What You Need To Know About Minnesota Revenge Porn Law


As of August 1, 2016, Minnesota passed a revenge porn law – joining 32 other states that criminalize revenge porn. Here is what you need to know about Minnesota revenge porn law and where to find a lawyer that specializes in this kind of case should you find yourself needing one.

What is the Minnesota Revenge Porn Law?

The Minnesota revenge porn law has a name – Nonconsensual Dissemination of Private Sexual Images. This law is meant to punish those who intentionally shares sexual images of another person that were intended to be private and without the person’s consent. The law does not differentiate between knowing if there was consent or not because if there is enough circumstantial evidence that the person should have known that there was no consent, that is enough for the person to be prosecuted. In fact, there doesn’t even have to be a requirement that the actor know that the person had an expectation that the photo would not be shared. A first time offense warrants a Gross Misdemeanor charge of a $1000 fine and up to one year in jail if there are no aggravating circumstances.

The law goes on to provide damages for:

  • Financial losses caused by distribution of the images
  • Pain, suffering, mental anguish
  • Amount equal to any profit made by the distribution of the images
  • Court fees and costs
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Specific damages

What are Aggravating Circumstances?

If there is proof of aggravating circumstances, the crime is now a felony with up to three years in prison. The following are examples of aggravating circumstances:

  • The image was posted on a website
  • There was financial loss to the subject
  • There was a prior conviction
  • The crime was for financial gain
  • The crime was meant to harass the subject
  • The crime was meant to share images through a maintained website
  • Computer hacking was used to get the images

Negligence Vs Specific Intent

There is one major question about this new law and that is that criminal laws usually have to have two aspects before it is considered criminal conduct and those are a level of criminal intent and the act itself. In the case of the Nonconsensual Dissemination of Private Sexual Images, it does not require proof that the person committing this crime had intent to harm the subject or to even cause emotional distress when sharing the images or disseminating them. This particular law uses punishment no matter what the person originally intended to happen when sharing the images.

When there is not a specific intent, this is typically a negligence case and negligence is not usually criminalized. That is why this law is questionable to some since we do not punish those without a criminal mind in negligence cases. Yes, they may be punished for what happened but not in a criminal manner.

If you are charged with this, you will need all the help you can get and with someone who has experience and knowledge.  Jennifer Speas has provided clients throughout Minneapolis, St. Paul, the Twin Cities metro, and all throughout Minnesota with the highly skilled and assertive criminal defense for over 20 years. Please contact us to learn more if you need help fighting a Minnesota Revenge Porn charge or have been charged with Nonconsensual Dissemination of Private Sexual Images. Since this is such a new area of the law and there are some questions about it invading free speech and it is well established that distribution of photos, video, recordings, and other forms of media falls under the first amendment’s protection.  Expressive conduct – that is, behavior that combines some sort of conduct with a level of speech – can be protected by the first amendment.

Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact Jennifer Speas to discuss the specifics of your case.