Houston Revenge Porn Investigations Attorney

Revenge Porn or Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Visual Material

Revenge porn investigations and prosecutions have become a trending topic in the media and popular culture. In 2015 Texas added Texas Penal Code § 21.16 to address this issue. If you, or someone you know, has been contacted by law enforcement about such a crime, then you may be charged with a felony. You may be falsely accused, or think that you have done nothing wrong, but it is important to contact an experienced Houston sex crimes lawyer before making any statements to law enforcement!

What is revenge porn?

Consenting adults may record sexually explicit videos or take sexually explicit photos for their own personal use, but there are legal limits as to what can be done with those videos or pictures afterwards. A crime is committed when a person, without the other person’s knowledge or consent:

  • Discloses the sexually explicit materials to another
  • Threatens to disclose the sexually explicit materials to another, or
  • Posts the sexually explicit material to the internet or social media

Examples of Revenge Porn

  • A person sends a nude picture to their significant other. After a fight, the person receiving the photo sends the picture to a third person.
  • A couple make a sexually explicit video using the camera on their smart phone. One of the parties then posts the video to Snapchat. Even though the video is automatically deleted by the app, it is still a criminal offense.
  • A woman, during the course of an intimate relationship with her boyfriend, sends him nude photos. After the boyfriend finds out she has been cheating on him, he threatens to send the nude photos to her family or employer.

Texas Law on Revenge Porn

Under Texas Penal Code Section 21.16 revenge porn is a felony. A person commits a crime if:

  1. Without 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 the 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

In addition, a person commits a crime if:

  1. 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:
  • In return for not making the disclosure, OR
  • In connection with the threatened disclosure.

Lastly, a person commits a crime if they, knowing the character and content of the visual material, promote the visual material on an internet website or other forum they own or operate.

Some useful definitions:

  • Intimate parts: the naked genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female nipple of a person
  • Sexual conduct: sexual contact, actual or simulated sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, sexual bestiality, masturbation, or sadomasochistic abuse
  • Visual material: any film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide or any photographic reproduction that contains or incorporates in any manner any film, photograph, videotape, negative or slide

Penalties

In Texas, the revenge porn statute makes this crime a State Jail Felony. If convicted, a person faces 180 days to two years in the State Jail, and faces a fine up to $10,000.

Defending Revenge Porn Charges

There are many possible defense to an accusation of revenge porn. Some of these include:

  • The person consented to the publication of the video or images
  • The publication of the visual material did not harm the person
  • Mistake as to who published the visual materials/you did not publish the visual materials
  • The visual materials do no show intimate parts or sexual conduct defined by the statute.

If you have been accused of violating the revenge porn statute, then you need an experienced revenge porn lawyer today. Your best defense starts now. A revenge porn lawyer may be able to help you prevent any charges from even being filed. Call Houston sex crimes lawyer Paul Darrow now at 713-641-5300.