Unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material is more commonly known as the “revenge porn” crime. These criminal offenses often involve one person publicly sharing images that are frequently sexual in nature and considered private.
After Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 1135 (SB 1135) on June 17, 2015, the “Relationship Privacy Act (RPA)” became law in Texas. The RPA created criminal penalties for revenge porn crimes and also provided civil causes of action for alleged victims.
If you or your loved one were arrested for alleged disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material in Dallas, you need to understand that prosecutors take these crimes very seriously and are frequently unforgiving. You are going to want to make sure you have your own legal representation before entering the courtroom.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can fight to try to get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. You can have us explore all of your legal options as soon as you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
The following definitions are established under Texas Penal Code § 21.16(a) as they relate to unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate material:
● 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; 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.
Texas Penal Code § 21.16(b) establishes that a person commits unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate material if they:
● 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.
Under Texas Penal Code § 21.16(c), a person also commits a revenge porn crime if they intentionally threaten 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 alleged offender makes the threat to obtain a benefit in return for not making the disclosure or in connection with the threatened disclosure.
Texas Penal Code § 21.16(d) makes it illegal for a person, knowing the character and content of visual material, to promote visual material described by Texas Penal Code § 21.16(b) on an Internet website or other forum for publication that is owned or operated by the person.
Unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material charges is a state jail felony. A conviction is punishable by up to two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Chapter 98B was also added to the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code by the RPA. Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 98B.002(a) provides that a person is liable to an individual depicted in intimate visual material for damages arising from the disclosure of the material if:
Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 98B.002(b), an alleged offender will be liable to a person depicted in intimate visual material for damages arising from the promotion of the material if, knowing the character and content of the material, they promoted intimate visual material described by Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 98B.002(a) on an Internet website or other forum for publication that is owned or operated by the defendant.
Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 98B.003, a claimant who prevails in a suit under Chapter 98B of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code can be awarded actual damages (which may include damages for mental anguish), court costs, and reasonable attorney ’s fees as well as possible exemplary damages (also known as punitive damages or vindictive damages).
Texas Penal Code § 21.16(e) establishes that it is not a defense to prosecution under Texas Penal Code § 21.16 that the depicted person created or consented to the creation of the visual material or voluntarily transmitted the visual material to the alleged offender. Under Texas Penal Code § 21.16(f), however, it is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Texas Penal Code § 21.16(b) or Texas Penal Code § 21.16(d) that:
● the alleged offender is an interactive computer service, as defined by Title 47 U.S.C. § 230, and the disclosure or promotion consists of visual material provided by another person.
Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) — CCRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization “serving thousands of victims around the world and advocating for technological, social, and legal innovation to fight online abuse.” According to the CCRI website, revenge porn “though frequently used, is somewhat misleading.” Instead, CCRI claims a more accurate term would be “nonconsensual pornography (NCP), defined as the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent.”
TX | 2015-2016 | 84th Legislature | LegiScan — You can view the full text of SB 1135 and its complete legislative history from introduction to the governor’s signature. Also view vote totals and different versions of the bill. Additional information is provided about the bill’s sponsors, comments, and research.
Were you or your loved arrested for alleged disclosure of intimate material in Dallas or a surrounding area of Texas? Get the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy on your side as soon as possible.
Our firm understands the complicated relationships that can lead to these kinds of criminal charges and we help people work through court cases to achieve the most desirable resolutions. Call 972-233-5700 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.