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What is Revenge Porn?

Posted by Jarrod M. Wilfert | Feb 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

When two people are romantically involved with each other, there are many ways intimacy can occur. In the modern digital age, many couples share sexually explicit photos or videos with one another through texts, e-mails, and even social media platforms such as Snapchat or Instagram.

Unfortunately, when a relationship turns sour, some individuals result in sharing sexually explicit images of their former significant other online without their consent in order to embarrass and humiliate him/her. This is called intentional distribution of non-consensual pornography, commonly known as “revenge porn,” which is a form of cyberbullying or cyber sexual harassment.

So far, there are 41 states and Washington D.C. which have specific laws which make distributing revenge porn illegal. Yet, there is no current federal law regarding revenge.

To be found guilty of revenge porn in most states, the photos or videos must be considered sexual in nature, meaning the display of private body parts or performing a sexual act. If you share material that is not pornographic, such as an unflattering photo of a person in a bathing suit, isn't considered revenge porn.

In California, it is a criminal offense to post or otherwise electronically share a digital image of someone else to harass, instill fear, or cause injury of that individual.

The following are the types of revenge porn crimes in California:

  • Harassment by means of electronic communication – If you use an “electronic communication device” (i.e. smartphone or computer) to  distribute or share any digital image without the other person's consent—with an intent to cause harm or fear—and it is likely such an act would result in harassment by a third party, then it is considered harassment by means of electronic communication. This sex crime is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum 364-day jail sentence and/or a fine of up to $1,000
  • Unlawful distribution of a private image – If you intentionally share an image of someone else's private body parts or another person engaging in a sexual act without their consent in order to cause emotional distress, it is considered unlawful distribution of a private image. This is also a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum six-month jail sentence and/or a fine no more than $1,000. If the victim is a minor at the time of the offense, it is punishable by a maximum 364-day jail sentence and /or a fine of up to $2,000.
  • Unauthorized use of an electronic device – If you knowingly use another person's computer or network to obtain or copy any data from the system, it is a felony offense which results maximum three-year prison term and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

If you have been accused of sharing revenge porn online in California, our Ventura criminal defense lawyers at Wilfert Law P.C. is committed to protecting your rights, reputation, and future. We can assess your case, determine all your available legal options, and create a strong defense plan to get the best possible outcome on your behalf.

For more information about revenge porn laws in California, contact us at (805) 994-0560 and schedule a free consultation today.

About the Author

Jarrod M. Wilfert

Founding Attorney A Reputation of Excellence Jarrod M. Wilfert has been involved in criminal law for over a decade and as a former Police Officer, Prosecutor and certified Drug Recognition Expert, he brings a unique and aggressive perspective to the practice of criminal defense and civil litig...

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