COVID-19 Notice: Open for Business & Remains Available 24/7. FREE consultations via phone or video conferencing. Learn More »

New York Revenge Porn Laws and Crimes: FAQs

Experienced NY Revenge Porn lawyers, Cyberbullying attorneys and former Manhattan Assistant District Attorneys, Crotty Saland PC has unique insight into the practical and legal application and enforcement of the laws that are the foundation of both lawsuits and prosecutions. The following are some brief answers to some to frequently asked questions in this continuously developing and changing area of law.

Does New York Have Revenge Porn Laws and what are the Crimes?

Yes, New York does have revenge porn laws. NYS codified Penal Law 245.15, Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image, while the NYC Council legislated a distinct law for Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. This offense, Unlawful Disclosure of an Intimate Image, NYC Administrative Code NYC 10-180, only applies in the five boroughs. However, because the former offense is applicable statewide, including in NYC, it is likely to be the subject of far greater prosecutions and lawsuits.

Is Revenge Porn a Misdemeanor or Felony?

Revenge porn is a misdemeanor in the state of New York. Both statutes provide for misdemeanor prosecution by a local District Attorney.

What are the Elements of Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image?

To be either arrested or sued for violating Penal Law 245.15, there must be an image – video, picture, recording, etc. – that depicts a victimized party’s pubic area of either a man or a woman. Obviously including the vagina, penis and anus, the definition also includes a woman’s nipple. Alternatively, this image must reflect the aggrieved party engaged in sexual activity even if it is not explicit sexual intercourse. Assuming such a picture exists, and the subject of the recording is identifiable, it must be the goal and intent of the offending party to harm the other person in an emotional, financial or even physical manner when he or she shared the same without consent. These elements aside, a District Attorney must also prove that the depicted person not only had a reasonable expectation of privacy but that a defendant knew, or should have reasonably known, that the targeted person wanted to keep the recording or picture private.

Can Anyone Who Shares or Disseminates an Intimate Image Face Prosecution?

Assuming all the elements of this offense are satisfied, any person who commits these acts can face prosecution or a lawsuit in violation of Penal Law 245.15. NYC Admin. Code 10-180, however, specifically only makes “covered recipient[s]” subject to the law. The statute defines “covered recipient[s]” as a person who received the video or picture from the depicted individual as opposed to a secondary or tertiary recipient. As such, the statewide statute has a far larger umbrella.

Can a Victim of Revenge Porn Get and Order of Protection?

Yes. Even if there is no prosecution in Criminal Court where a judge would issue a Restraining Order during the pendency of a case and upon conviction or plea, a petitioner could also file in Family Court for a Stay Away Order, aka, Order of Protection. Such an order would remain in effect for up to five years. These remedies are not mutually exclusive, and a Restraining Order can be pursued as a petitioner in Family Court in addition to, or aside from, an order resulting from an arrest and prosecution.

What are the Criminal Penalties for Violating Penal Law 245.15?

Punishable by up to one year in a city or county jail, a judge can sentence a convicted person to probation, a combination of jail and probation, community service, or a conditional discharge mandating, for example, treatment or counseling. A court can also fine a defendant up to $1,000.00.

What are the Civil Remedies for Violating Penal Law 245.15?

A plaintiff can pursue a lawsuit and seek damages for abuse at the hands of a Revenge Porn distributor. Codified in New York Civil Rights Law 52-b, a judge or jury can award injunctive relief, exemplary damages, compensatory damages and reasonable court costs and attorney's fees.

What if a Website Hosts or Transmits an Intimate Image Without Consent?

A website can potentially be liable for its conduct in addition to the party who, without consent, uploaded the intimate image or recording. A judge can require that the offending site take down the intimate image.

Must there be a Criminal Case and Conviction Before a Victim Pursues Civil Remedies?

No. A lawsuit, Family Court Order of Protection, or any civil action is never predicated upon nor subject to an arrest or criminal proceeding.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

A civil cause of action exists for three years from when the image in question is wrongfully shared or one year from its discovery by the depicted person or from when he or she should have reasonably discovered the same.

A criminal cause of action for prosecution by a District Attorney is two years from the occurrence.

To learn more about Revenge Porn, Sextortion, Blackmail, Harassment, Stalking and representation as either a victim or an accused, review the links found above and contact the lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC.

Call the Former Manhattan Prosecutors and New York Cyber Bullying and Sextortion Lawyers at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
... I was facing a class B felony and potentially tens of thousands in fines and some legit jail time and after hiring Jeremy Saland he obviously struck enough fear into the prosecutors with his sheer litigation might that it was knocked down to a petty misdemeanor and after a few sheckles and a handful of counseling sessions, I will no longer have a criminal record. The offices of Crotty Saland are the Shaq and Kobe of criminal defense in New York City and to even consider another firm is outright blasphemy. I stand by this statement 100% Evan
★★★★★
Let me start by saying how amazing Liz Crotty is! I am a resident of California, who needed representation for my son who received a desk citation while he was visiting NYC. Liz jumped on the case right away; she was very thorough in explaining things to me. She is strictly business too! She went to court on my son's behalf and had his case dismissed. I am forever grateful to her. Seana G.
Contact Us 212.312.7129

1Free Consultation

2Available 24/7

3We Will Fight For You!