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Is it illegal to keep explicit pictures of your ex?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2023 | Criminal Defense

When you and your ex were together, he or she sent you some explicit photos. When the two of you broke up, you didn’t delete the photos. Or perhaps you deleted them off of your phone, but you still have access to them in the message thread or through a cloud backup system.

Either way, what you’re wondering is if it’s actually illegal for you to have those photos. If you keep them, are you running the risk of eventually being charged with a sex crime – even though you were fully given permission to have the photos originally?

You can never share them

Generally speaking, it is not illegal to still possess those photos. They were given to you, and you do have a right to have them yourself. This is true as long as the other person wasn’t coerced, manipulated or forced to give them to you in the first place.

What you can’t do, however, is share them with anyone else. You can’t show other people the photos, you can’t post them online as a form of harassment and you certainly can’t post them on public websites for people to find. It would be a criminal activity to distribute someone else’s explicit photos without their permission. It could lead to very severe ramifications if you are arrested.

Exploring your legal options

Sex crimes may require you to register on the sex offenders’ list, so these charges can follow you around for the rest of your life. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to understand all of your defense options when facing charges.