There are a variety of criminal offenses under Texas law that individuals use social media to carry out, or that are related in some way to social media. For instance, in an effort to combat school bullying, Texas passed a law a few years ago that makes it a Class A misdemeanor to harass anyone who is under the age of 18 using social media, as well as via other electronic channels, with the intent of encouraging them to harm themselves or commit suicide.
Texas also has a law on the books that outlaws “revenge porn,” or posting sexually explicit pictures online of someone without their consent. This law also is a Class A misdemeanor. For teenagers engaging in “sexting,” or sharing sexually explicit images of themselves via text message or social media messaging functions, the consequences could be even more severe. If a girl under age 18 sends a nude picture of herself to her boyfriend, who then forwards the picture to his friends, he now has engaged in the distribution of child pornography.
Under Tex. Pen. Code § 33.07, it is illegal to impersonate another person online. The offense defined as online impersonation includes creating social media profiles using the identities of other people and posting messages through social media networking sites using others’ identities. Taking either of these actions constitutes a third-degree felony under Texas law.
These are only a few of the crimes that potentially implicate social media. Many other offenses involving child pornography and solicitation of minors can occur using social media communications. As a result, individuals should be aware of what they should and shouldn’t do when it comes to using social media.
Our goal is to minimize the penalties that you can potentially face for the criminal offenses with which you are charged. We are here to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, evaluate your situation, and devise the best strategy for fighting your criminal charges. No matter what type of criminal charges you are facing, the attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience, knowledge and reputation that you want and need for your criminal defense. When results matter most, contact us at (512) 474-4445.