The internet has become a prime platform where harassment occurs because it is quite easy to post images as well as information online, and it’s subsequently difficult to permanently remove anything from the internet. Online publishing of vengeance porn is a criminal offense in the state of Florida. The state has also criminalized posting of sexual images online without the consent of the subject as an act of revenging against a former romantic partner.

Advocated by the State Representative, Tom Goodson, the state’s “revenge porn” law has been effective since October 1, 2015, after Governor, Rick Scott signed it into law. People who are posting explicit pictures of their former partners without their ex’s consent can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This, therefore, means that any person charged with “revenge porn” needs the help of an experienced attorney in defending his rights.

Revenge Porn

In West Palm Beach and Florida as a whole, an individual is deemed to have committed sexual cyber harassment or vengeance porn when he or she goes ahead to publish sexual explicit images and videos; which contain the subject’s personal identification information such as the victim’s hometown, name, and employer; without the permission of the subject; and with the intention of causing emotional harm.

Passed on May 14, 2015, Goodson’s House bill became law and went into effect on October 1st, making Florida the 17th state to create laws that criminalize cyber sexual harassment.

Sexually explicit images

The term “sexually explicit images,” according to the law, includes pictures, photographs, films, videos, motion pictures, or any other representation of a person engaged in sexual conduct or who is nude. While nudity means any exposure of a victim’s genitals, buttocks, pubic area or breasts; sexual conduct includes any form of intercourse, sadomasochistic abuse, masturbation, and battery.

The “revenge porn” law, however, is only applicable when a person publishes sexually explicit images on any website or social media site. This means the law does not cover the transmission or publishing of such images through other platforms such as text messages, applications like Snapchat, or by email.

What are the penalties in the state of Florida?

According to the law, fist time offenders will face:

Up to one-year imprisonment
Up to a period of 6 months’ probation; and
Charged a fine of up to $5,000

However, if you are a second and subsequent offender, you are considered to have committed a third-degree felony, and you will are likely to be punished by any combination below:

Up to 5 years in jail,
Up to a period of 5 years’ probation, and
Charged a fine of up to $5,000

The intention of the offender was to cause emotional distress to the subject. The law criminalizes vengeance porn in West Palm Beach and Florida at large, because even though the subject’s pictures may have been taken with his or her consent, the victim reasonably expects that it would be kept private.

If a person publishes sexual explicit images of minors who are aged 18 and below, he or she is charged with a third-degree felony. In this case, however, they would be charged under the state of Florida’s child pornography laws.

Being charged with a sex offense has a strong stigma and may affect the offender’s life. Individuals accused of revenge porn in the city of West Palm Beach and its surrounding regions should contact an experienced attorney to schedule a confidential consultative meeting.