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Sex Crimes

Revenge Porn


"Revenge Porn" is a modern phenomena that is prosecuted in both civil and criminal courts

Houston Revenge Porn Lawyers

While this might be a relatively new concept in Texas law, revenge porn is quite common in today’s society. Adults are free to take photos of themselves and send them to whoever they want, but when those photos are shared with third parties without the person’s permission, it can lead to problems for everyone involved. The person depicted could have their reputation ruined, while the person who shared the photo can be charged criminally.

If you or someone you love is being accused of sending revenge porn or posting sexually explicit images of another without their consent on the internet, you need a defense attorney familiar with this relatively new law. At the Schiffer Law Firm, we have the experience needed to fight these charges along with the compassion to help you get through this difficult time.

What is Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn is best explained as when an individual shares with a third party a sexually explicit photo or video of someone else without that person’s consent. It is generally expected that such publication will cause reputational harm to the person in the photo or video. For example, if your significant other sends you a nude photo for your own private possession and you then break up and post that photo on the internet to embarrass them: that is considered revenge porn.

Here, without consent or another defense, it doesn’t matter why the victim sent the photo or video in the first place. The point is that if there was a belief that the photo or video would be kept private, and yet it was later posted for others to see, it goes against the “unlawful disclosure” statute.

In Section 21.16 of the Texas Penal Code, it states that a crime is committed if:

Similarly, Section 21.16(c) makes it illegal to threaten a person with the publishing of intimate materials without consent in order to get their way (blackmail). Lastly, under 21.16(d), it also is a crime to promote the visual material on a website or forum knowing the character and content of it.

Proving Revenge Porn

Prosecuting revenge porn isn’t as easy as you might think it is. If you’re being charged with revenge porn, a prosecutor has to prove that you are the person who disclosed or shared the intimate material and that the victim was identifiable in the material before anything else. Further, the prosecution must attempt to prove that the victim was harmed in some way by the disclosure and that the victim had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Even with all of this, as the law stands in Texas, revenge porn cases face a lot of hurdles. For example, there are issues about where the line is between privacy and freedom of expression under the law. This has made prosecutors slightly apprehensive when trying revenge porn cases. This doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook; it just means that a quality defense attorney can help you fight these charges in court with a much greater chance of success.

Possible Punishments for Revenge Porn

Violation of the law was originally a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $4,000 in fines. Lawmakers have upgraded the crime to a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in a state jail and up to a $10,000 fine.

Along with that, you can also be sued civilly. In civil court, victims can be rewarded up to $1,000 for each intentional violation and $500 for violations that may not have been intentional. A defendant in a civil case may also be responsible for their court costs and potential damages for mental pain and suffering that could reach into the millions of dollars in some cases.

Further Ramifications

When you are convicted of a felony, you face additional consequences after your initial punishment. You’ll have a criminal record which will be a matter of public record. This means that anyone who wants to do a background check on you (potential employers, landlords, state or federal certification boards, etc.) will have full access to see your conviction.

Sex Offender Registration

As it stands, people convicted of crimes regarding revenge porn aren’t required to register as a sex offender. This can change, however, if you’re convicted of other charges along with a revenge porn charge. When you sit down with your defense attorney, he can explain what exactly you can expect when it comes to this.

Other ramifications can also be:

Possible Defenses

You’re not without hope when charged with revenge porn. An experienced sex crimes defense attorney knows how to fight back against revenge porn charges.

Some possible defense approaches might be:

It’s important to remember that having the consent of the victim for creating or receiving the material in the first place is not a valid defense. It is the subsequent use of that material that matters.

Schiffer Law Firm will be able to work the case and analyze all of the evidence to look for the critical elements that must be met, and identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case that could work to your benefit.

Why you Need a Defense Attorney

You should never try to fight a charge of revenge porn alone. If you or someone you love is being accused of this crime, call our firm immediately. Our sex crimes team has over 45 years of combined defense experience, and has successfully defended revenge porn cases before. We know what it takes to protect your rights.

It is also important that you have a defense attorney who will treat you with respect despite the charges against you. At the Schiffer Law Firm, you will be welcomed openly and treated with dignity from the moment you contact us. We know that these are difficult times, and we will handle your case sensitively to make sure that you get through the process with the best possible result. Don’t wait any longer. The sooner you get in touch with us, the sooner we can begin to build your defense.

How has Schiffer Law Firm Successfully Defended Cases of this Kind?

That’s a great question, but you won’t find the answer here. While there is nothing inherently secret about a great defense, some attorneys are simply better prepared, more creative, and more experienced than others. It’s that combination that makes our sex crimes defense team so successful in defending these cases. A professional sports team, or an army preparing for battle, doesn’t disclose its strategy to the opposition. It is only through a confidential, in-person, meeting with our attorneys, where your information is protected by the attorney-client privilege and away from any prying wire taps or snooping law enforcement investigators, that we will discuss potential strategies that are tailored specifically for you.

Call today to set up a confidential in-office or virtual meeting.

The Next Steps

The first thing you need to do is accept the situation. You have been charged with a crime, and yes, this is really happening. Having worked with thousands of clients throughout our attorneys’ careers, we understand thoroughly the storm of emotions that you may be feeling right now. Accepting the situation you are in will allow you to make rational decisions moving forward.

Now that you’ve accepted the reality of your situation, it is imperative that you maintain a clear head and stay in control of your emotions. In far too many situations, we see clients betrayed by their emotions which negatively impacts their own defense. Panic, anxiety, and second-guessing everything is the soil where bad legal strategy and decision making grows.

If you find yourself stressing about your situation, do what you can to calm yourself down. If you find that you need to talk with someone, please call us. We’ll discuss what’s going on and help you get a clear picture of your situation.