Revenge Porn

The term revenge porn has become more prevalent in court over the years. Revenge porn is the act of sharing private or intimate information. Normally, revenge porn alludes to media such as nude photographs or videos over the internet. In a typical revenge porn case, the information is used to harass, shame, or embarrass the victim. There are also cases where revenge porn is used to make a financial gain.

Revenge porn has gained a lot of traction in recent news. Some common circumstances for revenge porn could be a jilted ex-lover using the media to debase the victim, or an acquaintance hacking sensitive material through technological means.

In many cases, the offender will upload the information to a website where revenge porn is prevalent. To make matters worse, the content is sometimes accompanied by the identity of the victim such as their name, location, profession, and social media accounts. Texas Legislature states that unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material is a crime. This statute makes revenge porn a sexual offense under Texas law and can result in harsh punishment.

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Revenge Porn Defense Lawyer in Denton, Little Elm, Lewisville, and Flower Mound, TX

Revenge porn offenses can affect your personal and professional life. Not only can you face serious penalties, but it could leave you with distasteful labels in your community. If you or someone you know has been charged with a revenge porn crime in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, it is essential you seek legal aid.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy represent clients in civil and criminal cases involving revenge photography. Revenge porn cases can be difficult to defend. Sometimes the charges require witness testimonies and a thorough understanding of various internet platforms.

Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy are familiar with sex crimes and criminal revenge porn cases in the greater Dallas area, with offices in Allen, Plano, Dallas, Denton, and Fort Worth, TX. Call us today for any revenge photography charges in Dallas County and adjoining counties. Call (940) 222-8004 or simply submit an online contact form for a free initial consultation concerning your case.

Revenge Porn Charges in Denton County

Texas Penal Code § 21.16 doesn’t use the terms “revenge porn” or “revenge photography”. Instead, Texas law defines revenge porn as unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material.

A person commits an offense if:

  • 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;
  • 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 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.
 

Terms are defined as follows:

  • “Intimate parts” means the naked genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female nipples of a person.
  • “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.
  • “Sexual conduct” means sexual contact, actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, or sadomasochistic abuse.
  • “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.
  • “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 media 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 another method.
 

A person also commits an offense 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 actor makes the threat to obtain a benefit in return for not making the disclosure, or in connection with the threatened disclosure.

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.

Revenge photography or porn is also subject to civil lawsuits. These cases can be based on defamation, public disclosure of private facts, intrusion on seclusion, and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). Damages in these cases can be granted for past and future reputation damages, exemplary damages, and past and future mental anguish damages. The plaintiff can also seek a permanent injunction to avoid any further distribution of the sensitive visual material.

Revenge Porn Penalties in Denton

Unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material was originally a Class A misdemeanor. It is now a state jail felonyThis means that a conviction can result in up to two years in state jail as well as a fine of $10,000. Now that revenge porn is more prevalent in the news, the general public has a distaste for alleged offenders. If one has been charged with unlawful disclosure of sensitive materials, they need a strong legal defense.

Beneath are some possible defenses that could reduce or diminish the charge:

  • Establishing that the plaintiff couldn’t have reasonably believed the material would be kept private;
  • Establishing you had “effective consent” of the person shown in the sensitive visual media;
  • Refuting that you promoted the visual materials via any public forum or internet website; or
  • Refuting that disclosing the material caused the victim harm.
 

Texas Penal Code § 21.16 provides that 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.
 

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (b) or (d), however, 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.
 

Denton County Resources for Revenge Porn

Taking New Steps to Put an End to “Revenge Porn” ― This 2015 article notes that on September 1, new state law would make it a class A misdemeanor to publicly post intimate photos of a partner that were sent with the understanding they remain private. A conviction could bring a fine of up to $4,000 and a sentence of up to one year in jail. Under the law, the person who shares the photos and whoever hosts the website they’re posted on can be prosecuted.

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upholds “revenge porn” law ― In 2018, the 12th Court of Appeals in Tyler ruled that the law violated the First Amendment and asked a lower court to dismiss charges against a man who was awaiting trial for posting a woman’s private photos online without her consent. According to a ruling by the Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller and Judge Kevin Yeary, even though the law is a content-based restriction, it is not overbroad because it is tailored to a specific government interest — protecting sexual privacy. In order for someone to be charged under the law, the state would have to prove that the offender intentionally posted photos that were intended to be kept private, knew they did not have permission to post the photos, and posted photos that identified the person depicted, the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled. The law would not apply to someone who unknowingly shared certain images, the ruling added.

Find A Denton County Defense Attorney for Revenge Porn Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your arrest for a revenge porn case in Denton County in Texas.  Richard McConathy is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Dallas who will make every effort to find applicable defenses in your particular case to have your charge reduced or even dismissed.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy right now at (940) 222-8004 or contact us online for a consultation about your DUI arrest throughout Denton County in Texas and the surrounding counties of Wise County, Kaufman County, Dallas County, Grayson County, Rockwall County, Johnson County, Ellis County, Collin County, and Tarrant County.