The Texas Sexual Coercion law 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.
SEXUAL COERCION ATTORNEY FAQs
The 85th Texas Legislature created the Sexual Coercion crime in 2017. The creation of this law followed a series of high-profile incidents involving romantic scams, where victims were conned into sending naked pictures after being misled or threatened by anonymous strangers on the internet.
Have you been charged with Sexual Coercion? Book a consultation to discuss legal representation with criminal defense attorneys Paul Saputo and Nicholas Toufexis today.
This offense is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 5 “Offenses Against The Person” and Chapter 21 “Sexual Offenses.” There were no changes to the law in 2019, 2021, or 2023. Learn more information about this new law below.
The current Texas law defines the offense of Sexual Coercion in Penal Code Section §21.18 as follows:
(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.
(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).” Section 21.16 of the Penal Code is the Voyeurism offense. And “Sexual conduct” is defined as “having the meaning assigned by Section 43.25“ which is a broad definition found in the Sexual Performance by a Child offense statute.
This law was created by the 85th Texas Legislature in 2017. and was codified at Section 21.18 in the Texas Penal Code. It was created among a suite of new laws aimed at helping to eliminate sex trafficking. The Sexual Coercion law took effect September 1, 2017.
You can be charged with Sexual Coercion if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of either 21.18(b) or 21.18(c), as described in the section above, have been met.
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 law.
^1. Texas Penal Code §21.18^2. Penal Code §21.18(a)(1), enacted by HB 2552, 85th Texas Legislature, Section 16, effective September 1, 2017^3. Penal Code §21.18(a)(2), as created by House Bill 2252, 85th Texas Legislature, Section 16, effective September 1, 2017^4. House Bill 2552, 85th Texas Legislature^5. House Bill 2552, 85th Texas Legislature, Sections 25-28^6. Penal Code §21.18(e), enacted by House Bill 2552, 85th Texas Legislature, Section 16, effective September 1, 2017