Social media sites, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, have changed the way that we communicate. Because social media has become such an integral part of our lives, it is important to understand that Frisco law enforcement agencies can charge you with various criminal offenses based on your social media posts and messages. Convictions are serious and can have lasting consequences, including fines and jail time.
Below is a list of seven separate offenses that you can be charged with based on your social media posts in Frisco, Texas.
You can be arrested for harassment under Texas Penal Code §42.07 if you use social media to intentionally communicate an obscene proposal, threaten, convey a false report, or call or send a message intended to harass, annoy, alarm, embarrass, or torment another individual.
In Frisco, harassment is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. It is increased to a Class A misdemeanor if you were previously convicted or if the victim was a child under the age of 18 and you intended that the child commit suicide or engage in conduct that would cause them serious bodily injury. The penalty for a Class A misdemeanor in Frisco is a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
- Online Impersonation
In Frisco, online impersonation (sometimes referred to as “catfishing”) is illegal under Texas Penal Code §33.07. You commit this offense when you impersonate someone without their consent in order to create a fake social media profile or send social media messages. You must have the intent to harm, defraud, or intimidate.
Using social media to illegally impersonate someone online is a third-degree felony and punishable by two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Cyberbullying occurs when individuals, usually minors, use electronic communication, including social media, to bully, harass, or intimidate others. When adults engage in cyberbullying, it is considered cyberstalking.
Frisco students can face school disciplinary actions and criminal charges for cyberbullying.
- Revenge Porn
In 2015, Texas passed a law making it illegal to distribute a sexually explicit photo of another person on social media without their consent and intent to harm. It has become known as the “revenge porn statute.” It is not a requirement that the person in the photo is a former sexual partner.
Revenge porn is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $4,000 fine. Additionally, the judge may require you to register as a sex offender.
- Sexting Involving Teenagers
Under Texas Penal Code Section 43.261, it is a crime for minors to send or possess sexually explicit material if the child produced the visual images or knows that another minor produced the material. This includes sending and possessing sexually explicit materials on social media.
Teenage sexting is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500. The penalty increases if there are multiple convictions. This law allows minors who engage in sexting to escape the more severe penalties associated with child pornography charges.
- Child Pornography
When an adult sends sexually explicit images of a minor through social media, he or she can face felony charges for child pornography.
Frisco takes child pornography charges very seriously. Possession of child pornography is a third-degree felony punishable by two to ten years in prison. The charge is enhanced if you had the intent to promote or distribute child pornography. Additionally, you will have to register as a sex offender.
- Online Solicitation of a Minor
You can be convicted of online solicitation of a minor in Frisco if you knowingly solicit a minor under the age of 17, including through social media, in order to meet in person for the purposes of engaging in sexual acts.
In most cases, online solicitation of a minor is a third-degree felony punishable by two to ten years in prison. However, if the child is under the age of 14, it is a second-degree felony punishable by two to twenty years in prison.
Your Frisco Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges based on social media posts, you should reach out to an experienced Frisco criminal defense attorney. Philip D. Ray is a knowledgeable Frisco attorney who will make sure that your rights are protected. Call Philip D. Ray today to schedule a consultation at (469) 588-6770.