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Unlawful Electronic Transmission of Sexually Explicit Material

The internet has brought a lot of nuance to our lives including new ways to shop, socialize and research. Unfortunately, the internet has also been used to commit crimes such as the unlawful electronic transmission of sexually explicit visual material. The crime is committed by both adults and minors, but most offenders who commit the offense are underage.

The reason for this is a new trend that teenagers and some adults engage in known as “sexting.” This when one person sends sexually charged messages and, in some cases, sexually explicitly visual material. If the material is sent without the recipient’s consent, the act could be considered a crime. Many people who commit unlawful electronic transmission of sexually explicit material do so in an act of retaliation or revenge so they can humiliate, embarrass or terrify the victim.

Due to the emotional turmoil victims face from the crime, Texas has implemented harsh laws for people convicted of unlawful electronic transmission of sexually explicit material. It could lead to a criminal record and a serious fine. If you or someone you know has been accused of unlawfully transmitting sexually explicit material, we suggest you gain legal representation. 

Attorney for Unlawful Transmission of Sexually Explicit Material in TX

Sexting or sending visually explicit material can lead to serious criminal charges, even if the event is a simple misunderstanding. The penalties are incredibly serious and can result in a criminal record. If you or someone you know has been charged with sending sexually explicit material, we highly urge you to gain quality legal representation.

For a qualified and skilled sex crimes attorney, we suggest you hire Horak Law. Matthew Horak is an experienced attorney whose defended numerous people accused of sex crimes. He can consult with you, collect evidence for your case and represent you in court. To get in touch with attorney Horak, call (713) 225-8000. He represents people throughout the greater Montgomery County area including The Woodlands, Magnolia and Conroe. 

Overview of Unlawful Transmission of Sexually Explicit Material


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Legal Definitions for Unlawful Electronic Transmission of Sexually Explicit Material

To understand the charges for unlawful electronic transmission of sexually explicit material, you first must know the definitions to certain legal terms. Certain words such as “intimate parts,” “sexual conduct,” and “visual material” all have specific meanings in the legal word and aren’t interchangeable terms.  For instance, “sexual conduct” refers to any sexual contact, actual or simulated intercourse, deviate intercourse, bestiality, masturbation or sadomasochistic abuse.

“intimate parts” is defined as the naked genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks or female nipple of a person.

The term “visual material” means any of the following:

  • Films, photographs, videotapes, negative or slide in any photographic reduction that contains or incorporates in any manner of any film; or
  • Disk, diskette, or other physical medium that allows an image to be displayed on a computer or video screen including any image transmitted to a computer or other video screen such as a cable, telephone line, satellite transmission or other method

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What Constitutes Unlawful Electronic Transmission of Sexually Explicit Material?

Texas has defined unlawful electronic transmission of sexually explicit material under the Penal Code Section 21.19. In Texas, you are guilty of unlawful transmission of sexually explicit material if you transmit by electronic means visual material that: 

  • Depicts a person:
    • Engage in sexual conduct or with a person’s intimate parts exposed; or
    • Cover genitals of a male person in a discernibly turgid state; and
    • The material was sent without the express consent of the recipient 

Sending sexually explicit material without the recipient’s consent is a class C misdemeanor. If convicted, you will be required to pay a $500 fine and retain a criminal record.


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Revenge Porn Penalties in Texas

Another crime commonly associated with unlawful transmission is known as the unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material. This is when a person promotes, posts or sends visually explicit sexual material of another person without their consent. It’s also known as “revenge porn” and many people fall prey to it every year from spurned lovers or even strangers. For a person to be charged, the victim must face some sort of emotional or physical harm as a result of the material being sent or promoted. 

Texas charges unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material as a state jail felony. If convicted, you could be charged with a state jail felony which can lead to: 

  • Up to 2 years in a state jail facility; or
  • A fine of up to $10,000 

It can be quite difficult to combat unlawful promotion or disclosure charges due to the IP evidence from the recipient. That is why it’s highly recommended you seek trusted legal representation to fight unlawful promotion or disclosure charges.


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Additional Resources

National Center on Domestic & Sexual Violence – Visit the official website for the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence and learn more about nonprofit organizations catered to victims of abuse. Access the site to learn about organizations that specialize in domestic abuse assistance, family support, and children’s advocacy for victims of sexual violence.

Texas’s Unlawful Transmission Laws – Visit the official website to learn more about unlawful electronic transmission of sexually explicit material. Access the site to learn more about unlawful transmission, the penalties and other related offenses under sex crimes.


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Lawyer for Unlawful Transmission of Sexual Material in The Woodlands, TX

Have you been arrested for sending a sexually explicit photo or video to another person? Are you unsure on what to do next or how to handle the charges? If so, we highly suggest you retain legal counsel for your charges. An unlawful transmission arrest will remain on your record and if you’re convicted it could impact you even further professionally or personally. 

To learn more about how to fight back, call Horak Law. Matthew Horak understands the ramifications that are involved with unlawful transmission. He want to do whatever we can to help you avoid the penalties and move on from this experience. Find more information about Matthew Horak by calling (713) 225-8000 to set up your first consultation free. 

Horak Law represents people throughout many counties in Texas such as Brazoria County, Liberty County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County and Harris County.


This article was last updated on November 22, 2019.

Our Office in The Woodlands
1790 Hughes Landing Blvd #400 The Woodlands, TX 77380 (281) 907-4990
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5300 Memorial Dr #750 A Houston, TX 77007 (713) 225-8000
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Matt Horak Matt Horak is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2014

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