Definition of Improper Photography or Visual Recording - Texas Penal Code Section 21.15


a) In this section, "promote" has the meaning assigned by Section 43.21.

b) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) photographs or by videotape or other electronic means visually records another:

(A) without the other person's consent; and

(B) with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person; or

(2) knowing the character and content of the photograph or recording, promotes a photograph or visual recording described by Subdivision (1).

c) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.

d) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section or the other law.

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Comments (25) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
David R. Harvey - November 26, 2007 9:59 PM

I'm in the middle of an issue involving my wifes ex-husband. We currently have a judgment that my son can not be at our home during times of her standard visitation. Her ex-husband has video taped my son at my home with out my permission. Is the fact that he has made this video illegal and if so what avenue can I use?

DRH - November 26, 2007 10:02 PM

Correction to the posting Nov 26. The visitation is between her two boys from her marriage to the ex-husband. My son is of no blood relation.

Chuck Gallagher - January 10, 2008 7:38 AM

So how does this affect an employer who uses audio/video recording equipment for quality assurance and training purposes? If that fact is posted in the room for all to read where the video/audio recording is taking place is that sufficient notice?

Michael - February 14, 2008 9:58 PM

Well I install video audio systems an i was just charged with video taping a work in the store i installed this system in, i made no copes of anything that was recorded, i just used the online part to view the system to see that it was recording, per the owner of the system, Yes i was ask to check it, but was in fact charged with a state jail Felony this law is way out of line with what those police offices are using it for, talk about a bad misused law,

tony - March 8, 2009 2:20 PM

(1) photographs or by videotape or other electronic means visually records another:

(A) without the other person's consent; *and*

(B) with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person; or...

THE TERM "and" here would lead me to believe that it must meet BOTH criteria to be considered illegal. Otherwise, the term "or" would be used. This law appears to be specifically relating to sex.

Jamie - March 9, 2009 10:43 AM


Your interpretation of "and" vs. "or" is correct.

But the part about "specifically relating to sex"... I'm not so sure about. It's not just referring to the ultimate sex act itself anyway, but, back to the statute, anything done with the intent to arouse or gratify sexual desires.

Paulette - June 25, 2009 10:08 AM

My daughter discovered her neighbor was up in his tree taking pictures of her semi nude over her fence while she was in her home letting her dog out. She called the cops. What is the best way to proceed?

jerk photo guy - June 26, 2009 2:41 PM

Paulette, have her first, start putting on clothes and closing the blinds, or curtains. Second, tell him to stop, it works. Jesus H Christ!

B. Laatsch - February 2, 2010 10:24 AM

This is another of those "laws" penned by some well meaning albeit addled legislators...intended to punish some sort of aberrant behavior, in this instance, some perceived sexual deviancy. The question does in the world can some equally addled prosecutor intend to prove "with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person"? How for instance could proof beyond reasonable doubt be established if the person charged claimed that he took the pictures for his/her own amusement, because he/she thought they were funny and had no intent to use them to arouse or gratify him/her self sexually? Stupid law is stupid law. This law reminds me of the lyrics of the "talking candy bar blues"!

Maria - May 6, 2010 9:58 PM

If my ex husbands wife is video taping me just randomly. Outside my house at my sons school and who knows where else. Does that situation apply to this?

Laura - June 22, 2010 9:11 PM

This law has been used to prosecute an individual who had a video security system. It was not used or proven any sexual gratification, just stored on a hard drive.
It is not a sex crime law but a law that has been abused by DAs. For each picture, you will receive one violation. If you have 12 tapes, you will receive 24 years. 2 years for each tape. This has been done.

Alvaro - November 7, 2010 1:42 PM

My question is is there any law thats prohibits me from taking photos at a accident scene. you see im a firefighter and after a MVA i take pictures but these are only for me and the use of training, but resently i took a picture of and MVA and the EMS director said i had to delete them because it is agianst the law to take picture at a scene. can u please reply with the correct info that i can print out to disply at the station so there is no confusion thank you

Chillie Willie - March 15, 2011 1:12 PM

Laura, Do you have any case #'s to back up what you are saying. A Co-worker took pictures of me at work, without my knowledge or consent, and is now using them to riddicule me, creating a hostile work environment, and in my opinion, a blatent malacious attempt to ruin my professional reputation.

Ann - April 18, 2011 8:16 PM

I think my ex partner has our house bugged while we fight over custody (video and audio) he has been ordered to give me exclusive use of the house he rents under his name temorarily until we finalize everything. If he has done such a thing without me being notified would his recordings be admissable in court as evidence?

I also suspect that he has either entered the house or has had others enter it for him to collect pictures of my clutter habbits and anything else he mind incriminating. Is this or is this not illegal?


lou - May 3, 2011 9:26 PM

Is it unlawful for me to video tape a public street in Texas, in front of my home while I am standing in my property?

lou - May 3, 2011 9:27 PM

Is it unlawful for me to video tape a public street in Texas, in front of my home while I am standing in my property?

lou - May 3, 2011 9:49 PM

what is "subdivision (1)"

america jimenez - January 31, 2012 3:47 PM

I was by my car and this individual was taking pictures of me and my car. is that illegal.

america jimenez - January 31, 2012 3:48 PM

I was by my car and this individual was taking pictures of me and my car. is that illegal.

Julia - August 28, 2014 5:10 PM

Is it illegal in Texas to install surveillance cameras outside your home even if you post signs to let people know to that effect? These will record on a hard drive.

Snitha wilkerson - December 13, 2014 11:35 AM

My neighbor has place cameras all around his home because he says someone is going to get him but he has also cameras on my home and front door I feel that he is watching my husband and I . I know he is obsessed with me and alway trying to furt and disrespect my husband what can I do about the cameras that is watching my house and how can I found out about if their is cameras mounted in my home because we stay in a town home and one wall we share?

Snitha wilkerson - December 13, 2014 7:15 PM

My neighbor have posted cameras all around his house because someone is suppose to be getting him,but I think he has on pointed at my front door .How or who can I call to have my home check for hidden cameras because I stay in a town home and one wall we share?

anonymous - November 25, 2015 4:38 PM

Hi, I was renting my uncles property (duplex) behind his house. After a few months, a camera was found installed at a corner of my bathroom, diagonal to the shower. Police were called and I pressed charges immediately. He went to jail and released the next day with a PR. I am planning to take him to small claims not only for emotional distress, but also for all the stuff I had to leave behind to come back to Austin. I had to lose my job and start all over in Austin. Due to pressing charges, my whole family (cousins and my aunt) have excluded me now. I am hated by everyone for not forgiving him. Also to mention, I had 2 small children (age 5&6) in the house when camera was found. Do I have a case?

Anonymous - February 5, 2016 9:33 AM

hi, my son goes to school and when he is in the restroom he finds a friend of his recording a student that is in the next restroom masturbating so he stays their too. later on during the day they post it on an app called kik were theirs a group chat and only the kids in that chat can see it. apparently kids in that chat send it to others and a chain begins. so the kids get called and their all being charge with distribution of child video content, my son is getting arrested as well as the other kids for something that they did taking as a game. I know it Was improper to do so, but what about the kid doing Masturbation in a school bathroom he is now the victim does he get any charges for doing such thing in a school with other kids all around what kid does it while in school.

lOU - May 12, 2017 6:06 PM

If a person films himself, sexual film, and sent it to the wrong person. Is that also a violation of this penal code? It should have been exchanges between two friends.

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