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Non-Consensual Dissemination of Private Sexual Images

Because of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Snapchat, anyone with a smartphone can share pictures and videos at any time and from anywhere. When these images and videos are posted online, they stay in cyberspace forever.

Sexting - sharing text messages and images of a sexual nature - has been normalized in today's society. The majority of sexting interactions are voluntary and are considered a private matter between consensual parties. But when the feelings of infatuation and love turn into anger and hurt in these relationships, some people have decided to share what was once a private, intimate moment into a public debacle out of spite. This behavior is addressed in Illinois law as the non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images, otherwise known as revenge porn.

While there are people who post revenge porn online to humiliate a person they were involved with, there are some people who did no such thing but were accused - both of these parties deserve justice. Since revenge porn crimes are taken very seriously in the state of Illinois, people accused of this crime need the assistance of a seasoned and experienced criminal defense attorney to get justice.

If you're in this predicament, don't hesitate to contact the legal team at Dolci & Weiland. Our legal professionals are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients and fiercely defending their charges. We believe that one of the keys to success in the process is knowledge of the law and the gravity of your charges. So, we'll provide an overview of the state law concerning the non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images.

What Constitutes the Non-Consensual Dissemination of Private Sexual Images in Illinois?

According to Illinois statute ILCS 11-23.5, a person may be charged with the crime of  disseminating non-consensual private sexual images if he or she exhibits the following actions:

  • Intentionally disseminates an image of another person engaged in a sexual act who is at least 18 years of age (this person must be identifiable from the image itself or from information displayed in connection with the image)
  • Obtains the image under circumstances in which a reasonable person would know or understand that the image was to remain private

In simpler terms, a person commits this crime when he or she intentionally posts, publishes, or distributes private sexual images of an adult in print or electronic formation without their consent. In order to constitute this crime, the person in the image must be identifiable. This can be determined if the person's face is clearly shown in the image or video, or if there's been identifying information posted alongside it. Identifying information includes a person's full name, online name, or username, physical address, email address, telephone number, social security number, or other specific information.

It's important to note that the law exempts the dissemination of private sexual images under three conditions: (1) when the exposure occurred as a part of a criminal investigation, (2) when the dissemination served a lawful or public purpose, or (3) when the exposure was in a public space or commercial setting.

Defining a “Sexual Act”

Illinois law defines a sexual act as penetration, masturbation, and sexual activity that includes touching and fondling intimate parts or sexual gratification or arousal directly or through clothing.

Legal Penalties for the Non-Consensual Dissemination of Private Sexual Images in Illinois

The penalties for this offense are relatively straightforward. The crime of non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images is graded as a Class 4 felony. If convicted, this crime carries penalties of imprisonment for 1 to 3 years and a fine of up to $25,000.

Charged With This Crime? Dolci & Weiland Can Help You

Now that you know what you're up against, you can begin to make decisions that will affect the outcome of your trial.

The most important decision you can make in this predicament is to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney and secure legal representation. You should never defend yourself in any case, especially in one like this one with so much at stake - and you won't have to with the legal team at Dolci & Weiland on your side.

Time is of the essence in criminal defense cases. It is best to obtain representation upon immediate notice of your charges.  To speak with a member of our team, fill out an online case evaluation form or give us a ring at the office closest to you today. The number for our downtown Chicago location is 312-238-9007, for our DuPage office, call 630-261-9098.