On October 1, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law making it a misdemeanor to create and distribute “revenge porn.” The law took effect January 1, 2014. On December 1, 2014, the first offender, Noe Iniguez, a Los Angeles man, was convicted of this crime.

If you commit revenge porn, you may face criminal charges.
The court system does not take the act of revenge porn lightly.

The applicable statute is PC § 647(j)(4)(A)-(C). The law now punishes those who engage in the following: photographing or recording the image of an intimate body part or parts of another identifiable person, under circumstances where the parties agree or understand the image shall remain private, with subsequent distribution of the image with the intent to cause serious emotional distress, and the depicted person suffering serious emotional distress. 1 The term “intimate body part” means any portion of the genitals. In the case of a female, it also includes any portion of the breasts below the top of the areola that is either uncovered or visible through less than fully opaque clothing. 2

What is the Maximum Punishment for “Revenge Porn?”

The maximum punishment for a misdemeanor is six months in jail, a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both the incarceration and fine. 3 In addition, part of the punishment may include the institution of stay away order which restrains the defendant from having contact with the victim. Nothing in the Penal Code prevents the state from assessing greater penalties under a section of law providing for greater punishment. 4

In Iniguez’s case, the defendant was charged not only with “revenge porn” but two restraining order violations. The conviction followed a seven day jury trial. In December 2013, Iniguez, using an alias, had posted derogatory comments about his ex-girlfriend on her employer’s Facebook page. In March 2014, Iniguez posted a topless photo of his ex-girlfriend on the same page, accompanied by a message which called her a “drunk” and a “slut.” He further encouraged that she be fired from the company. The victim had had a restraining order in place since November 2011, when Iniguez began sending her harassing text messages following the couple’s split. The judge sentenced Iniguez to 1 year in jail, 3 years of probation, mandatory domestic violence counseling, and to stay away from the victim. 5

There are First Amendment issues regarding the law. Yet the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has stated it was neutral on California’s law at the time it was introduced (in 2013, as Senate Bill 255). The organization has not taken a position on Iniguez’s conviction.

What is the Weakness of the Law?

It is difficult for a prosecutor to prove intent. Without remarks or actions similar to those taken by Iniguez, a criminal defense attorney could argue that a defendant’s intent was not to cause serious emotional distress. Further, until the victim learns of the distribution, and suffers serious emotional distress, the defendant cannot be held criminally liable.

How A Wallin & Klarich Attorney Can Help You

If you have been charged with “revenge porn,” call Wallin & Klarich’s experienced criminal defense attorneys right away. Our skilled criminal law attorneys can work toward the best possible resolution of your case: acquittal at trial or an improved plea offer.

Our offices are located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville. We can help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.


1. [PC § 647 (j)(4)(A).]
2. [PC § 647 (j)(4)(B).]
3. [PC § 19.]
4. [PC § 647 (j)(4)(C).]
5. [Press Release, Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, December 1, 2014. See: http://atty.lacity.org/stellent/groups/electedofficials/@atty_contributor/documents/contributor_web_content/lacityp_029467.pdf]

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