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How Can Victims of Revenge Porn Fight Back Under California Law?

Revenge Porn Attorneys Los Angeles

Revenge Porn Attorneys Los Angeles


California was the first state to outlaw revenge porn in 2013. That year, legislation made it a misdemeanor to share “intimate images” of a person without their consent.

California Penal Code § 647(j)(4) expressly prohibits revenge porn – including making or posting explicit, intimate, or sexually suggestive images/videos of a person without his or her consent.

What is Revenge Porn?

The current penalties for a first-time revenge porn offense may include:

  • Six months in jail
  • A potential $1,000 fine

California law identifies specific types of revenge porn which are outlawed, such as:

  1. A person who solicits anyone to engage in or who engages in lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view.
  2. A person who looks through a hole or opening, into, or otherwise views, by means of any instrumentality, including, but not limited to:
    • A periscope
    • Telescope
    • Binoculars
    • Camera
    • Motion picture camera
    • Camcorder
    • Mobile phone
    • Electronic device
      (*Under California law, this includes taking nonconsensual images of someone in an unmanned aircraft system, the interior of a bedroom, bathroom, changing room, fitting room, dressing room, or tanning booth, or the interior of any other area in which the occupant has a reasonable expectation of privacy, with the intent to invade the privacy of a person or persons inside).
  3. A person who uses a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera, or photographic camera of any type, to secretly videotape, film, photograph, or record by electronic means, another identifiable person under or through the clothing being worn by that other person, for the purpose of viewing the body of, or the undergarments worn by, that other person, without the consent or knowledge of that other person, with the intent to arouse, appeal to, or gratify the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person and invade the privacy of that other person, under circumstances in which the other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
  4. A person who uses a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera, or photographic camera of any type, to secretly videotape, film, photograph, or record by electronic means, another identifiable person who may be in a state of full or partial undress, for the purpose of viewing the body of, or the undergarments worn by, that other person, without the consent or knowledge of that other person, in the interior of a bedroom, bathroom, changing room, fitting room, dressing room, or tanning booth, or the interior of any other area in which that other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, with the intent to invade the privacy of that other person.

Recently, California Assemblyman Tom Lackey introduced Assembly Bill 2065 (AB 2065). If passed, the legislation would make sharing revenge porn a felony, punishable by more than a year in prison. Additionally, anyone found guilty of violating the law would be required to register as a sex offender.

But if you’re the victim of revenge porn, a short prison sentence for the offender might not seem like sufficient justice. What can revenge porn victims do under civil law to further punish offenders?

Below we’ll review what the law says about revenge porn, look at the potential ramifications for victims who have endured such abuse, and discuss how to file a revenge porn civil lawsuit to recover financial compensation for various losses.

Survivors may be encouraged to pursue civil lawsuits with Dordulian Law Group given some recent examples of revenge porn settlements and verdicts where victims have secured justice:

  • August 2023: A Texas jury awarded a woman $1.2 billion in damages after her ex-boyfriend posted intimate images and videos of her online without her consent. As is often the case in revenge porn lawsuits, the intimate images were taken when the couple were together and distributed after a breakup in an act of vengeance.
  • August 2018: A California federal district court awarded a woman $6.45 million in damages after her ex-boyfriend spread pictures and videos of her depicted naked online.
  • August 2016: A Michigan woman was awarded $500,000.00 in damages after her ex-boyfriend and former partner posted her nude photographs on multiple websites.

    Survivors of revenge porn should not be discouraged – seeking and obtaining justice is possible. At Dordulian Law Group, we will fight aggressively to help you remove the nonconsensual images and videos from any applicable platforms while also suing your perpetrator for maximum financial compensation.

    To discuss your legal options, schedule an appointment with our Revenge Porn Attorneys today. Call (818)322 4056.

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    What is Revenge Porn?

    What is Revenge Porn?

    Revenge porn is the distribution or sharing of sexually explicit images or videos of an individual without that person’s consent. Whether the images or videos were made when the victim was intimately acquainted with the offender, or the offender took pictures/videos of the victim without his or her consent, revenge porn is a crime. If anyone distributes intimate images or videos of you without your consent, that’s illegal, and grounds for a civil lawsuit towards a financial damages award.

    Is Revenge Porn Illegal Under California Law?

    Is Revenge Porn Illegal Under California Law?

    Yes. California law states that it is illegal to “distribute the images wherein the victim is identifiable, with the intent to cause serious emotional harm or distress to the victim, thus causing the victim to actually suffer such distress.” In other words, if someone distributes intimate images or videos of you and it causes you harm, the act of releasing that material is illegal.

    Additionally, California Senate Bill 255 (SB 25), which took effect in 2013, states that:

    • It is unlawful to invade a person’s privacy by looking through a hole or opening; use a periscope, telescope, binoculars, camera, camcorder, or mobile device to peep into a bedroom, bathroom, fitting room, or tanning booth.
    • It is unlawful for a person to intentionally distribute images of: another identifiable person’s intimate body parts; a person engaged in sexual acts; explicit material which both parties agree or understand shall remain private; explicit material which will cause serious emotional distress if distributed.

    What is a Revenge Porn Civil Lawsuit?

    Filing a civil lawsuit against the person who distributed the intimate images is an entirely separate matter from any criminal charges or proceedings that may occur. Moreover, the criminal case has no bearing on the civil case. Regardless of whether or not any criminal charges were filed, if you endured harm as a result of someone distributing intimate images of you, the matter more than likely warrants a civil lawsuit.

    Victims of revenge pornography have to come forward to file a claim in civil court. By filing a civil claim, the revenge porn victim is able to pursue financial damages for emotional trauma, lost earning capacity, diminished quality of life, and more.

    Former Prosecutor Sam Dordulian Explains the Process of Filing a Revenge Porn Lawsuit on the Dr. Phil Show

    Contact our top-rated team of expert sexual abuse attorneys online or by phone today to pursue justice and secure a financial award for damages.

    How Much is a Revenge Porn Civil Lawsuit Worth?

    The value of any civil case depends largely on the circumstances of the incident, the severity of harm endured by the victim, and the experience and skill of the victim’s attorney. An experienced sex crimes attorney should be able to obtain maximum financial compensation that could help cover any past, present, and future psychological care, any lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and reduced quality of life.

    Additionally, if the revenge porn images or videos were distributed on the internet, the final damages award you receive may help cover costs involved with expunging that material. All told, a revenge porn case could be worth between tens of thousands of dollars and tens of millions of dollars depending on the circumstances and the extent of the distribution.

    At DLG, our team of Sexual Assault Justice Experts (SAJE), have dedicated their lives to helping victims of sex crimes such as revenge porn for decades. With DLG, revenge porn victims have 24/7 access to four tiers of all-encompassing representation:

    • Tier I: Litigation lead, Sam Dordulian – A former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County with over 100 jury trial victories. Dordulian leads all revenge porn cases handled by DLG’s Sex Crimes Division.
    • Tier II: Investigative lead, Moses Castillo – A retired LAPD detective with nearly 30 years of experience investigating and closing some of the city’s most heinous sex crime cases, Detective Moses Castillo investigates every revenge porn case handled by DLG’s Sex Crime Division.
    • Tier III: Psychological/Counseling lead – An in-house, licensed clinical therapist with over 15 years of experience working directly with sex crime survivors.
    • Tier IV: Support lead – Two licensed and nationally accredited victim advocates who are available to DLG’s survivor clients 24/7 as a support network.

    Sam Dordulian founded DLG on the belief that sex crimes such as revenge porn need to be handled by a qualified team of professionals. He created the SAJE Team to allow victims of revenge porn to come forward on their own terms, ensuring they receive more than just expert legal representation. With DLG, revenge porn survivors have access to all-encompassing support in addition to the best legal team available.

    How Can I File a Revenge Porn Civil Lawsuit?

    How Can I File a Revenge Porn Civil Lawsuit?

    DLG’s SAJE Team is available 24/7 to answer any question you may have or begin the process of filing a claim and pursuing a maximum financial damages award. When you reach out to DLG, we’ll listen to the facts of your case, launch a thorough investigation, get you access to all members of the SAJE Team, and begin the legal process.

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    Filing a civil claim is something that needs to be done as soon as possible after discovering that the images or videos have been distributed. Although California does not have an explicit statute of limitations (deadline) for revenge pornography, filing a claim sooner rather than later is advisable. Material distributed on the internet can multiply exponentially in a matter of minutes. The longer a victim of revenge porn waits to file a claim, the more difficult the expungement process will likely be after a successful civil outcome.

    What to do if you’re the target of revenge porn

    What you do in the hours and days after realizing you’ve been the victim of revenge porn is extremely important. Our Los Angeles revenge porn lawyers have put together the following 8 steps to take after being the target of revenge porn.

    1. Document the Evidence:

    • Screenshots and Screen Recordings: Capture images or videos of the revenge porn content, including any identifying information (usernames, profiles) of the perpetrator who posted it.
    • Save URLs: Copy and save the web addresses (URLs) where the explicit content is hosted.
    • Metadata: If possible, capture metadata (date, time, IP address) associated with the nonconsensual intimate content.
    • Communication with the Perpetrator: Save any messages, emails, or other communications that relate to the incident.

    2. Report the Crime to the Platform:

    • Use Reporting Tools: Most social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok Twitter/X, etc.) and websites have built-in tools for reporting inappropriate content.
    • Detailed Report: Provide a detailed description and the evidence you have collected.
    • Follow Up: If the content isn’t removed promptly, follow up with the platform’s support team or contact Dordulian Law Group for assistance.

    3. Seek Legal Advice:

    • Find a Revenge Porn Specialist Lawyer: Look for a lawyer experienced in successfully handling revenge porn cases. Additionally, knowledge and experience with cyber law, sexual assault, and multiple forms of image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) like sextortion, cyberflashing, and deepfakes is strongly recommended.
    • Initial Consultation: Dordulian Law Group’s revenge porn lawyers offer free and confidential consultations.
    • Legal Options: Discuss the potential legal avenues, including civil lawsuits for financial compensation, criminal charges, and restraining orders.

    4. Consider Filing a Civil Lawsuit for Damages:

    • Civil Lawsuit: You may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator for invasion of privacy, defamation, or intentional infliction of emotional distress.
    • Damages: Discuss with one of our revenge porn lawyers the types of damages you might be entitled to, including compensation for emotional distress, lost wages, and other impacts.
    • Injunctions: You can seek an injunction to prevent the perpetrator from continuing to distribute the content.

    5. Report the Revenge Porn Incident to Law Enforcement:

    • Local Police: Go to your local police station or contact them online if they offer such services.
    • Cyber Crime Unit: If available, report your revenge porn incident directly to a cybercrime unit.
    • Provide Evidence: Share all the documented evidence with the officers.
    • Follow Up: Keep in regular contact with law enforcement to stay updated on the progress of your case.

    6. Get Emotional Support:

    • Counseling: Seek professional help from a counselor or therapist who specializes in trauma or sexual assault (DLG’s SAJE Team includes an in-house licensed clinical therapist).
    • Support Groups: Join support groups for victims of cyber harassment or sexual assault. This can provide emotional support and practical advice.
    • Trusted Support Network: Talk to friends or family members you trust about what you’re going through.

    7. Secure Your Online Presence:

    • Change Passwords: Update passwords for all your accounts. Use strong, unique passwords for each account.
    • Two-Factor Authentication: Enable two-factor authentication on all accounts to add an extra layer of security.
    • Privacy Settings: Review and update the privacy settings on your social media and other online accounts to limit who can see your information.
    • Regular Monitoring: Regularly check your accounts for any unauthorized activity.

    8. Notify Employers or Schools:

    • Human Resources or Administration: It may be advisable to contact the HR department at your workplace or the administration at your school. Doing so with the assistance of your revenge porn attorney is recommended.
    • Explain the Situation: Provide a clear explanation of the situation and how it might affect your work or studies.
    • Support and Protection: Request any necessary accommodations or support to protect your professional or academic standing.

    Is revenge porn a misdemeanor or felony?

    Revenge porn crimes are categorized as misdemeanors under California PC 647(j)(4). If your revenge porn perpetrator is found guilty in criminal court, he or she could face the following penalties:

    • A sexual offender criminal record
    • A fine of up to $1,000
    • Up to six months in jail for a first-time offense (typically in a state prison)
    • Up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine for a secondary offense
    • Summary probation
    • Potential miscellaneous consequences (loss of work, difficulty securing housing, etc. due to having a criminal record)

    While criminal penalties for a revenge porn offender can be a form of justice for victims, filing a lawsuit in civil court to recover financial compensation can also be empowering for survivors.

    Can I bring a civil suit for revenge porn?

    Yes, revenge porn victims in California have rights including the ability to file a civil action against a perpetrator in an effort to recover financial compensation for various losses – pain and suffering, emotional trauma, job loss, diminished quality of life, counseling or therapy expenses, etc. By filing your civil lawsuit with the expert Los Angeles revenge porn attorneys at Dordulian Law Group, you will be taking the first step towards securing justice, maximum financial compensation, and the opportunity to begin rebuilding your life by having the explicit intimate content removed from the internet.

    Can a victim of revenge porn get an order of protection?

    Yes, as a survivor of revenge porn, you can potentially obtain an order of protection (commonly known as a restraining order) against your perpetrator. One of the important steps to securing an order of protection typically includes determining which type is best for your needs:

    • Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): This is a short-term order issued without the presence of the abuser, providing immediate protection.
    • Permanent Restraining Order: This is long-term order issued after a court hearing where both parties can present their case.

    To successfully secure your revenge porn order of protection, it is recommended that you gather various evidence (screenshots, URLs, messages, etc.) and any witness statements or documentation indicating anyone you disclosed the crime to in confidence. Filing a petition, attending a hearing, and ensuring the protection order is served are a few additional steps that may be required as a victim of revenge porn.

    One of our SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) members is a retired Los Angeles Police Department sex crimes detective. With over 30 years’ experience, Detective Moses Castillo can support you and provide expert guidance throughout the protection order process.

    How can you fight revenge porn?

    Filing a civil lawsuit after making a report to the police is perhaps the most effective way to fight back against revenge porn. But ensuring that the intimate content is taken down from the internet is equally important (and something the revenge porn lawyers at Dordulian Law Group will assist with during the civil litigation process). Your civil claim can include the removal of intimate images that were shared on various platforms without your consent. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Google, etc. are just a few of the platforms that have direct lines of communication to begin the process of take-down services. There are complaint forms as well as other ways to remove content that was posted without your consent. Nonprofit organizations like Take It Down, StopNCII.org, and IBSA.org all have websites dedicated to helping victims of revenge porn or IBSA remove explicit material.

    When you contact Dordulian Law Group’s Los Angeles revenge porn lawyers for a free and confidential consultation, we will provide you with a comprehensive overview of all legal options available, including financial compensation. We will aggressively take action to remove all your non-consensual material from the internet while pursuing a successful civil lawsuit on your behalf.

    Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue a financial award for your sexual assault case. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.

    By choosing DLG to handle your revenge porn case, we’ll immediately dispatch Detective Moses to begin the investigative process.

    At DLG, we’ve created the Sex Crime Division’s SAJE Team to offer the best legal representation available for revenge porn victims. Having your life turned upside down because someone distributed intimate images or videos can be a harrowing and traumatic experience. Revenge porn can impact your work, your family, your personal life, and so much more. We’re here to serve as your dedicated advocate and fight for your right to recover financial compensation for all the trauma, harm, and damage the offender’s actions have caused.

    Our 98% success rate and history of recovering over $100 million in settlements and verdicts is proof that when you choose DLG, we’ll handle your revenge porn case with the professionalism, discretion, and skill required to reach a successful conclusion.

    Contact us today online or by phone at 818-322-4056 to learn more about why Dordulian Law Group is the number one revenge porn law firm in California. Our experience, dedication, and results are unparalleled, and we will not rest until we’ve secured justice on your behalf after an unfortunate revenge porn ordeal.

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  • By choosing DLG to handle your revenge porn case, we’ll immediately dispatch Detective Moses to begin the investigative process.

    At DLG, we’ve created the Sex Crime Division’s SAJE Team to offer the best legal representation available for revenge porn victims. Having your life turned upside down because someone distributed intimate images or videos can be a harrowing and traumatic experience. Revenge porn can impact your work, your family, your personal life, and so much more. We’re here to serve as your dedicated advocate and fight for your right to recover financial compensation for all the trauma, harm, and damage the offender’s actions have caused.

    Our 98% success rate and history of recovering over $100 million in settlements and verdicts is proof that when you choose DLG, we’ll handle your revenge porn case with the professionalism, discretion, and skill required to reach a successful conclusion.

    Contact us today online or by phone at 818-322-4056 to learn more about why Dordulian Law Group is the number one revenge porn law firm in California. Our experience, dedication, and results are unparalleled, and we will not rest until we’ve secured justice on your behalf after an unfortunate revenge porn ordeal.

    Ready To Share Your Story? Our Team Is Ready To Listen. Schedule A Free Consultation Below or Give Us A Call Us at 800-880-7777


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