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Sexual Coercion

The 85th Texas Legislature created a new law in 2017 called Sexual Coercion, which makes it illegal to obtain money, sexual services or “intimate visual material” (as in naked pictures) by threat or the promise to not commit a crime against someone.

This law was created by Section 16 of House Bill 25521 and is to be codified at Section 21.18 in the Texas Penal Code.

Have you been charged with Sexual Coercion in Texas? Call criminal defense lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305.

H.B. 2552 created a suite of laws aimed at helping to eliminate sex trafficking, and this new Sexual Coercion law takes effect September 1, 2017.2

What is the law about Sexual Coercion in Texas?

The Sexual Coercion law has two categories of offenses, one in subsection (b) and one in subsection (c). Section 21.18 of the Texas Penal Code will describe the Sexual Coercion law at subsection (b) as follows:3

(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally threatens, including by coercion or extortion, to commit an offense under Chapter 43 or Section 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8), 21.02, 21.08, 21.11, 21.12, 21.15, 21.16, 21.17, 22.011, or 22.021 to obtain, in return for not committing the threatened offense or in connection with the threatened offense, any of the following benefits:

(1) intimate visual material;

(2) an act involving sexual conduct causing arousal or gratification; or

(3) a monetary benefit or other benefit of value.

Section 21.18 of the Texas Penal Code will describe the Sexual Coercion law at subsection (c) as follows:4

(c) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally threatens, including by coercion or extortion, to commit an offense under Chapter 19 or 20 or Section 20A.02(a)(1), (2), (5), or (6) to obtain, in return for not committing the threatened offense or in connection with the threatened offense, either of the following benefits:

(1) intimate visual material; or

(2) an act involving sexual conduct causing arousal or gratification.

“Intimate visual material” is defined in the statute as “the visual material described by Section 21.16(b)(1) or (c).”5 Section 21.16 of the Penal Code is the Voyeurism offense. And “Sexual conduct” is defined as “having the meaning assigned by Section 43.256 which is a broad definition found in the Sexual Performance by a Child offense statute.

What is the penalty for a Sexual Coercion conviction?

The law is penalized as a state jail felony, but it can be enhanced to a third degree felony if the state’s attorney proves that you are a repeat offender of this law7.


Legal References:

1House Bill 2252, 85th Texas Legislature

2House Bill 2252, 85th Texas Legislature, Sections 25-28

3Penal Code Section Sec. 21.18(b), as created by House Bill 2252, 85th Texas Legislature, Section 16, effective September 1, 2017

4Penal Code Section Sec. 21.18(c), as created by House Bill 2252, 85th Texas Legislature, Section 16, effective September 1, 2017

5Penal Code Section Sec. 21.18(a)(1), as created by House Bill 2252, 85th Texas Legislature, Section 16, effective September 1, 2017

6Penal Code Section Sec. 21.18(a)(2), as created by House Bill 2252, 85th Texas Legislature, Section 16, effective September 1, 2017

7Penal Code Section Sec. 21.18(e), as created by House Bill 2252, 85th Texas Legislature, Section 16, effective September 1, 2017

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