Disclosure of Private Images in North Carolina

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It is now easy to share and find information easily, via the internet. Millions of people worldwide share photos and videos every day. Including everything from pets, to family, and even what they’re eating. However, the internet has also made it easier to share or disclose private images (also known as revenge porn). There are currently 42 states and Washington D.C. that have criminalized the disclosure of private images. This was the consequence once it became more common for lovers or spouses to share intimate photos with their partners.

Mental and repetitional damage can be enormous for the victims of this crime. Though the victims are overwhelmingly female, males can also be victims of revenge porn. Several victims of these cyber crimes have reported issues with stalkers, harassment, and more. Although these types of crimes and the subsequent laws are relatively new, it is important that the citizens of North Carolina are made aware of their personal rights.

If you or someone you know, are victims of disclosure of private images or revenge porn, call the offices of Dr. Ted Greve and Associates. Our experienced and skilled lawyers in North Carolina can help you fight for your right to privacy. Call our offices today at (844) 387-8677.

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What is Disclosure of Private Images a.ka. Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn refers to the sharing or distribution of explicit sexual images or videos without the consent of the victim. It doesn’t matter if the images or videos were created when the victim was close to the offender or if the offender took photos/videos without the victim’s consent. Revenge porn is a crime. It is illegal for anyone to distribute intimate images or videos without your consent. This can lead to a civil lawsuit and financial damages award.

What constitutes revenge porn or disclosure of private images under Georgia law 14-190.5A, is outlined as the:

  • “Harassment” means engaging in conduct directed at a depicted person that is intended to cause substantial emotional harm to the depicted person.
  • “Nudity” means:
    • The showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, or buttocks without any covering or with less than a full opaque covering;
    • The showing of the female breasts without any covering or with less than a full opaque covering; or
    • The depiction of covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state.
  • “Sexually explicit conduct” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-12-100.

Is Disclosure of Private Images or Revenge Porn Considered Illegal in North Carolina?

Yes. North Carolina passed House bill 792 in 2015. Although the statute definitely intends to empower the prosecution for revenge porn, the state gave it a gentler title, “Disclosure of Private Images”.

Then in 2017, North Carolina passed a new statute because the 2015 statute had a significant loophole. The 2015 statute didn’t allow for prosecution if images were taken without the person featured knowledge. The North Carolina Coalition of Sexual Assault raised concerns and legislators agreed.

It is clearly against privacy rights to take a picture of someone without their permission and post it without their permission. The 2017 statute was thus passed. Legislators were hopeful that it would also help to cover a rise in sexting cases among teenagers.

How Can Someone Be Found Guilty of Disclosure of Private Images?

According to North Carolina law, a person is guilty of disclosure of private images if all of the following apply:

  • The person knowingly discloses an image of another person with the intent to do either of the following:
    • Coerce, harass, intimidate, demean, humiliate, or cause financial loss to the depicted person.
    • Cause others to coerce, harass, intimidate, demean, humiliate, or cause financial loss to the depicted person.
  • The depicted person is identifiable from the disclosed image itself or information offered in connection with the image.
  • The depicted person’s intimate parts are exposed or the depicted person is engaged in sexual conduct in the disclosed image.
  • The person discloses the image without the affirmative consent of the depicted person.
  • The person obtained the image without consent of the depicted person or under circumstances such that the person knew or should have known that the depicted person expected the images to remain private.

A conviction for disclosure of private images could lead to severe consequences. The offense is considered a Class H felony if the offender is at least 18 years old at the time. A Class H felony is considered to be a low-level offense and may result in the offender not being sentenced to a lengthy jail term.

However, if the offender is convicted, he or she will have a felony record. The offense is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor if the offender is younger than 18 years old and it is the first offense. If convicted, the offender could be sentenced to up to 45 days imprisonment and/or community punishment. The offense will be considered a class H felony if it is committed by someone under the age of 18 and if this is their second or subsequent offense.

There are exceptions to the law, just like with other laws. The disclosure of an image involuntarily exposed in public or commercial settings will not make one liable. If there is a policy reason for the disclosure of such images there will not be any liability. Private images can be disclosed for reporting illegal conduct, lawful or common practices, criminal reporting, legal proceedings, and medical treatment.

The offender could face criminal charges if they reveal private images without the consent of the victim. The victim can recover actual damages, punitive damage, reasonable attorney’s fees, and litigation costs in a civil lawsuit. If actual damages are awarded, the offender could be required to pay $1,000 per day for every day that the statute is violated, but no more than $10,000.

Important to remember that an offender may be charged with violating the statute and could face additional criminal or civil charges. This statute doesn’t repeal or prevent any other remedies or sanctions.

This statute provides that the statute of limitations for civil causes of action is limited to one year from the date of initial disclosure. A civil action cannot be filed more than seven years after the last disclosure of the private images.

Call Our Offices Today for Help Regarding a Disclosure of Private Images Claim

The lawyers at the offices of Dr. Ted Greve & Associates are available to answer your questions and help you file a claim. After discovering the videos or images have been distributed, it is important to file a lawsuit as soon as possible. North Carolina has a brief statute of limitations of 1 year after the initial discovery of the disclosure, and a statute of repose of 7 years from the most recent disclosure of the private image.

To learn more, call us at (844) 387-8677. We are renowned for our experience, dedication, as well as the results we achieve. Let us help you reclaim your right to privacy.