Criminal Law

Revenge Porn

Recently, Arizona passed a law, referred to as “revenge porn” making it unlawful to intentionally disclose the image of a person (who can be identified) shown in the nude or engaged in specific sexual activity when that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. A.R.S. §13-1425 is the citation for the Arizona statute known as the “revenge porn” law.

The “reasonable expectation of privacy” provision means that someone can send a boyfriend or a girlfriend a nude “selfie” or video and have a reasonable expectation that the image will be kept private and not shared with the entire world. Texting or emailing an image to a friend does not waive the depicted person’s reasonable expectation of privacy for that image. And the law also states it is unlawful to disclose the image with the intent to harm, harass, intimidate, threaten or coerce the depicted person.

In other words, if you receive an image from someone who is nude or shown doing sexual acts and you intentionally post, email, or disclose by any other means, without the consent of the person who sent you the image you may be charged under this statute.

There are exceptions, but they are narrow. The exceptions are as follows:
1.    Reporting unlawful conduct;  (Sending the image to the police or other authority if you believe the acts depicted in the image or video are illegal).
2.    the disclosure is used for lawful and common practices of law enforcement, criminal reporting, legal proceedings, or medical treatment;
3.    the images disclosed involve voluntary exposure in a public or commercial setting;
4.    the images are disclosed from an interactive computer service or an information service where the content is wholly provided by another party; or
5.    the images are disclosed with the consent of the person depicted in the image.

Violating this law, disclosing the image, is a class 5 felony which can result in a prison sentence. However, if the disclosure is done electronically, the violation increases to a class 4 felony. It is important to note that threatening to disclose the image, although there is no disclosure of the image, it is considered a violation and a person can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor.

Arizona has taken a serious approach in punishing those who intend to cause harm to another by disclosing sexual images as described above. The statute includes definitions so people are aware of the conduct that could lead to a violation.

The definitions provided are:
1.    “Disclose” means display, distribute, publish, advertise, or offer.
2.    “Disclosed by electronic means” means delivery to an e-mail address, mobile device, tablet or other electronic device and includes disclosure on a website.
3.    “Harm” means physical injury, financial injury or serious emotional distress.
4.    “Images” means a photograph, videotape, film or digital recording.
5.    “Reasonable expectation of privacy” means the person exhibits an actual expectation of privacy and the expectation is reasonable.
6.    “Specific sexual activities” means the same as described in A.R.S. §11-811(D)(18)(a) and (b). (Under these subsections, a) “activities” are the human genitals in sexual stimulation or arousal; b) sex acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated, including other sexual acts.)
7.    “State of nudity” means those A.R.S. §11-811(D)(14)(a). (Under this subsection nude or nudity includes the human anus, genitals, or female breasts below the point of the areola.)

If a person is found to have unlawfully disclosed compromising images of another person, without consent, the person may also be found to have violated A.R.S. §13-3601 and may be guilty of committing an act of domestic violence. If in doubt about any actions taken as described above please seek the advice of an attorney.

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