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Sexual Cyberharrassment (Revenge Porn) in Florida

April 19, 2022
By The Wiseman Law Firm

Nowadays, it is a common practice for people to share explicit or intimate images with their romantic partner or a potential romantic partner. Unfortunately, it is also possible for certain individuals to share those private images online as a form of revenge after a breakup or fight with their partner. This practice is known as revenge porn.

Is Revenge Porn a Crime in Florida?

Under Florida Statute § 784.049, it is illegal to sexually cyberharass another person. Sexual cyberharassment involves publishing sexually explicit images of a person online (i.e on a website or via electronic means) that shares or contains their personal identification information (i.e. any information or details that can be used to identify a person such as their face/unique physical representation, name, email address, etc.) without their consent and for no legitimate purpose.

Sexually explicit images can include anything depicting nudity or a person engaging in sexual conduct, which is legally defined as:

  • Real or simulated sexual intercourse
  • Bestiality
  • Masturbation
  • Sadomasochistic abuse
  • Lewd exhibition of genitals
  • Contact with a person’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, butt, or breast with the intent to arouse or sexually gratify either party
  • Any act considered sexual battery

Penalties for Sexual Cyberharassment (Revenge Porn) in Florida

Alleged offenders can face serious consequences if they are convicted for violating the sexual cyberharassment laws. A person can be charged with a:

  • First-degree misdemeanor if they cyberharass someone with malicious intent. This is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for no more than a year.
  • Third-degree felony if they are a second or subsequent-time offender concerning sexual cyberharassment charges. This is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for no more than 5 years. Felony convictions can also impact a felon’s ability to obtain work, keep their professional licenses, qualify for certain loans, and more.

It is also important to note that an alleged offender can face civil penalties in addition to criminal penalties. Supposed victims can take civil action to obtain injunctive relief, monetary damages, compensation for their attorney fees, and court costs.

Possible Defenses

If you are facing charges for revenge porn in Florida, you need a strong defense strategy. Possible defenses against sexual cyberharassment or revenge porn charges include (but are not limited to):

  • Unreasonable duress. Under Florida revenge porn laws, an offender violates the sexual cyberharassment laws if they publish sexually explicit content with the intent of “causing substantial emotional distress” to the person depicted in the image. If the defendant did not intend to cause the person emotional distress or posted the content under duress, this would not constitute a violation.
  • Anonymous publication. For a defendant to possibly be convicted, personal identifying information, such as the person’s face, should be contained within the explicit image. If you cannot see who the person in the content is, you have not violated this statute.
  • Legitimate purpose. You can argue that the defendant has a legitimate purpose for publishing the explicit image, such as a medical, artistic, or investigative purpose.

Police do not need a warrant to make an arrest concerning violations of revenge porn laws if they have probable cause; thus, it is not a possible defense to claim a warrantless stop was made. However, a police officer must still adhere to search and seizure laws, and they need a warrant if they intend to search your home. After an arrest, be sure to consult with a reliable attorney and share the details of your arrest; they can best advise you of your rights.

Get Legal Help

At The Wiseman Law Firm, we are equipped to help you fight to protect your rights and freedoms. If you are facing sexual cyberharassment charges, our attorney can help you develop a personalized defense strategy, advise you of your best legal options, and prepare for trial.

Learn more about how we can help you and schedule a case consultation today. Contact us online or call 407-420-4647.

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