Unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material, otherwise known as revenge porn, is a serious crime. Revenge porn is used by offenders to harass, embarrass, or shame their victims. It is often done by the posting of revealing or sexually explicit images or videos of a person on the Internet, usually by an angry ex-lover, without the consent of the subject and in order to harm them. It can also refer to an offender threatening a victim with the disclosure of such images or videos in order to obtain a benefit, such as financial gain.
To gain the most exposure, the offender will usually upload the intimate material to popular websites where such material is easily available. To further traumatize the victim, the offender sometimes includes with the material the victim’s identifying information, including their name, address, profession and social media accounts.
In 2015, the Texas Legislature enacted the statute that made the unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material a crime. This statute makes revenge porn a felony sexual offense and can result in harsh punishment.
Attorney for Revenge Porn Crimes in Houston, TX
Criminal charges for revenge porn can ruin your personal and professional life. Not only can you face serious punishment, but you could also be left stigmatized in your own community.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a revenge porn crime in the Greater Houston area, it is important you seek an experienced criminal lawyer.
The defense attorneys at James G. Sullivan & Associates represent clients in criminal cases involving revenge porn. These cases can be difficult to defend. Sometimes the charges require expert witness testimony and a complete understanding of different Internet platforms.
Our lawyers at James G. Sullivan & Associates are experienced in defending sex crimes and criminal revenge porn cases in the greater Houston area. Call us today at (281) 546-6428 for a free initial consultation on any revenge porn case in Harris County and surrounding counties.
Revenge Porn Defined under Texas Law
Texas Penal Code Sec. 21.16 does not use the term revenge porn. Instead Texas law defines so-called revenge porn as the unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material.
According to the statute, a person commits an offense if:
- Without the consent of the depicted person and with the intent to harm that person, the offender discloses visual material depicting another person with the person’s intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct;
- At the time of the disclosure, the offender knows or has reason to believe that the visual material was obtained by him 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.
A person also commits this offense if the offender 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 offender makes the threat to obtain a benefit:
- In return for not making the disclosure; or
- In connection with the threatened disclosure.
Lastly, a person also commits this offense if, knowing the character and content of the visual material, the offender promotes visual material described above on an Internet website or other forum for publication that is owned or operated by him.
Possible Punishment for Revenge Porn
Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code lists the felony punishment for revenge porn in Houston.
Revenge porn is usually charged as a state jail felony. A conviction for such a felony is punishable by confinement in a state jail for any term between 180 days and two years, and a fine up to $10,000.
Possible Defenses to Revenge Porn
Now that revenge porn is covered more in the news, the general public has grown more disgusted by the acts of alleged offenders. If you have been charged with unlawful disclosure of sensitive materials, you need a strong legal defense.
These are some possible defenses that could reduce or mitigate the charge:
- Establishing you had “effective consent” of the depicted person in the sensitive visual material;
- Refuting that you knew the character and content of the visual material you are accused of promoting online; or
- Refuting that the disclosure of the visual material caused harm to the depicted person
Finding an Attorney for Revenge Porn Charges in Harris County, TX
If you or a loved one have been charged with revenge porn or related sex crime, contact an attorney at James G. Sullivan & Associates for a free initial consultation. Call today at (281) 546-6428 for a free initial consultation on any revenge porn case in Harris County, Fort Bend County and Montgomery County.
Our attorneys advocate zealously for our clients. We work hard to get the best possible outcome for your case.
James G. Sullivan & Associates | Houston Revenge Porn Lawyer
James Sullivan graduated from Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College, the most selective and prestigious trial advocacy program in America. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.