En Español
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Legal Statutes: Texas

UPDATED July 20, 2016

Back to Texas overview

Subchapter D. Other Deceptive

back to topSec. 33.07 Online Impersonation

(a)  A person commits an offense if the person, without obtaining the other person’s consent and with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten any person, uses the name or persona of another person to:

(1)  create a web page on a commercial social networking site or other Internet website; or

(2)  post or send one or more messages on or through a commercial social networking site or other Internet website, other than on or through an electronic mail program or message board program.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person sends an electronic mail, instant message, text message, or similar communication that references a name, domain address, phone number, or other item of identifying information belonging to any person:

(1)  without obtaining the other person’s consent;

(2)  with the intent to cause a recipient of the communication to reasonably believe that the other person authorized or transmitted the communication; and

(3)  with the intent to harm or defraud any person.

(c)  An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the third degree. An offense under Subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the actor commits the offense with the intent to solicit a response by emergency personnel.

(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, the other law, or both.

(e)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor is any of the following entities or that the actor’s conduct consisted solely of action taken as an employee of any of the following entities:

(1)  a commercial social networking site;

(2)  an Internet service provider;

(3)  an interactive computer service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 230;

(4)  a telecommunications provider, as defined by Section 51.002, Utilities Code; or

(5)  a video service provider or cable service provider, as defined by Section 66.002, Utilities Code.

(f)  In this section:

(1)  “Commercial social networking site” means any business, organization, or other similar entity operating a website that permits persons to become registered users for the purpose of establishing personal relationships with other users through direct or real-time communication with other users or the creation of web pages or profiles available to the public or to other users. The term does not include an electronic mail program or a message board program.

(2)  “Identifying information” has the meaning assigned by Section 32.51.

Enacted by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 911 (H.B. 2003), § 1, effective September 1, 2009; am. Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., ch. 282 (H.B. 1666), §§ 1, 2, effective September 1, 2011.