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Is “Revenge Porn” a Crime in California?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jul 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

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“Revenge porn” is a crime in California. If you are charged and convicted for posting and distributing intimate photos or videos of another person without their knowledge or consent, you could be facing severe penalties.

“Revenge porn” refers to naked or sexual videos or pictures of an individual that someone, usually an ex-lover, puts online or otherwise distributes without that person's knowledge or consent.

Revenge Porn is a Form of Disorderly Conduct

In 2014, California amended its disorderly conduct law to specifically make revenge porn a crime. California Penal Code Section 647(j)(4)(A) provides that a person is guilty of disorderly conduct if they:

  • intentionally distribute the image of the intimate body part or parts of another identifiable person, or an image of the person depicted engaged in an act of sexual intercourse, sodomy, oral copulation, sexual penetration, or an image of masturbation by the person depicted or in which the person depicted participates,
  • under circumstances in which the persons agree or understand that the image shall remain private,
  • the person distributing the image knows or should know that distribution of the image will cause serious emotional distress, and
  • the person depicted suffers that distress.

A person “intentionally distributes” an image when he or she “personally distributes the image, or arranges, specifically requests, or intentionally causes another person to distribute that image.” As such, an individual doesn't actually have to post the video or image themselves to be guilty of violating California's revenge porn law.

Additionally, the law as written prohibits the unauthorized posting of someone else's “selfies” if they are of the kind described in the statute.

Revenge Porn Penalties

A violation of Section 647 (j)(4)(A) is a California misdemeanor, which could result in up to six months in a county jail and $1,000 in fines.

However, for a second or subsequent violation, or if the individual depicted in the video or photo was a minor at the time, a conviction could lead to up to a year in a county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

If you have been charged with revenge porn in California, you could be facing significant time behind bars. It is crucial that you speak to an experienced California criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of avoiding these serious consequences. Call us today. (Read our article about revenge porn laws in Nevada.)

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About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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