Statewide Bail Bonds

California’s Views on Revenge Porn

One of the horrible things some people use to get back at their former lovers after a break-up is distributing explicit digital content (videos/pictures) without the other person’s consent. Because this is usually done for malicious purposes, people have started calling this act revenge porn though it’s also sometimes referred to as cyber exploitation. California is one of the 34 states that has decided to make revenge porn illegal.

If you’re caught distributing an explicit private image without the permission of the other party, you will be charged with one of several different charges. Depending on the exact circumstances of the crime and who is handling the case, you could be charged with:

  • Intentional Distribution of a Private Image
  • Misdemeanor Stalking
  • Harassment By Means of Electronic Communication
  • Unlawful Distribution of Private Image

The good news is that California’s lawmakers passed a policy that prohibits you from facing multiple charges for a single act, you can’t be hit with every single potential charge connected to revenge porn. The bad news is that the same policy means that the prosecutor will look at your case and choose the charge that has the maximum sentence. The maximum sentence involves a year in a county jail and a $1,000 fine. 

It isn’t always as easy for prosecutors to prove their case in revenge porn cases as you may think. Not only do they have to prove that you sent the explicit video/photo, but that you deliberately did so, that you didn’t accidentally hit send when you meant to hit delete. The prosecution also has to prove that the victim didn’t give their consent and say that they were free to share the image. 

While most revenge porn cases involve a person sending explicit images that they took and stored on their own electronic devices, there have been cases of people hacking into someone’s computer or smartphone, finding explicit digital content, and releasing it to the public. People who do this can be charged with the unauthorized use of an electronic device.

Before you give in to your hurt feelings and hit send on that explicit video or picture of your ex, you should consider that criminal charges might be only part of the consequences you eventually have to deal with. Your victim can also choose to take you to civil court and sue for things defamation of character and pain and suffering. If your actions caused them to lose their job, they could also come after you for actual financial damage as well.

The best way to avoid getting involved in a revenge porn case is immediately deleting any explicit images you may have as soon as you break up with your partner. If the recordings no longer exist, there’s no way they can get you into trouble.