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When is sharing images of someone “revenge porn?”

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Many Virginians aren’t even old enough to remember a time when taking out their phone and snapping a few pictures of their partner or themselves in some state of undress or a sexually explicit pose wasn’t possible.

So now this person has broken your heart and moved on. You’ve still got these photos and maybe some videos. In a moment of anger and poor decision-making, you post some of them to one of your social media pages or send them out to your mutual friend group or maybe even to their employer. Sharing these images without the subject’s authorization is considered “revenge porn” or “nonconsensual pornography” (NCP) — and it’s illegal.

What does Virginia law say?

Under Virginia law, a person who “disseminates or sells” a photo or video of someone who is nude or has their genitals or other sensitive areas exposed “with the intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate” can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor if they don’t have their subject’s authorization. That’s the case even if that person willingly posed for the photo and it was on your phone or another device.

Revenge porn or NCP laws have become increasingly prevalent as more and more people have spoken out about the damage that having these photos distributed without their knowledge or permission has caused to their lives. 

Our readers may remember the case of former U.S. Rep. Katie Hill. She resigned from Congress in 2019 after nude photos of her surfaced in the media. She accused her husband, from whom she’d recently separated amid accusations of abuse, of trying to destroy her career and reputation by providing those photos as well as private texts to media outlets. 

If you’re facing charges related to NCP, it’s crucial to take them seriously. Having experienced guidance can help you protect your rights and work toward the best outcome for your case.

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