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What is the Texas upskirt law?

(KCAL, Cypress PD via CNN)

HOUSTON – Cases of invasive visual recording, or 'upskirting,' have been on the rise in Texas in recent years.

KPRC2 legal analyst Brian Wice weighed in to answer questions about the law.

What is the Texas upskirt law?

According to Section 21.15 of the Texas Penal Code, Invasive Visual Recording states that "a person commits an offense if, without the other person's consent and with intent to invade the privacy of the other person, the person: (1) photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records, broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of an intimate area of another person if the other person has a reasonable expectation that the intimate area is not subject to public view; (2) photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records, broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of another in a bathroom or changing room; or (3)knowing the character and content of the photograph, recording, broadcast, or transmission, promotes a photograph, recording, broadcast, or transmission described by Subdivision (1) or (2)."

What is the punishment?

It's a state jail felony. An individual adjudged guilty of a state jail felony shall be punished by confinement in a state jail for any term of not more than two years or less than 180 days.

Do prosecutors need proof that there was intent?

Yes. They must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the actor intended to invade the privacy of another person or that he knew the character and content of the photograph, recording, broadcast or transmission. 

How difficult is the law to prosecute?

Depending on the facts and circumstances presented, it is not all that difficult because intent can be inferred from the actor’s conduct.  So, for instance, intent to invade someone’s privacy can be inferred from the facts and circumstances of the act of photography or recording, especially if the conduct occurs in a changing room or bathroom. 

What is the difference between felony invasive visual recording and misdemeanor attempted invasive visual recording?

Under Section 15.01 of the Penal Code: "(a) A person commits an offense if, with specific intent to commit an offense, he does an act amounting to more than mere preparation that tends but fails to effect the commission of the offense intended."

The attempted offense is one penalty rage lower than a completed offense.