Revenge Porn Laws in Arizona

Unauthorized disclosure of an intimate photo is a felony in Arizona. Threatening to do so is a misdemeanor.

Revenge porn is illegal in Arizona, where it is a crime to post or disclose explicit images of another person in order to harass that person. Revenge porn is a form of nonconsensual pornography (NCP) and is sometimes called “cyber exploitation.” Vindictive ex-partners are frequently the perpetrators of revenge porn, but strangers may also commit NCP by hacking into others’ accounts or devices and then posting images they find.

Arizona, along with 33 other states, explicitly outlaws nonconsensual pornography. But many states that do not specifically address NCP have existing criminal laws that cover NCP. For more information about nonconsensual pornography in general, see Revenge Porn: Laws and Penalties.

Arizona Nonconsensual Pornography Law

Arizona makes it a crime to disclose (electronically or otherwise) an explicit image of another person without their consent taken under circumstances in which the person had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Certain other Arizona laws also prohibit surreptitious photography or other recording of another, “peeping,” and penalties for these crimes are enhanced if the victim is identifiable in a disclosed image or if the image is disclosed electronically.

Unlawful Disclosure of Explicit Images

In Arizona, it is a crime for any person to disclose an image of another person if

  • the person depicted is identifiable either from the image itself or from information displayed with it
  • the image depicts the person in a state of nudity or engaged in a sexual act
  • the image was taken in circumstances in which the person depicted had a reasonable expectation of privacy, and
  • the disclosure is made with intent to harm, harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce another person.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1425.)

As used in this statute, the following definitions apply

  • “image” means a photograph, videotape, film or digital recording (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1425)
  • "disclose" means display, distribute, publish, advertise or offer (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1425)
  • "reasonable expectation of privacy" means the person depicted exhibits an actual expectation of privacy and the expectation is reasonable (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1425), and
  • “state of nudity” means the depiction of the anus, genitals or a female breast (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 11-811 (D)(14)).

Surreptitious Recording

It is a crime in Arizona to knowingly

  • photograph, videotape, film, digitally record or by any other means secretly view
  • with or without a device
  • another person without that person's consent
  • in a restroom, locker room, bedroom, or other location where the person viewed has a reasonable expectation of privacy
  • while the person viewed is
    • urinating
    • defecating
    • dressing or undressing
    • nude, or
    • involved in sexual intercourse or sexual contact
    • in a manner that directly or indirectly depicts the person’s genitalia, buttock, or female breast, whether clothed or unclothed, that is not otherwise visible to the public.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-3019.) This statute also outlaws disclosure of any such recording by any means without the consent or knowledge of the person depicted.

Voyeurism

It is also a crime in Arizona to “knowingly invade the privacy” of another person without that person’s knowledge “for purpose of sexual stimulation.” (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13-1424.)

Under this statute, a person's privacy is invaded if both of the following apply:

  • the person viewed has a reasonable expectation that he or she will not be photographed, videotaped, filmed, digitally recorded or otherwise viewed or recorded, and
  • the person is photographed, videotaped, filmed, digitally recorded or otherwise viewed, with or without a device, either:
    • while the person is in a state of undress or partial dress
    • while the person is engaged in sexual intercourse or sexual contact
    • while the person is urinating or defecating
    • in a manner that directly or indirectly captures or allows the viewing of the person's genitalia, buttock or female breast, whether clothed or unclothed, that is not otherwise visible to the public.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13-1424.)

This statute also outlaws the disclosure of a photograph, videotape, film or digital recording that is made in violation of the statute without the consent or knowledge of the person depicted.

Defenses

A person charged with the crimes discussed above may raise the following defenses to try to avoid conviction under Arizona law.

Consent

If the person whose image is captured consents to being photographed or otherwise recorded, there has been no surreptitious recording under Arizona law. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-3019.) Likewise, if the person whose image is captured consents to the disclosure of the recording/photograph, then there has been no unlawful disclosure of the image. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1425.)

No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

If the person viewed and/or recorded has voluntarily exposed his or her body in a public or commercial place (such as a strip club), that person has no reasonable expectation of privacy. This means that any individual viewing, recording, and/or disclosing a recording of such voluntary exposure has not violated Arizona law. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1425.)

How is Nonconsensual Pornography Punished in Arizona?

Arizona law treats nonconsensual pornography and the related crime of voyeurism seriously. Anyone convicted of these crimes may face incarceration in jail or even prison and fines.

Punishment for Unlawful Disclosure of Explicit Images

Unlawful disclosure of an explicit image by other than electronic means is a class five felony in Arizona. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1425.) Anyone convicted of class five felony unlawful disclosure faces between nine months and two years in prison (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-702), a fine of not more than $150,000 (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-801), or both.

Unlawful disclosure of an explicit image by electronic means is a class four felony in Arizona. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1425.) Anyone convicted of a class four felony faces between one and one-half years and three years in prison (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-702), a fine of not more than $150,000 (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-801), or both. "Disclosed by electronic means" means delivery to an e-mail address, mobile device, tablet or other electronic device and includes disclosure on a website. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1425.)

If a person threatens to disclose but does not actually disclose an image that would violate Arizona law if disclosed, that person may be charged with a class one misdemeanor. Anyone convicted of a class one misdemeanor in Arizona faces up to six months in jail (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-707), a fine of not more than $2,500 (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-802), or both.

Punishment for Surreptitious Recording

Surreptitious recording of a person without consent is a class five felony, unless the person depicted is recognizable. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-3019.) Any person convicted in Arizona of class five felony surreptitious recording faces between nine months and one and one-half years in prison (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-702), a fine of not more than $150,000 (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-801), or both.

Anyone who records and/or discloses an image of another person taken surreptitiously in which the person depicted is recognizable may be charged with a class four felony in Arizona. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-3019.) Anyone convicted of a class four felony faces between one and one-half years and three years in prison (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-702), a fine of not more than $150,000 (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-801), or both.

Any person engaging in surreptitious viewing that does not involve a device may be charged with a class six felony. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-3019.) Anyone convicted of class six felony surreptitious viewing faces between six months and one and one-half years in prison (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-702), a fine of not more than $150,000 (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-801), or both.

Punishment for Voyeurism

Surreptitiously viewing another person in a private setting is a class five felony in Arizona. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13-1424.) Any person convicted in Arizona of class five felony voyeurism faces between nine months and one and one-half years in prison (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-702), a fine of not more than $150,000 (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-801), or both.

If the voyeur also records the other person and discloses the image, the voyeur may be charged with a class four felony. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13-1424.) Anyone convicted of a class four felony faces between one and one-half years and three years in prison (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-702), a fine of not more than $150,000 (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-801), or both.

Copyright Protections

In addition to reporting a potential crime as described above, a victim of nonconsensual pornography may use copyright laws to demand removal of the offending images from whatever site or publication has displayed them. For more information, see Using Copyright Law to Combat Revenge Porn.

Other Ways to Address NCP

If you have been a victim of nonconsensual pornography posted on social media, you may want to report the NCP to the social media companies in question. The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, a non-profit devoted to helping victims of NCP, has published an online guide to steps victims can take to address NCP.

Consult With a Lawyer

Nonconsensual pornography is a serious crime. If you have been charged with the crime, have been the victim of it, or have any questions about NCP or any other sexual crime, contact a lawyer experienced in criminal defense law in your state.

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