UNLAWFUL DISSEMINATION OF INTIMATE IMAGES AND NAKED PHOTOS
There has been a recent trend nationwide of individuals sharing naked photographs and private pornographic movies of their ex-spouses or lovers with friends, or uploading these images and films to internet websites for the world to see. To combat the embarrassment that accompanies such a betrayal of trust, Pennsylvania has passed it's own Revenge Porn law designed to charge and prosecute offenders.
Pennsylvania's Revenge Porn Law is called the Unlawful Dissemination of Intimate Images
Pennsylvania's version of the Revenge Porn law is found at Section 3131 of the crimes code, and is referred to as the Unlawful Dissemination of Intimate Image. The law prohibits anyone from disseminating a visual depiction of a current or former sexual or intimate partner in a state of nudity or engaged in sexual conduct, without their consent, with the intent to harass, annoy or alarm that person.
Although the idea of sexual conduct is straightforward, the term nudity includes showing one's genitals, pubic area, buttocks without a fully opaque covering, or showing the female breast without a fully opaque covering of any portion below the top of the nipple. Simply showing a picture of an ex-lover's buttocks without consent can qualify under the statute.
If the party depicted is a minor, the offense is graded as a 1st-Degree Misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the party depicted is not a minor, then the offense is graded as a 2nd-Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to 2 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
What are the defenses to the Unlawful Dissemination of Intimate Image charge?
It is a defense to the charge that the person depicted in the photo, movie or other visual depiction consented to the dissemination of the photo. It is not a defense that the person consented to the photograph being taken in general if the person didn't also agree to allow for its disclosure to others. Other defenses may include a lack of intent, or that the person did not intend to harass, annoy, or alarm the other person when the photograph was shared. Or the prosecution may not be able to prove that you had possession or control of the images, and therefore, did not disseminate them.
The worst thing someone accused of this crime can do is speak with law enforcement. Making any admission about possessing or disseminating photos can seal your fate in court.
Can I be charged with this crime if I shared the naked picture outside of Pennsylvania?
Yes. A person can be convicted of this offense if either the victim or offender is located within Pennsylvania. So for example, a man living in California who shares a naked photo of his ex-wife with others in California can be prosecuted in Pennsylvania if the victim resides there.
If I've been charged outside of Pennsylvania, can I still be prosecuted in Pennsylvania for this offense?
Yes. The Attorney General has been given the authority to investigate and prosecute any violations involving more than one county in Pennsylvania or another state. If a person who lives in California shares naked pictures of another person by texting them to a friend in Pennsylvania, he may be prosecuted in both California and Pennsylvania for violating their respective state laws.
Am I subject to Megan's Law Registration requirements?
A conviction for the unlawful dissemination of an intimate image alone will not trigger any Megan's Law or SORNA registration requirements if the photographs are of adults only. If disseminating photographs of minors, you will also be charged with additional sexual offenses that trigger SORNA reporting requirements.
Are you looking for a Pittsburgh attorney to defend you against Revenge Porn or Unlawful Dissemination of Intimate Image charges?
A conviction for the unlawful dissemination of intimate image can lead to jail time and irreparable damage to your reputation and career. If you are under investigation for this offense, do not talk to the police and contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.
The Zuckerman Law Firm has successfully defended those accused of violating Pennsylvania's Revenge Porn Law, and will work to achieve the best possible results on your behalf. Call us today at 412-447-5580 for a free, confidential consultation.