Texas does not have a specific law prohibiting sexting, which is generally defined as any electronic communications using a cell phone, computer, or another digital advice to send, receive, or forward sexually explicit text, photos, or videos. However, these actions can constitute a crime when it involves an adult and a minor.
Under Tex. Pen. Code § 43.24, it is illegal to display or distribute harmful material to minors. Harmful material includes all material that appeals to the prurient interest of a minor in sex or nudity, that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as to what materials are appropriate for minors, and that has no redeeming social value for minors. This offense is a Class A misdemeanor under Texas law, which can result in a fine of no more than $4,000 and /or a jail sentence of no more than one year pursuant to Tex. Pen. Code § 12.21.
Likewise, Tex. Pen. Code § 43.261 makes it illegal for a minor to intentionally use electronic means to promote to another minor visual material depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct. This offense is a Class C misdemeanor, which carries no risk of jail time. Plus, it is a defense to prosecution if the visual material depicted only the alleged actor or a minor who is not more than two years younger or older than the alleged actor, with whom he or she had a dating relationship at the time of the offense, and the material was exchanged only between the alleged actor and the minor.
If you are facing criminal charges, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can ensure that you raise all relevant defenses. At Peek & Toland, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and defending you any accusations of wrongdoing that you may be facing. We are here to investigate the facts surrounding your case, consider your options, and help you develop the strategy that is best designed to achieve a successful outcome in your case. Do not waste time attempting to handle legal matters on your own; contact our office as soon as you are charged with a criminal offense so that we can provide you with the help that we need.