Is it Illegal to Post a Picture of Someone Online without their Permission?
Technology seems to be advancing faster than we can keep up with it these days. Sending messages, photos, and videos can be done almost instantaneously over the internet. The proliferation of smartphones means people are online and connected to others almost constantly. These advancements in communication technology have made it easy for someone to send an intimate photo or video of themselves to a romantic partner. However, it is also extremely easy for that partner to betray the other’s trust and send those photos to other people.
Sending sexual photos of a partner or former partner to others without that partner’s permission has become known as revenge porn and is a crime in many states, including Utah. Revenge porn often comes up between former romantic partners whose relationship has turned ugly. It may be tempting to distribute your ex’s intimate pictures as a way to humiliate them, but it is a criminal offense punishable by law.
If you have been accused of distributing revenge porn, you need to talk to a lawyer right away. Sending revenge porn is so easy that many people do not realize how big of a deal it really is. Call our Salt Lake City sex crimes attorneys for assistance. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 to set up a private, free consultation with our dedicated staff.
Is It Illegal to Share Someone’s Photo Without Their Consent?
Sharing photos is not inherently illegal. In today’s world, people share photos and videos of themselves and their friends on a daily basis. Every day, new photos are uploaded to social media websites, often without the explicit consent of everyone in those pictures. However, sharing photos of someone else becomes an illegal act when that person sent you the photo with the expectation it would remain private, and the photo was intimate or sexual in nature.
The distribution of an intimate image is a crime under the Utah Criminal Code § 76-5b-203. This law does not cover all images, only pictures that contain things like human genitals, female breasts, or some sort of sexual act.
Additionally, the image must be shared under specific circumstances to be considered illegal distribution of an intimate image or revenge porn. First, the image must have been sent or taken with the expectation that it would remain private. This is common when a person sends their romantic partner a nude photo; they typically expect their partner to keep the photo private.
Second, the actor must knowingly or intentionally distribute the image to third parties. They should also know that the distribution of the image would cause their partner or ex-partner to experience emotional harm or distress.
Third, the actor must have distributed the image without any consent from the person depicted in the image. Consent to send the photo to others may negate any criminal charges.
Finally, the victim of the revenge porn must have suffered actual distress or harm. If the image was posted online but deleted before anyone could see it, there was no harm done to the victim.
Call our Orem criminal defense attorneys for more information about how revenge porn is charged and how to defend yourself against these charges.
What is the Jail Sentence for Revenge Porn?
Revenge porn is a serious offense and may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, only one step below a felony. Each independent act of revenge porn may be charged separately, so sharing multiple photos or videos may lead to multiple charges and heavier penalties.
A Class A misdemeanor may be punished by a jail term of no longer than 364 days in addition to any fines or restitution to the victim. If you sold the photos to an adult website or otherwise earned money from its distribution, you may not be allowed to keep those ill-gotten profits.
If you are charged with revenge porn again after a previous conviction, your charges may be upgraded. A subsequent charge for revenge porn as part of a separate criminal act may be charged as a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony may be punished by a prison term of no more than 5 years.
If you are facing charges for revenge porn, speak to our Layton criminal defense lawyers right away. We can help you challenge your charges and clear your name.
Defenses to Revenge Porn
Revenge porn is taken so seriously because of the deeply private nature of the images involved and the alleged betrayal of trust on the defendant’s part. However, there are ways to defend yourself against these charges.
If you believe you had consent to share the images in question, you may have grounds to challenge your charges. Consent effectively negates any alleged wrongdoing because the person depicted in the private images permitted you to share them. If you mistakenly believed you had consent, you may still have a valid defense as long as your belief was genuine. Revenge porn may only be charged when a person knowingly distributes the private images without consent.
You may also challenge your charges because the alleged victim was already sharing the images. Even if you did not have consent to share an intimate image, if the person in the image had made the image publicly available, you may not be charged with revenge porn. The victim must have expected that the image would remain private. By sharing the image on their own, the victim shatters that expectation.
Call our Riverton criminal defense lawyers to discuss your case and the potential defenses for your charges.
Salt Lake City Revenge Porn Attorneys
If you or someone you know has been accused of or charged with revenge porn, you need to contact a skilled attorney right away. Any criminal charges of a sexual nature are heavily scrutinized by the courts and have serious consequences. Our Sandy sex crimes lawyers are here to assist you. Contact Overson Law, PLLC by calling (801) 758-2287 to arrange a private, free consultation with our team.