Distributing Sexually Explicit Photos on Social Media

If you post sexually explicit photographs of another person on the internet, you may face severe felony charges. Posing of this type of photograph is illegal even if the person in the photo consented to the picture.

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The Distribution of Sexually Explicit Photographs Can be a Misdemeanor or a Felony

Social media has raised many questions regarding the legality of distributing sexually explicit photos and material of another person through the internet. In this technology-driven world, a single image can be broadcast to the entire world with a simple mouse click. Michigan has addressed the need for laws surrounding this issue and classified distributing sexually explicit material of another person without their consent, which is a criminal misdemeanor.

Defining MCL 750.145e

We have all heard of or perhaps experienced romantic relationships that have gone awry. Violations of MCL 750.145e tend to involve individuals in a relationship that went south. Unfortunately, in Michigan, a scorned lover may decide to post or publish “revenge photos” on a computer device, computer network, or social media platform. This law covers photos sent with the understanding and intent for the images to remain private between the two individuals in the relationship.

Serious Consequences for Distributing Sexually Explicit Material

Charges for violating this law should be taken seriously. Often, the accused foregoes hiring a reputable, aggressive lawyer because they figure that distributing explicit material online is indefensible or that prison is unavoidable. Neither of these two things is true. With the normalizing of pornography in society, some defendants figure they will take their chances in court and hope for leniency. We are here to tell you this is an extremely unwise approach that will likely result in a conviction and jail time. Laws regarding social media and the internet are relatively new in terms of the law, so you need experienced, aggressive, and intelligent attorneys to represent you. The convicted face the potential of years in prison. Judges and prosecutors are extremely tough on these cases, and jail is often looked at even for a first offense.

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What are the possible consequences of posting sexually explicit images of another person on the internet?

Posting sexually explicit images of another person on the internet without their consent is commonly referred to as “revenge porn” or “non-consensual pornography.” The consequences of such behavior can be severe, both legally and socially. Here are some possible consequences:

  • Criminal charges: In Michigan, revenge porn is a criminal offense. Those facing criminal allegations might face charges such as harassment, invasion of privacy, extortion, or even child pornography if the victim is a minor.
  • Civil lawsuits: Victims of revenge porn may sue the person responsible for damages, including emotional distress, reputational harm, and more.
  • Restraining orders: Courts may issue restraining orders against the perpetrator to prevent further harassment or distribution of explicit content.
  • Fines and imprisonment: If found guilty of revenge porn-related charges, they can face fines, probation, and incarceration, depending on the laws in their jurisdiction.
  • Damage to reputation: Posting explicit images of someone without their consent can have severe social and personal consequences. It can damage the victim’s reputation, cause emotional distress, and lead to strained personal relationships. If caught, the person who posts sexually explicit images of another person will likely face severe damage to their reputation as well.
  • Online harassment and backlash: Those guilty of posting revenge porn may also face backlash and harassment from the public, especially if their actions become widely known.
  • Permanent digital record: Once explicit content is posted online, it can be challenging to remove it completely. Even if the content is taken down, it may continue circulating through the internet, causing ongoing harm to the victim. If someone posts sexually explicit pictures of another person, they might be unable to remove them from some websites, thereby exposing themselves to unavoidable criminal liability.
  • Difficulty finding employment or housing: Convictions related to revenge porn can make it challenging for the person convicted to find employment or housing in the future, as potential employers or landlords may conduct background checks.
  • Loss of online accounts: Social media platforms and websites have policies against revenge porn, and those who engage in such behavior may have their accounts suspended or terminated. Also, anyone convicted of these crimes, including distributing sexually explicit photos, will likely be ordered by a judge to close all of their accounts and refrain from using social media.
  • Impact on relationships: Perpetrators may face strained relationships with family and friends due to their actions. Those convicted of revenge porn-related crimes might find difficulty finding someone willing to have a relationship with them in the future.

It’s crucial to understand that engaging in revenge porn is not only unethical but also illegal in many places. Laws and penalties have been established to protect individuals from this harmful and invasive behavior. If you or someone you know is a victim of revenge porn, it’s essential to seek legal assistance and support to address the situation and protect your rights.

Here are some defenses the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have used to defend clients facing charges related to distributing sexually explicit materials:

  • Our client was not the person responsible for distributing the explicit materials.
  • Our client did not know the images’ explicit nature.
  • Our client had no intent to distribute sexually explicit images.
  • Mistaken identity or lack of awareness are key defenses we’ve raised successfully.
  • Another defense we utilized revolved around consent in a case where explicit materials involved adults who willingly participated in their creation and distribution.
  • In a few cases, we’ve demonstrated that our clients were unaware of a victim’s age and reasonably believed they were of legal age. This is not a complete defense resulting in an acquittal; however, we achieved extraordinary plea bargains, avoiding many of our clients’ potential consequences.

Negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution may be a viable option, potentially leading to reduced charges or penalties. It’s essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can assess the specific circumstances of the case and applicable laws to determine the most effective defense strategy, as the success of these defenses can vary based on jurisdiction and case specifics.

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Experienced, tough lawyers can help!

If you have any reason to think that charges for disseminating sexually explicit material online will be brought against you, or you are currently fighting these charges, hire an attorney now! LEWIS & DICKSTEIN P.L.L.C. is one of Michigan’s top legal firms. With a track record of success on their side, they will fight tirelessly to help you get your life back and fight these charges. No judgment, only help.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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