New Florida Law Against Cyber Harassment to Take Effect

Among the many laws passed by the Florida legislature in the most recent session was a law that would make sexual cyber harassment illegal in the state. The law will take effect on October 1, 2015, and is intended to prevent all forms of cyber sexual harassment by making it a criminal offense. By passing and signing this bill into law, Florida becomes one of 16 states with such laws on their books.

One of the reasons this law was passed is the perceived inability of the laws as written to deal with the technological advances of our age. The instantaneous and descriptive nature of our communication systems today put innocent people at risk of having their most intimate and private moments exposed in an instant for anyone to see. Victimizing people in this way can cause lasting and permanent damage if not prevented.

What the Law Will Do

The new law is codified in Florida Statutes 784.049 and will be known as Florida’s Sexual Cyberharassment law. One of the very first provisions of the law is that the people have a reasonable expectation that consensually taken images of a sexual nature will remain private. This is important because it sets up the expectation that those images of intimate moments are not free to publish anywhere without a person’s consent.

The law goes on to make several more findings, such as:

  • It is becoming a common practice for one person to publish the intimate and sexual images of another without permission and with the intent to inflict emotional damage on the person.

  • Once these types of images are uploaded they can be shared across the globe on innumerable sites.

  • Not only does this create a permanent record of the image, but it caused immense psychological stress and damage to the victims of these cases.

These findings justify what the actions the law takes if someone chooses to engage in this type of behavior.

The type of behavior this law prohibits is the publishing of a sexually explicit images without consent and with the intent to harm the person in the image. A first offense of this law is a misdemeanor of the first degree, and a second offense becomes a third-degree felony. The law is not limited to punishing a bad actor criminally.

One of the great things about this law is that it lets a victim go after a wrongdoer with a civil suit. The new law creates a specific cause of action that allows a victim to sue the person responsible and recover up to $5,000 in damages, or the actual amount of damages the bad act caused. The new law allows the victim to collect attorney’s fees for bringing the case.

Contact a Panama City Area Attorney Today

At The Pittman Firm we take victim’s rights seriously. That is why we have built a practice on the idea that if someone causes another harm, he or she should be made to pay. If you have been injured in an accident, contact us. We will fight to protect your rights and give you a fair evaluation of your case.

See related blogs: Florida Tackles Evolving Drone Issues; Florida’s Lemon Law.

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