New Law Creates Crime of “Nonconsensual Disclosure of Private Image”

Sarah Giglio

Attorney Sarah Giglio

            One of the most important legislative updates from the 2015 session in Louisiana is the creation of La. R.S. 14:283.2, which defines and punishes “nonconsensual disclosure of a private image.”

            As a result of this legislation, it is a felony for a person to “intentionally disclose an image of another person who is seventeen years of age or older, who is identifiable from the image or information displayed in connection with the image, and whose intimate parts are exposed in whole or in part.” Additionally, the person doing the disclosing has to have gotten it under circumstances under which a reasonable person would understand that the image was supposed to remain private, and that person knew or should have known that the person in the image did not consent to the disclosure of the image. Finally, the person who discloses the image must have the intent to harass or cause emotional distress to the person in the image.

            Now the legislature did of course write in exceptions for criminal justice agencies, and for when the person voluntarily or knowingly exposed themselves in public, or when such images are “related to a matter of public interest, public concern,” etc.

            What is the punishment for this crime? As I mentioned above, it is a felony, and it is punishable by up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.

            And finally, how does this affect you? Well, we now live in a world in which “sexting” is very prominent, and as a result there are more pictures floating around of people whose “intimate parts are exposed in whole or in part.” We hear plenty of stories of people who think a good way to get back at the person who broke their heart, embarrass the person who embarrassed them, or who otherwise experienced an unpleasant breakup think it would be funny to disclose pictures like this. Don’t do it! The legislature has now made the decision for us that this is NOT a good decision, and could result in very serious consequences. If you are arrested for this or contacted by a detective regarding a crime of this or a similar nature, you need to seek legal advice.

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