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Unlawful Disclosure of Intimate Visual Material

Under Sec. 21.16, Texas law prohibits the unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material (often called the "Texas Revenge Porn Statute"). A violation of the statute is a Class A misdemeanor. The statute was added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 852 (S.B. 1135), Sec. 3, which became effective on September 1, 2015.

Under Sec. 21.16(e), it is not a defense to prosecution under this section that the depicted person:

  • created or consented to the creation of the visual material; or
  • voluntarily transmitted the visual material to the actor.

Attorney for the Unlawful Disclosure of Revenge Porn Crimes in Texas

If you were charged with any criminal offense under Section 21.16, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in San Antonio, TX. We represent clients throughout Bexar County and the surrounding areas in Texas. We can help you fight the case at every stage of the prosecution.

Let us put our experience to work for you. Call 210-226-1463 today.


Elements of the Texas Revenge Porn Statute

Under Sec. 21.16(b) A person commits an offense if:

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • the disclosure of the visual material causes harm to the depicted person; and
  • the disclosure of the visual material reveals the identity of the depicted person in any manner, including through:
    • any accompanying or subsequent information or material related to the visual material; or
    • information or material provided by a third party in response to the disclosure of the visual material.

Threatening to Disclosure Revenge Porn in Texas

Under Sec. 21.16(c), a person commits an offense if the person intentionally threatens to disclose, without the consent of the depicted person, visual material ("revenge porn") 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.

Promoting Visual Material on the Internet

Under Sec. 21.16(d), a person commits an offense if:

  • knowing the character and content of the visual material;
  • the person promotes visual material described by Subsection (b) on an Internet website or other forum;
  • for publication that is owned or operated by the person.

Defenses under the Texas Revenge Pornography Statute

Under Sec. 21.16(f), it is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (b) or (d) that:

  • the disclosure or promotion is made in the course of:
    • lawful and common practices of law enforcement or medical treatment;
    • reporting unlawful activity; or
    • a legal proceeding, if the disclosure or promotion is permitted or required by law;
  • the disclosure or promotion consists of visual material depicting in a public or commercial setting only a person's voluntary exposure of:
    • the person's intimate parts; or
    • the person engaging in sexual conduct; or
    • the actor is an interactive computer service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 230, and the disclosure or promotion consists of visual material provided by another person.

Definitions in the Texas Revenge Porn Statute

Under Sec. 21.16(a), the Texas revenge porn statute defines the following terms used throughout the statutory scheme:

  • "Visual material" means:
    • 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; or
    • any disk, diskette, or other physical medium that allows an image to be displayed on a computer or other video screen and any image transmitted to a computer or other video screen by telephone line, cable, satellite transmission, or other method.
  • "Simulated" means the explicit depiction of sexual conduct that creates the appearance of actual sexual conduct and during which a person engaging in the conduct exhibits any uncovered portion of the breasts, genitals, or buttocks.
  • "Sexual conduct" means sexual contact, actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, or sadomasochistic abuse.
  • "Promote" means to procure, manufacture, issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, transfer, transmit, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise or to offer or agree to do any of the above.
  • "Intimate parts" means the naked genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female nipple of a person.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, November 22, 2017.

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