that address the ways they have been affected, including their emotional trauma or mental anguish. 

If you have been accused of illegally sharing nude pictures, sex tapes, or other materials, you will need to determine your options for defending against criminal charges or a civil lawsuit. Claiming that a person willingly agreed to create photos or videos or transmitted them to you through “sexting” is not a valid defense against these charges. At Morales Law Office, Attorneys at Law, PLLC., we can advise you of the best approach to take in these situations, and we will help you determine how you can protect your rights and avoid criminal penalties. Contact our Austin sex crimes defense attorneys at 512-474-2222 to discuss these matters in a free consultation.

Sexually explicit content, or pornography, has followed the trends of modern times. What originally existed only in paper format has now expanded to include digital content through the messaging or posting of lewd photos and videos on social media platforms. Dating apps began to surface in the past decade, allowing smartphone users to meet romantic prospects online. These types of apps typically feature a messaging platform that lets users text each other without having to give out their phone numbers. While this may have increased personal safety by reducing the number of people handing out their phone numbers to strangers, it has also increased the number of unsolicited, nude photos being sent to unsuspecting parties. This type of activity can result in criminal charges in Texas.

Current Regulations

Texas has always recognized the illegality behind photographing, videotaping, or recording the “intimate area” of another person without his or her consent. This helps protect men and women from being indecently exposed, and if this is the case, they can press charges against the individual who recorded the content. Surprisingly, the current issue focuses on receiving inappropriate content rather than being personally recorded.

New Texas Law

Many complaints have been filed throughout the United States about an epidemic, which involves the sending of unwanted nude photos. Commonly known as “sexting,” sending sexually explicit photos of those who are under the age of 18 can lead to child pornography charges. Since sexting is so common with teens, many young females are receiving unwanted, sexual photos from their male counterparts. In fact, 40 percent of women report receiving these photos or videos without consent. In order to address these many complaints, Texas legislators decided to take action. 

In the spring of 2019, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 2789 into law. This law went into effect this past September, making it illegal to send unwanted sexually explicit photos. In other words, if the recipient does not give consent, the sender can face Class C misdemeanor charges. The penalty for this charge is only a maximum $500 fine, yet the criminal charges and their details will be present on the guilty party’s record moving forward. 

If you are facing such charges, there are a number of defense strategies that an attorney can pursue. The most common being that you did not send the photo, despite the content being sent from your phone. Whether a hacker sent the content or someone stole your phone to send the picture, it is possible that you are being framed and blamed for the action. The law also creates a number of discrepancies between what is considered sexual and explicit. For instance, breastfeeding photos or images being sent to a medical professional for a diagnosis may show these same body parts but may not be considered explicit.

Contact an Austin, Texas Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

Any criminal charges that are considered sex crimes can leave a lasting mark on your permanent record, especially for future educational and employment opportunities. The fee tied to the charge may not be that significant, but the charge itself can greatly impact your future. Morales Law Office, Attorneys at Law, PLLC has a team of legal professionals willing to fight on your behalf. Our experienced criminal attorneys have helped numerous clients defend themselves in a court of law, using dynamic and personalized defense strategies. For help with your case, contact our distinguished Travis County criminal defense attorneys at 512-474-2222 to schedule your free consultation.



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