We are 100% virtual, all the time, and have always offered video conferencing. Click here to schedule an appointment.

An Explanation of Colorado Revenge Porn Laws

Revenge porn is defined as posting intimate photos of someone else on the internet, with the intent to cause distress or embarrassment. This type of material is typically posted by former partners, as revenge for a fight or break up, however, can be used by strangers, often hackers, in order to blackmail the victim as well. In 2014, Colorado enacted new laws for dealing with defendants both criminally and civilly. Before 2014, victims could still bring upon legal actions through laws aimed at defamation or invasion of privacy. However, these new laws made revenge porn a crime itself and specified penalties and fines. In 2018, there were changes enacted to the original law to close certain loopholes. 

 

The Old 2014 Law

House Bill 14-1378 makes it a crime for a person, age 18 or older, to post or distribute photos of the intimate parts of another identifiable person age 18 or older, without the depicted person’s consent. This law also relies on the assumption that the depicted person communicated to the actor an expectation that the image would remain private, and that the posting of distribution of the image caused serious emotional distress. This law includes posting a private image with the intent of harassment, and posting with the intent of financial gain.

The crime is a class one misdemeanor and comes with a fine of at least $10,000. If applicable, there is also often an order to remove the photo from the internet.  Along with violating this law, victims may also take civil action under claims of invasion of privacy, defamation, or negligence. 

Changes In 2018 

There were some exceptions to this law, but many were resolved in 2018, when lawmakers wanted to close loopholes. These changes occurred in HB 18-1264. 

The first loophole is that the law did not originally apply to someone who is clothed, even if they are engaged in a sexual act. The new 2018 law includes images of sexual acts, including but not limited to those involving nudity.  Additionally, the changes removed the requirement that the posting of the image had to cause the victim serious emotional distress. 

Another exception written in the 2014 law, is that the posting of a private image is not an offense if the image or video is related to a newsworthy event. The law defines a “newsworthy event” as a matter of public interest or concern. It may also be a “newsworthy event” if the public figure is intimately involved in the resolution of important public questions, or by reason of their fame shape events in areas of concern to society.  Looking to the law, we aren’t really sure what nude photos would actually constitute being of public interest or concern, or that public figures still wouldn’t be protected under this law.  The 2018 changes remove this exception. 

Difficulties For The Victim 

There are many difficulties the victim may face. It can be difficult to prove who posted the photo especially if the photo was shared with multiple parties.  Another hardship is that there is no guaranteed anonymity in reporting the crime or filing a lawsuit, such as the case for sexual assault victims. This can discourage the victim from taking legal action. Or if they do take legal action, this can add on to the embarrassment and negative emotions they may already be feeling. 

Sealing Is Possible 

If you are convicted of violating these statutes, 18-7-107 C.R.S. (for harassment), or 18-7-108 (for financial gain), you may seal your conviction if you meet certain conditions. These conditions include completing your sentence, including payment of the fine, and having not been convicted of another offense for at least 5 years after your sentence. 

Need Help? 

Revenge porn laws are often complex and emotional. If you are in need of legal help, consider reaching out to Nicol Gersch Petterson for a free 30-minute consultation.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship. It’s a blog post and not legal advice. Each case is different, and this post is meant for generalized knowledge, only. If you haven’t signed an engagement letter (or even received an engagement letter) AND issued some form of payment (peanuts do not count), then no attorney-client relationship exists. Nevertheless, we will do our best to ensure your confidentiality should you choose to contact us privately, but do not post about your case in the comments here (because reaching out for help with your case should be confidential, damn it).

If you have done both of the things mentioned earlier–signed a letter and paid us–then, and only then, you might be a client. But merely chatting with us online does not a client make. Suffice it to say, if you aren’t absolutely certain about whether or not an attorney-client relationship exists between yourself and NGP, you should probably ask for some clarity. Until then, we’ll keep your secrets but we don’t formally represent you… YET.