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Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Material (Revenge Porn)

As technology has continued to make it easier to take photographs and record videos, it has become far more common for people involved in intimate relationships to share private images that may be sexually explicit. When any person intentionally discloses such images, that reveal the depicted person’s identity, without the consent of the individual featured in the photographs or videos, and such disclosure causes harm to the depicted person it is commonly referred to as "revenge porn."

Numerous states have enacted laws in recent years to criminalize revenge porn, and the "Relationship Privacy Act (RPA)" became law in Texas when Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 1135 (SB 1135) on June 17, 2015. The RPA not only established criminal penalties for alleged unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate material, but also provided civil causes of action for alleged victims.

Attorney for Revenge Porn Arrests in Austin, TX

Do you think that you might be under investigation or were you already arrested in Central Texas for alleged unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate material? Even if you know that you are completely innocent, you should still refuse to say anything to authorities until you have legal counsel. Contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett as soon as possible.

Austin criminal defense lawyer Kevin Bennett aggressively defends clients accused of sex crimes in several different neighborhoods in the capital of Texas, such as Travis Heights, Hyde Park, Tarrytown, Oak Hill, Barton Creek, Anderson Mill, Manchaca, and many others. Call (512) 476-4626 today to let our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.


Travis County Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Material Information Center


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Texas Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Material Charges

Texas Penal Code § 21.16(a) provides the following definitions as they relate to the crime of unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate material:

  • Intimate parts — The naked genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female nipple of a person;
  • Promote — 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 — Sexual contact, actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, or sadomasochistic abuse;
  • Simulated — 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 — 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.

An alleged offender commits a revenge porn crime if he or she performs any one of three prohibited acts. Under Texas Penal Code § 21.16(b), a person commits unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate material if he or she:

  • without the effective consent of the depicted person, intentionally disclose 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.

Texas Penal Code § 21.16(c) also establishes that a person commits a revenge porn crime if he or she 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 alleged offender makes the threat to obtain a benefit in return for not making the disclosure or in connection with the threatened disclosure.

Under Texas Penal Code § 21.16(d), it is also a criminal offense if an individual, knowing the character and content of the visual material, promotes 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.


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Revenge Porn Penalties in Travis County

Unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate material charges is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. A conviction for this crime is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.

While 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, Texas Penal Code § 21.16(f) does provide that it is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Texas Penal Code § 21.16(b) or Texas Penal Code § 21.16(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 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.

The RPA also added Chapter 98B to the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 98B.002(a), an individual is liable to a person depicted in intimate visual material for damages arising from the disclosure of the material if:

  • the alleged offender discloses the intimate visual material without the effective consent of the depicted person;
  • the intimate visual material was obtained by the defendant or created under circumstances in which the depicted person had a reasonable expectation that the material would remain private;
  • the disclosure of the intimate visual material causes harm to the depicted person; and
  • the disclosure of the intimate visual material reveals the identity of the depicted person in any manner, including through any accompanying or subsequent information or material related to the intimate visual material; or information or material provided by a third party in response to the disclosure of the intimate visual material.

Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 98B.002(b) further provides that an alleged offender is 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, the alleged offender promotes 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.

Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 98B.003 establishes that a claimant who prevails in a suit under Chapter 98B of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code can be awarded actual damages (including damages for mental anguish), court costs, and reasonable attorney ’s fees as well as possible exemplary damages (punitive damages).


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Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Material Resources in Texas

TX | 2015-2016 | 84th Legislature | LegiScan — View the full text of SB 1135 as well as the bill's complete legislative history from introduction to the governor's signature. You can view the vote totals and the different versions of the bill. You can also view information about the bill's sponsors, comments, and research.

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." The CCRI website states that revenge porn, "though frequently used, is somewhat misleading." The organization states that a more accurate term is "nonconsensual pornography (NCP), defined as the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent."


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The Law Office of Kevin Bennett | Austin Revenge Porn Defense Lawyer

If you were arrested or believe that you might be under investigation for an alleged unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate material offense anywhere in Central Texas, it will be in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents individuals in Austin, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Lakeway, Pflugerville, Sunset Valley, West Lake Hills, and many other nearby areas in and around Travis County.

Kevin Bennett is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Austin who will fight to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties. Our attorney will review your case and answer all of your legal questions as soon as you call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett or submit an online contact form to receive a free, confidential consultation.


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