Revenge Porn Is a Crime in California
The digital age has brought an increase in connections, productivity, and creativity, but it has also paved the way for an increase in revenge porn. Revenge porn is the act of sharing an intimate photo of someone without their consent, and with millions of people having access to mobile devices and computers, it is not surprising that revenge porn is so widespread.
Spouses, couples, and people in casual relationships may express their love and infatuation through private, sexual photos. Nude photos in these contexts are considered tokens of love for many couples, but if a couple breaks up or gets a divorce, one partner may escalate the situation to a criminal point. Spite, anger, desperation, and malice may trigger someone to commit revenge porn. The outcome? According to a study by the Civil Rights Initiative:
- 51% of victims of Revenge Porn/NCP have had suicidal thoughts due to being victimized.
- 83% of revenge porn victims said they had taken nude photos/videos of themselves and shared them with someone else.
- 93% of victims said they have suffered significant emotional distress due to being a victim.
- 82% said they suffered significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning due to being a victim.
- 42% sought out psychological services due to being a victim.
As you can see, revenge porn can significantly impact a victim, which is why California criminalizes the act.
SB 255 makes it a misdemeanor for someone to distribute a consensually taken image of an identifiable person with the intent to cause serious emotional distress and the victim suffers distress as a result. Notice that revenge porn is a crime in California only if it is committed with the intent to cause emotional distress. Thus, if a partner accidentally leaks nude photos of their ex and immediately deletes the photos after realizing their mistake, then they could avoid misdemeanor charges with the help of a good lawyer.
That being said, similar offenses such as secretly recording or “spying on” a partially or fully undressed person for the purpose of invading their privacy are also misdemeanors. When someone has a reasonable expectation of privacy and suffers an invasion of privacy while they are fully or partially undressed, the suspect would generally get charged for a misdemeanor.
Revenge Porn & Domestic Violence
Did you know that revenge porn can be considered domestic violence, which is also a crime? The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative states that “Revenge porn can be used as an abusive tactic of power and control in a domestic violence situation. Many people who are controlling and abusive during a relationship are also aggressive and destructive after a relationship. Revenge porn images or videos may have been originally created within the context of an abusive relationship as a result of coercion by the abuser.”
With this in mind, if you think revenge porn isn’t a serious crime, we encourage you to think again. It can translate into various other criminal acts such as domestic violence, therefore, you should think twice before posting something you might regret later. We understand that in the heat of the moment, you may want to get back at your ex by sharing their nude photos online, but you may get misdemeanor charges, which carry substantial jail time and fines.
Revenge Porn & Sexual Assault, Harassment, Stalking, and Cyberstalking
Revenge porn could be considered far more than domestic violence — it can involve sexual assault, harassment, stalking, and cyberstalking. For instance, revenge porn may document a sexual assault or its aftermath, and people may use such content as a means to harass victims through unsolicited texts, emails, phone calls, letters, visits to the victim’s home or job, contact with the victim’s friends, family, or colleagues, etc. This type of conduct may cause the victim to fear for their safety and get law enforcement involved.
Protecting Your Freedom & Future
As unnerving as a revenge porn accusation can be, know that you have legal defense options. An experienced attorney can build strategies to help get your charges reduced or dismissed so you can move forward. At the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C., our defense lawyer understands what’s at stake in your life and will go the distance to help minimize the negative impacts of your case. With our firm by your side, anything is possible. Now, let’s get to work!
Schedule your free consultation online or by calling (707) 418-5352. Your fight for freedom starts here.