Invasive Visual Recording
Improper photography or visual recording was a Texas Penal Code statute that made it a crime to—among other things—photograph or record by electronic means a visual image of another person under certain circumstances. In 2014, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals struck down the statute for being overly broad and unconstitutional.
The following year, the Texas Legislature enacted a new law known as invasive visual recording that was more commonly referred to as the “upskirt bill.” The term upskirting refers to the practice of photographing underneath a female's dress or skirt in public places, but prosecutors do not need to prove that an alleged offender had the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person in order to charge that individual with invasive visual recording.
Lawyer for Invasive Visual Recording Arrests in Austin, TX
If you were arrested for an alleged invasive visual recording offense anywhere in Central Texas, it is in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett aggressively defends clients charged with sexual offenses in Manchaca, Travis Heights, Hyde Park, Tarrytown, Oak Hill, Barton Creek, Anderson Mill, and many surrounding areas of Travis County.
Kevin Bennett is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Austin who can work to help you achieve the most favorable resolution to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties. You can have our lawyer provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (512) 476-4626 to receive a free initial consultation.
Overview of Invasive Visual Recording Crimes in Travis County
- When can a person be charged with this crime?
- What are the consequences of a conviction?
- Where can I find more informaiton about invasive visual recording in Austin?
Texas Penal Code § 21.15(a) establishes the following definitions relating to the crime of invasive visual recording:
- Female breast — Any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.
- Intimate area — The naked or clothed genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female breast of a person.
- Changing room — A room or portioned area provided for or primarily used for the changing of clothing and includes dressing rooms, locker rooms, and swimwear changing areas.
- Promote — To 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 the same.
Under Texas Penal Code § 21.15(b), a person commits the crime of invasive visual recording if, without the other person ’s consent and with intent to invade the privacy of the other person, he or she:
- Photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records, broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of an intimate area of another person if the other person has a reasonable expectation that the intimate area is not subject to public view;
- Photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records, broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of another in a bathroom or changing room; or
- Knowing the character and content of the photograph, recording, broadcast, or transmission, promotes a photograph, recording, broadcast, or transmission described above.
Invasive visual recording is a state jail felony. A conviction for this crime is punishable by:
- Up to two years in state jail; and/or
- A fine of up to $10,000.
As Texas Penal Code § 21.15(d) notes, conduct constituting an offense under this section that also constitutes an offense under any other law means that the alleged offender can be prosecuted for either offense.
Ex parte Thompson (Tex. Ct. Crim. App. Sept. 17, 2014) — View the full text of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decision on September 17, 2014, affirming the judgment of the Fourth Court of Appeals that the Texas “improper photography” statute was unconstitutional. In this case, a middle-aged Kentucky man was charged with 26 counts of improper photography after allegedly taking underwater pictures of clothed women and children at the SeaWorld waterpark in San Antonio. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that Texas Penal Code § 21.15(b)(1) "is facially unconstitutional in violation of the freedom of speech guarantee of the First Amendment."
Stop Street Harassment — Stop Street Harassment is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization “dedicated to documenting and ending gender-based street harassment worldwide.” Visit this website to find information about research conducted by the organization, prevalence statistics, and tips for dealing with harassers. You can also read various stories on the organization’s blog and learn ways to take action.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett | Austin Invasive Visual Recording Defense Attorney
Were you arrested in Central Texas for an alleged invasive visual recording offense? No matter how confident you are in your innocence, do not make any statement to authorities without legal counsel. Contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett as soon as possible.
Austin criminal defense lawyer Kevin Bennett represents individuals in communities throughout the greater Travis County area, such as West Lake Hills, Austin, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Lakeway, Pflugerville, Sunset Valley, and many others.
Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett or complete an online contact form to have our attorney review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free, confidential consultation.