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Pennsylvania’s Revenge Porn Law

Cyberb

Following a number of highly publicized cases involving the posting of nude or intimate photos of former romantic partners on the internet, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed a “revenge porn” law. Those convicted of this crime face serious consequences, including jail time and hefty fines. If you were recently charged with violating the revenge porn law, it is critical to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can attempt to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.

Prohibited Conduct

A person can be charged with unlawfully disseminating an intimate image if he or she:

  • Sent a visual depiction of his or her current or former sexual partner in a state of nudity or engaging in sexual conduct; and
  • Had the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm the subject of the photo.

A visual depiction is defined as a representation by picture, which includes, but is not limited to photographs, video tapes, film, or computer images.

Penalties

If the person depicted in the photo is over the age of 18 years old, a defendant will be charged with a second degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine. However, the charge will become a misdemeanor of the first degree if the person depicted is a minor. First degree misdemeanors are punishable by five years in jail and $10,000 in fines.

Many individuals who are charged with unlawfully disseminating intimate images are also charged with additional crimes, such as harassment and stalking. If the subject of a photo was a minor, the person charged with disseminating it could also face allegations of possessing child pornography.

Possible Defenses

There are a number of defenses that a defendant can raise in these types of cases, including that:

  • He or she disseminated the photographs with the subject’s consent;
  • The subject of the photo is not nude or engaging in sexual conduct according to the legal definitions;
  • The subject of the photo was never his or her intimate partner; and
  • He or she lacked malicious intent when the photos were disseminated.

Some lawmakers are attempting to broaden the scope of Pennsylvania’s revenge porn law. If passed, the amendment would criminalize the dissemination of any explicit photographs, whether or not the subject consented to the dissemination or was previously in a relationship with the person who sent the photos. If enacted, these changes could make it much simpler to convict a person for disseminating intimate photos, even if the person obtained the subject’s consent.

Contact an Experienced Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Being convicted of unlawfully disseminating intimate images can have far-reaching consequences for defendants aside from possible jail time and fines. For instance, those with criminal records often find it very difficult to obtain housing or to get a job. Having an experienced defense team on your side can make all the difference in the outcome of a case. In light of this, if you were charged with violating the revenge porn statute, please call The Law Offices of Michael T. Van Der Veen at 215-515-6892 today.

Resources:

legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=18&div=0&chpt=63&sctn=21&subsctn=0

legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=18&div=0&chpt=31&sctn=31&subsctn=0

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