Florida’s Revenge Porn Law

The advent of the Internet has made it possible to reach out and communicate with the world on a global platform. The Internet has been created to reach a greater population, and took the place of the newspaper in its ability to publish and post information for all to see. The internet provides a venue for everyone to be a writer and creator of material that can be published for an infinite mass audience. With the good that comes from the Internet and the ability to connect comes the bad: the cyberbullying and harassment on a large scale.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for sexual cyberharassment, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation.

The Pervasiveness of Revenge Porn

Before the popularity of the Internet, any material that could be used to harm the reputation of or embarrass another would remain confined in its dissemination. However, the Internet provides a powerful platform where this material can have life-long damaging effects. As such, several states have become more cognizant of the role of technology and Internet in the pervasiveness of certain crimes. In the United States in the last couple of years, more and more states, including Florida, have begun to criminalize certain behavior that in the past was seen as just simple bullying.

Florida’s Sexual Cyberharassment Law

According to Florida’s Revenge Porn law, also known as the sexual cyberharrassment law, a first offense is a misdemeanor if a criminal defendant maliciously and willfully publishes any sexually explicit images of a person without that person’s consent with the intent of causing substantial emotional distress to the person in the image. If the criminal defendant repeats the offense, then he or she may be convicted of a felony in the third degree. Additionally, it is a requirement within the law that the image conveys to the viewer the personal identity or the person’s identity can be construed from the image in order for the defendant to be found guilty .

The Legislative Intent Behind the Revenge Porn law

Florida’s legislative intent for making effective the Revenge Porn law is the understanding that in this day and age, and with the fluidity of the cell phone in our most intimate of moments, there is the possibility that a person will be depicted in an image either naked or in a sexually explicit manner. It is immaterial that the person depicted in the image consented to the taking of the photo or took the photo of him or herself. The crux of the revenge porn law lies in the consent of the person depicted in the image to have that image published.

It is also captured under Florida’s Legislative intent that there is a current practice of posting sexually explicit images of another person without that person’s consent for the sole purpose of causing psychological and emotional harm to the person depicted. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that once a picture is posted on the Internet, there is no way to “un-see” the image, the image becomes a permanent record that will be viewed indefinitely by an infinite number of people, the image is easily reproducible and shared.

Civil Damages May Be Claimed For Revenge Porn

Revenge porn is not solely a criminal issue, but a person may also bring a civil action against the criminal defendant for publishing any explicit image that falls under the definition of sexual cyberharassment. The victim can recover monetary damages of $5000 and/or recoup for actual damages that occurred as a result of the publication.

Please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation.