Understanding California’s Revenge Porn Law

crime

Sharing sexually explicit images without the subject’s consent is a crime in California. Even if the person originally consented to the photo or video, electronic distribution without consent can land you in jail. If accused of distributing revenge porn, it’s important to hire an experienced defense lawyer who can help you get a full understanding of California’s revenge porn law.

When you hire The Rodriguez Law Group, you’ll have a criminal defense attorney with over 13 years as a former prosecutor in your corner. Our attorneys are skilled in handling even the most complex legal matters. If you have been charged under the California revenge porn law, call today to schedule a free case assessment to learn more about protecting your legal rights.

How the Rodriguez Law Group Can Help You Defend Revenge Porn Charges in Los Angeles

jail time

A revenge porn conviction carries serious consequences that can haunt you for years. Even if you have no prior offenses, you face the possibility of jail time. Further, the conviction will become part of your criminal record. If convicted, the following parties may have access to information about your conviction:

  • Current and potential employers
  • Landlords
  • Educational institutions when you apply for college

Disclosing a criminal record can be embarrassing enough. It can be even more damaging to disclose a conviction for a crime that many might associate with sex crimes. You need a skilled and dedicated Los Angeles defense attorney to help you fight the charges.

At The Rodriguez Law Group, our lawyers will:

  • Investigate to get the facts about what happened in your case
  • Apply our deep knowledge of the law to the facts of your case
  • Develop the most persuasive defense strategy available
  • Negotiate with prosecutors to get your charges dropped without trial if possible
  • Handle your case personally—at our law firm, you can rest assured that your lawyer will be available to answer any questions you have about the legal process
  • Give you the benefit of the doubt—we treat all of our clients with compassion and respect

The California criminal justice system can be complicated for anyone without significant legal experience. Despite this, a charge is not a conviction. Experienced defense lawyers understand the available defense strategies and know how to poke holes in the prosecution’s case.

Our lawyers will help you gain a full understanding of the California revenge porn law if you have been accused of committing a crime. To learn more about how we can help, call our office for a free consultation today.

California’s Revenge Porn Law: An Overview

Many revenge porn charges stem from the sharing of explicit photos or videos taken during a romantic relationship that ended badly. However, a pre-existing relationship is not an element of the crime itself. It is a crime to share sexually explicit images without the subject’s consent regardless of your prior relationship with the person depicted.

Understanding California’s revenge porn law is key to building a strong defense. To convict on revenge porn charges under California Penal Code Section 647(j)(4), the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant intentionally and personally distributed an image
  • The image depicts the intimate body parts of another identifiable person or an image of an identifiable person engaged in sexual acts
  • The image was obtained under circumstances where the parties agreed or understood that the images would remain private
  • The defendant knew or should have known, that distributing the images would cause serious emotional distress
  • The subject of the image actually did suffer severe emotional distress

In addition to potential jail time and financial penalties, a revenge porn conviction becomes part of your permanent criminal record. Having a criminal record can have widespread consequences.

The criminal defense lawyers at The Rodriguez Law Group have helped hundreds of clients navigate the criminal justice system. Call us today to get more information about how we can help in your specific case.

What is Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn is essentially pornography distributed without the subject’s consent. The law is designed to protect people from the emotional trauma caused when private, intimate images are shared publicly. Some examples of circumstances that can constitute illegal sharing of revenge porn include:

  • Posting sexually explicit images of a current or former romantic partner on social media
  • Texting nude images of a current or former romantic partner
  • Hacking into someone’s private phone or computer and releasing intimate images
  • Arranging for someone else to distribute explicit images without the subject’s consent

Secretly videotaping someone else’s intimate activities and distributing the footage electronically

Any type of distribution to the public is sufficient to uphold a conviction. Further, if an image depicts more than one person, it is illegal to distribute the image if only one person does not consent.

The distribution must be intentional and public. Exceptions exist for sharing explicit images in the course of reporting unlawful activity, responding to a legal subpoena, or participating in a legal proceeding.

What Types of Images Are Protected by the California Revenge Porn Law

The image involved must depict an intimate body part or sexual act. A sexual act is defined broadly to include any type of sexual encounter, including intercourse, sodomy, oral copulation, and even masturbation.

California law defines intimate body as any portion of the genitals or anus. If the subject is a woman, the breasts below the top of the areola are also included, whether uncovered or clearly visible through clothing.

It must also be likely that someone else could identify the person depicted in the images.

Understanding the Potential Penalties for a Revenge Porn Conviction

Revenge porn is a misdemeanor offense in California. That means a conviction for a first offense can carry:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • A maximum $1,000 fine

Judges do, however, have the discretion to impose probation in lieu of serving time in jail. The potential penalties are doubled for second-offense revenge porn charges.

If the victim was a minor, the penalties are increased to a maximum $2,000 fine and up to one year in county jail. It is also possible to be charged with felony-level child pornography if the subject of a sexually-explicit image was a minor.

Often, defendants charged with revenge porn also face additional criminal charges. Those charges may include:

  • Harassment
  • Harassment using an electronic device
  • Unauthorized use of someone else’s electronic device
  • Criminal invasion of privacy

The subject of the images may also be entitled to sue for financial damages in civil court. While financial penalties are capped in criminal cases, compensation awards in civil court can be much higher. If the victim suffered emotional distress, lost a job, or had to enter counseling, for example, you could be on the hook for the full cost.

If you have been accused of revenge porn, it is important to take the charges seriously. Defendants often make the mistake of believing that the subject of the images can simply drop the charges. In reality, it is up to the prosecution to determine whether to prosecute.

Our criminal defense lawyers at The Rodriguez Law Group can fight to protect your legal rights throughout the entire process. We analyze the evidence and circumstances to create a defense strategy individually tailored to your case. To learn more, call our legal team today.

How Can I Defend Myself if I am Facing Revenge Porn Charges

A smart and persuasive defense is key to putting revenge porn allegations in your past. At The Rodriguez Law Group, we put in the hard work needed to build the strongest defense based on the evidence in your case. A comprehensive defense strategy might include:

  • You did not intend to distribute the images (for example, if you accidentally shared the wrong image in a text message)
  • The victim actually consented to the sharing of the images
  • You did not intend to cause emotional distress or had no reason to believe that sharing the images would cause such distress
  • The victim was not identifiable in the images shown
  • The victim actually did not suffer emotional distress when the images were shared

At The Rodriguez Law Group, our attorneys work tirelessly to provide every client who is accused of a crime with the strongest legal defense possible. We work to get the whole picture in your case.

Our lawyers might work with character witnesses who can testify as to your good character. In other cases, we may be able to locate hard evidence supporting a defense of victim consent or a lack of emotional distress on the victim’s part.

Contact an Experienced Defense Lawyer to Get Help Understanding California’s Revenge Porn Law

If you are charged under revenge porn laws in California, you need to speak with an experienced attorney as quickly as possible. As in any criminal case, time is limited. The sooner we can get to work building your defense, the better your chances of success become.

Our lawyers have over two decades’ experience and are ready to go to work in your case. Call the experienced defense lawyers at The Rodriguez Law Group for help understanding California’s revenge porn law today. We offer a free case review for every client.