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Sending Unsolicited Nudes is Now a Crime in Texas

Published: Oct 22, 2019 in Sex Crimes

Sending nude photos to someone without consent is never a good idea. But now it is a crime under Texas law. Even in situations where sending the material was consensual, relationships sour and false allegations could put you in a difficult legal position.

If you find yourself charged with a crime relating to sending sexually explicit materials, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767. During a free and confidential consultation, we will review the facts and guide your next steps.

New Texas Law Covers Sexually Explicit Material

The electronic transmission of sexually explicit material is a Class C misdemeanor, with a maximum $500 fine if the recipient didn’t consent to receive them. The law covers images sent by text, email, dating apps, and social media. Texas joins Washington, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey with similar laws on the books.

On May 13, 2019, in a Senate committee hearing, dating app Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd testified in support of the legislation. In an April Inc. magazine article, Herd also stated when she created Bumble in 2014, she wanted to make the internet friendlier to women. The app has a feature called “Private Detector” that scans images to determine if they’re pornographic. If so, the recipient has the option of accepting or deleting it. Those sending unsolicited pornographic images will be blocked from using the app.

Problems that May Limit its Enforcement

With many new laws covering technology, several issues could potentially make the law hard to enforce.

  • Law enforcement has limited resources. Given how prevalent the problem is, they could be swamped with complaints. It would also be hard to distinguish between genuine crimes, rather than complaints filed by those seeking revenge against a former partner.
  • As in all criminal matters, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. The accused could claim the image was actually sent by someone else. To establish evidence that would stand up in court, there would need to have computer forensics evidence in the case. Whether a police department is willing and able to do that for a class C misdemeanor would depend on the circumstances.
  • The law is vague as to what type of material is covered. A photo taken for medical reasons or a piece of art featuring nude subjects may fall into the law. A challenge to the state’s revenge porn law, which is similar, is pending at the state’s Court of Criminal Appeals. It was declared unconstitutional last year by the 12th Court of Appeals, based in Tyler, which stated its broadly worded content restrictions infringe on free speech.

How Attorney Barnett Can Help

Sex crime accusations often rely on testimony and evidence that is disputed. If you’re accused of a sex crime, you may feel everyone believes you’re guilty before you step foot into the courtroom. That’s not the case. The prosecution has the burden to prove you’re guilty, it’s not up to you to prove you’re innocent.

If you’ve been arrested — or are under investigation — for any sexual offense you need an experienced attorney who believes in you and your innocence. Attorney Ned Barnett is a veteran sex crime attorney with decades of experience in defending these kinds of cases involving people like you.

If you or a loved one are being investigated for or accused of transmitting sexually explicit material without the recipient’s consent, The Law Offices of Ned Barnett can help you deal with the situation, review the facts of your case, and build you the strongest defense possible.
To learn more about your options when facing sex crime charges, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett by calling (713) 222-6767 and scheduling your free consultation.