On September 1, 2019, House Bill 2789 went into effect to make sending unwanted nude images a crime in Texas.
Electronic transmission of sexual material is now a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.
Not only will the law apply to text messages, but also emails, social media messages, and messages from dating apps such as Tinder or Bumble. In fact, representatives from Bumble initially gave the idea of creating such legislation to Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas), who wrote the bill.
However, there are several obstacles the prosecution may have to overcome to convict a defendant on this new charge.
For example, after Texas Senator Charles Schwertner was accused of sending lewd messages to a graduate student from the University of Texas (Austin), an investigation by the institution found that it was “plausible” a third party had sent the messages.
Due to the vagueness of the law, sending a nude image to a doctor for medical purposes or posting a breastfeeding photo on social media could be considered punishable as a criminal offense under HB 2789.
In addition, the law could be challenged based on the First Amendment. When state lawmakers passed a law criminalizing revenge porn four years ago, a Texas appeals court declared the law unconstitutional because it infringed on free speech.
Yet, Rep. Meyer says this bill is also supposed to deter such behavior.
For more information about this new law, contact the Law Offices of Robert Gregg today at (214) 891-7536.