There are a number of times throughout every state’s history where the law failed to keep up with the changing world. In 2016, Minnesota recognized this when the Minnesota Court of Appeals deemed that prosecuting revenge pornography under the state’s criminal defamation statute was unconstitutional. Recognizing a flaw in the system for a crime that could not have even existed 20 years ago, lawmakers set to work and created Minnesota’s new revenge porn law. Now jilted ex-lovers out for revenge need to take steps to protect themselves or face serious consequences.
What is Revenge Porn?
Revenge porn is a relatively new term that describes the act of distributing images that display nudity or the person committing a sexual act without the consent of the people involved. In most common situations that classify as revenge porn, a couple breaks up and one party will take the private sexual images they took together or were sent between them and post them on the internet. This can include names and contact details, but even having the person easily identifiable in the photos is enough for it to be considered a crime.
However, this is not the only situation that is covered under the new revenge porn law. The law also covers acts where the sender of the image issues a sexual invitation to others under the guise that it is the person of the image without their consent.
Penalties for Sending Revenge Porn
Often when others put sexual images of their ex-lovers on the internet, they are not thinking clearly. They are overcome by grief or anger and think this sort of act will make them feel better. Typically it doesn’t, and now it can have actual legal penalties.
The revenge porn law of Minnesota allows those who are victim of the act to seek a number of damages, including:
- Pain and suffering due to mental anguish
- Court and lawyer fees from the case
- Claim on any profit made by the images
- Financial losses cause by the images such as termination of employment
On top of damages from the civil suit, the courts may decide to award them up to $10,000 from the case. It is also likely they will establish a restraining order from the case that will prevent you from seeing them or any children you may share. Violating this order can result in a large fine or even jail time for failure to comply.
Alongside the civil case, those who posted revenge porn images online will also be charged with a gross misdemeanor. This charge comes with a maximum punishment of a year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine added on top of whatever you need to pay for the civil case.
Exceptions to the Revenge Porn Law
While the law was written so that it covered a broad area. There are some exceptions that are written in that may help those accused with their defense case. These exceptions include:
- Image was shown to report a crime (such as sex with a minor)
- Exposure or sexual act was in a public place
- Image is used for scientific or education means
- The image was part of an artistic production
- The image was used for legal proceedings in a court room
If your ex-lover is accusing you of releasing revenge porn, whether you did it or not, you will want to contact us as soon as possible. Many people seem revenge porn as something silly, but the revenge porn law now makes it so that it carries hefty punishments. Let the defense team at Rogosheske, Rogosheske & Atkins, PLLC work hard to make sure that a little mistake doesn’t ruin your future.