Revenge Pornography Laws

North Carolina has strict laws governing public morality and decency. Under these laws and others, it is a serious crime to distribute a photograph, film, video, or any digital reproduction of a person’s intimate sexual parts without the consent of the person. In most cases, doing so is a felony. Therefore, adults and teenagers who participate in “sexting,” or sending lewd pictures of themselves or others by text messaging or social media could be guilty of a felony.

We are experienced and compassionate. We understand the trauma and life-long implications that come when a private image is communicated to others, maybe even online to strangers. We can help.

Images Taken With Consent (Revenge Porn, Sexting, Sextortion)

What if the victim gave someone consent to take the picture, but did not know the picture would be made public or sent out to others? This includes “revenge porn” and is sometimes called “sexting” with malicious intent, or “sextortion.” Friends, family members, ex-lovers, bullies, and other acquaintances try to embarrass, punish, or even blackmail you by sending unauthorized images over social media, emails, or texts. If this happened to you or a family member, we are here to help.

In North Carolina, even when the victim consents to or poses for the picture, the disclosure of private images with bad intent is a crime. The law is called Disclosure of Private Images and covers actions we commonly call “revenge porn” or “sextortion.” Even “sexting” can be a crime depending on the person’s intent, so it is important to try to preserve any texts or online posts documenting the crime. This law applies to private images of certain body parts in the nude, or private images showing sex, masturbation, excretory functions, or certain physical restraint. The following people are guilty of a felony for disclosing that type of image:

  • Anyone intending to coerce, harass, intimidate, demean, humiliate, or cause financial loss to the depicted person.
  • Anyone intending to cause other people to coerce, harass, intimidate, demean, humiliate, or cause financial loss to the depicted person.
  • Much like the other laws, North Carolina’s Revenge Porn Law recognizes that criminal prosecution is not enough, and that victims should be compensated. Many factors may affect the amount of compensation awarded. The law allows a victim to recover his or her actual financial damages, such as costs for medical or psychological treatment, lost income, etc. On top of those damages, even if the victim has no actual financial loss, victims may recover additional money:
    • $1,000.00 per day for every day of the violation, up to $10,000.00, AND
    • Up to $250,000.00 in punitive damages (meant to punish the defendant for wrongful acts), AND
    • Attorneys’ fees and litigation costs

There are strict time deadlines to file a civil action under this law! Please contact our revenge pornography lawyers immediately if you or a family member is a victim of the unauthorized publication of sexual photographs or videos. We are experienced, professional, and sensitive to the emotional toll on the victims of these terrible crimes.

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