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Revenge Porn Laws in Texas

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Revenge Porn Laws in Texas

A troubling trend has been occurring in recent years as more and more people have gained easy access to the Internet and video recording devices. The phenomenon of “revenge porn” has become so serious that laws have recently been passed in Texas to deal with it. This activity has been deemed to be a dangerous threat to public safety and criminal penalties have been established for engaging in acts of revenge porn.

As recently as September 2015, the Texas state government passed a law banning acts of revenge porn. With this new law in effect, people who engage in this activity may have to deal with severe criminal penalties.

Defining the Crime

What exactly is revenge porn?

This is a question with several different answers. In effect, revenge porn is categorized as any type of photo or video that is taken of a person in a sexual situation when those photos or videos are posted online without the subject’s consent. In many cases, these images are posted online by the ex-partners of the subject for the purpose of shame, humiliation or intimidation. In fact, there are several websites that claim to specialize in revenge porn and invite people to post these images freely. Some websites even feature the names, social media pages, residences and jobs of the subjects who are posted there. Several of these websites have been shut down and their owners have been prosecuted.

Revenge Porn in Texas

On September 1, 2015, Texas officially made it illegal to post private, explicit photos of another person online without that person’s consent. This was not an easy law to pass because defining the crime was somewhat difficult. This was due, in part, to the fact that many of these images had been taken and shared by consenting partners in the first place, even though posting them online had been done without consent.

The problem of revenge porn first came to light in Texas when a woman discovered in 2012 that an ex-partner had posted explicit photos of her on a website. She and 17 other women created a class action lawsuit against the owner of the site. The suit caused the site to be taken down while the lawsuit is pending.

The new Texas law is entitled Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Visual Material. According to Section 21.16 of the Texas Penal Code, this crime occurs when a person:

  • Distributes or transfers photos of a person in which the subject is nude or engaged in sexual activity
  • Distributes such photos without the subject’s consent
  • Distributes such images when the subject took them with a reasonable expectation of privacy
  • Distributes such photos along with identifying personal information of the subject

Criminal Penalties

A conviction on a charge of Unlawful Disclosure of Promotion of Intimate Visual Material in Texas is a Class A Misdemeanor. It is punishable by:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • A fine of up to $4000

A person convicted of this crime may also face a civil lawsuit from the victim.

Revenge Porn Laws in the U.S.

At this time, 25 states have passed laws criminalizing revenge porn. It seems as if more states may join them in the near future. Many of these new laws have been passed in the space of a few years.

Legal Defenses

A person who has been charged with unlawful distribution of explicit photos needs a strong criminal defense. The penalties for this crime can be serious and can destroy a person’s reputation in their community. A defense attorney may be able to offer counsel and representation to counter the charges of the prosecution and have the charges reduced or withdrawn.


If you or someone you know if facing charges related to “revenge porn,” it’s important to retain legal counsel immediately. Brett Podolsky is a tough, smart Houston attorney who can help protect the rights of those accused. Contact his office today at 713.227.0087.

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