"Dick Pics" now illegal in Texas
Because I was already married when apps like Tinder began taking over the dating scene – And also because I’m a guy – I’ve never had to deal with an unsolicited dick pic. Of course they happen all the time. I don’t think they’re very effective as a dating tool, but that doesn’t seem to stop guys from trying.
Texas passed a bill that went into effect earlier this month to try to curb the problem. The bill added language into the criminal code as follows:
A person commits an offense if the person knowingly transmits by electronic means visual material that: (1) depicts: (A) any person engaging in sexual conduct or with the person’s intimate parts exposed; or (B) covered genitals of a male person that are in a discernibly turgid state; and (2) is not sent at the request of or with the express consent of the recipient. (c) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor. (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.
There are a few things to note in the text.
First, this is not strictly a “dick pick” law, since sexual conduct is also covered. Women aren’t left out either. But, the pic must be unwanted. It’s a defense that the recipient was willing to receive it.
Second, I’ve seen a few folks online who said that people could go to jail over the new law. This isn’t true. The offense a class C misdemeanor (same as a speeding ticket), so jail time isn’t indicated unless a person fails to appear for court. However, the fine is set at a hefty $500.
Third, it also makes it an offense to send the “covered genitals of a male person that are in a discernibly turgid state”. For those who don’t know, “turgid” is defined: swollen and distended.
I would like to be in the courtroom when some poor Municipal prosecutor is making the argument that the genitals were in their turgid state. I’m not sure how you would go about proving that. Alternatively, they could fall back on the second definition of turgid if they could show that the penis was “tediously pompous or bombastic.”
How will this law play out in the real world? Hopefully it will be a deterrent, but I don’t envision that it will be enforced very often. Prosecutors would need to know the identity of the sender and prove he sent it. Not necessarily something that police want to be spending their investigatory resources on. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if we did get one or two highly publicized cases where someone has sent a large number of images. Prosecutors could then “stack” the fines to a significant degree. It also makes for one of those news stories that generates clicks and hopefully makes guys think twice before sending unwanted images.