With the easy accessibility of taking and sending photos in the digital age, sending explicit photos is now more commonplace than ever before. The disturbing part of this trend is that many young women, many of whom are underage, receive unwanted photos from males that are considered to be explicit.
To stop this disturbing behavior, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 2789 into law in the spring of 2019. When the law went into effect, it became illegal to send any unwanted sexually explicit photos.
In easy-to-understand terms, this means that if the individual who receives the photos has not given consent for them to be sent, the sender could be charged with a crime. It is important to remember that a crime that may seem to be insignificant can stay on your permanent criminal record forever.
What Does the Law Actually State About Sending Photos?
This new law that was introduced made sending unwanted photos to another individual a misdemeanor crime if:
- The recipient has not specifically requested or consented to the photos being sent.
- An individual knowingly transmitted visual material that depicted sexual conduct or intimate body parts being exposed.
- Covered genitals of a male individual in a “discernibly turgid state.”
This law is also in addition to the law that makes it illegal to post so-called “revenge porn” online. Doing so can also result in criminal charges against you.
What are the Penalties for Sending Unwanted Explicit Photos?
The sender could be charged with a Class C misdemeanor if the recipient has not given prior consent for the photos to be sent. In Texas, a Class C misdemeanor is only punishable by a maximum $500 fine.
Nevertheless, even though the fine seems to be light in terms of a penalty, the criminal offense and conviction can show up on the individual’s permanent criminal record. Any type of criminal charge can make it difficult to obtain employment in many professions and even prevent the offender from being able to attend the college or university of their choice.
What Are Some Possible Defenses if Charged With Sending Explicit Photos?
If you have been charged with sending explicit photos, there are some possible defenses that you can use to fight the accusations. They are as follows:
- You did not send the photo in question, even if the picture originated from your phone.
- Another individual sent the photo and is trying to frame you.
- A hacker gained access to your phone and is actually the one who sent the photo.
Should I Hire an Attorney if I Have Been Accused of Sending an Unwanted Explicit Photo?
Although the penalty seems to be exceptionally light, the long-term consequences could be far greater. Paying the fine means that you essentially are pleading guilty to the crime which will appear on your criminal record. This could cause you to lose out on future opportunities and make it difficult to obtain a job, housing, or a line of credit.