Picture this:

In San Jose, CA, boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love and begin long-term relationship. Boy and girl share private intimate photos of girl in the course of their relationship. Boy and girl break up.

Boy meets new girl. Boy shows new girl the intimate photos of his ex-girlfriend. New girlfriend gets creative in humiliating ex-girlfriend. New girl creates a fake Facebook profile for ex-girlfriend featuring—you guessed it—the “intimate” pictures she had shared with boy. New girl sends friend requests to all of ex-girlfriend’s friends, family, and colleagues. Funny joke, eh?

But wait—Ex-girlfriend sues the ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend in civil court alleging numerous actions, including negligence and invasion of privacy in Santa Clara County Superior Court.. New girlfriend is awarded $250,000 in damages by a civil jury. The deliberations began, fittingly, on Valentine’s Day.

In 2013, the California legislature added subdivision (j)(4) Penal Code section 647 – the Disorderly Conduct law – making it a misdemeanor for a person to share “intimate” photographs he has taken of another person in a private setting with their consent when both parties believe that the photographs are to remain private between the couple.

With the amendment, for a person to be prosecuted under PC 647, he or she must intend to cause emotional distress when distributing the photographs.

PC 647 is a law that covers everything from loitering for prostitution to peeping tom actions, with or without a camera. However, the law on the books for 2014 does NOT cover photos that one partner takes of himself/herself and shares with the other partner— “sexting” photos. Legislators are currently working on correcting that omission.

A $250,000 award is likely better form of “revenge” for the old girlfriend than for the payback that new girlfriend thought she was getting.   Why, oh why, did they make such good camera and “send” features for cell phones???

If you or someone you know is accused of a crime, arrested, or contacted by police, contact San Jose criminal defense attorney Maureen Baldwin at (408) 279-4450 to learn your options today!