When two people get involved in a romantic relationship, intimacies can
occur in a variety of ways. One of the most common ways to keep the romance
alive—in the modern era—is by trading sexually-explicit photos
through text messages, e-mails, or even through social media platforms
like Snapchat or Instagram.
However, when the relationship ends in a bitter or painful manner, it is
not uncommon for one party to share intimate photos of an ex-lover for
the world to see, causing potentially irreparable damage to their professional
career or personal life. In some circumstances, hackers gain access to
others’ devices or accounts and they stumble upon private images.
California is one of 38 states in the country which outlaw nonconsensual
pornography, commonly known as “revenge porn.” A person commits
a crime by distributing photos or videos of someone else’s private
body parts or engaging in a sexual act in order to intentionally cause
fear and emotional distress.
The following are the most common crimes related to revenge porn in California:
Unlawful distribution of a private image – The prosecution must prove that the defendant deliberately distributed
a private image, understood the image was confidential, understood sharing
the image will result in emotional harm, and the plaintiff suffered emotional
harm as a result. This crime is considered a misdemeanor, which carries
a jail sentence not exceeding six months and/or maximum $1,000 fine. However,
if the plaintiff was a minor when the images were released, a conviction
is punishable by a maximum 364-day jail sentence and/or a fine no more
Harassment by using an electronic communication device (e.g. cell phone
or computer) – It is against the law to distribute another individual’s personal
identifying information without their consent and intentionally doing
so would lead to harassment by a third party. This is also a misdemeanor,
but punishable by a jail term of up to 364 days and/or a maximum $1,000 fine.
Using another person’s electronic device without permission – It is a felony to knowingly gain access to someone else’s
phone or computer without their consent. A conviction results in a prison
sentence of up to three years and a maximum $10,000 fine.
If you have been accused of committing revenge porn in Santa Barbara, our
experienced legal team at
Appel & Morse can protect your rights, reputation, and future while guiding you through
the legal process. For more information,
contact us and request a free criminal consultation today.