New Haven Sextortion Lawyer
Extorting someone into paying you or giving you their property by threatening to release private explicit images of them is an extremely serious criminal offense in Connecticut, and even the act of releasing such images publicly without any financial motive can still be prosecuted as a felony under certain circumstances. Regardless of which type of “sextortion” is at the heart of their case, anyone accused of this kind of behavior should seek assistance from a seasoned New Haven sextortion lawyer as soon as possible.
How State Law Defines “Sextortion”
Depending on the circumstances, there are two sections of the Connecticut Penal Code under which law enforcement authorities may prosecute allegations of “sextortion,” one of which is sometimes considered a misdemeanor and the other being a high-level felony in all cases. The less severe variant of this offense is “Unlawful Dissemination of an Intimate Image,” which Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 53a-189c defines as “disseminating,”—which can mean sharing privately with other people or publishing in a public place—an image with all the following conditions applying:
- The image(s) shows someone who is clearly identifiable—through either the image itself or information accompanying the image—engaged in sexually explicit conduct or display in a private, non-commercial setting;
- The depicted person did not consent to the image(s) being disseminated and had a reasonable expectation that the image(s) would remain private;
- The dissemination of the image(s) did not serve the public interest in any way; and/or
- The depicted person suffered some form of harm—financial, psychological, professional, physical, or any other type—as a direct result of the dissemination.
This offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the intimate image(s) in question is sent to just one other person by any means, but it becomes a Class D felony if the image(s) is sent to multiple people via any electronic or telephone communication service.
Conversely, threatening to disseminate intimate images in this way in order to compel someone to give up money or personal property constitutes Larceny by Extortion, which C.G.S. § 53a-122 defines as Larceny in the First Degree no matter the financial value involved in the offense. Larceny in the First Degree is always a Class B felony. Representation from a knowledgeable New Haven sextortion lawyer is crucial to handling either type of charge effectively, as well as avoiding sanctions upon conviction, which could include up to 20 years in prison and $15,000 in potential fines.
Fighting Back Against Sextortion Allegations
As with all other criminal offenses, every core element of a “sextortion” offense, as it is defined in the Connecticut Penal Code, must be present in order for someone to be convicted of that offense in court. This means that if a disseminated image does not display a clearly identifiable person, shows someone engaged in sexual conduct in a public or commercial setting, or was disseminated with the depicted person’s consent, someone charged under C.G.S. § 53a-189c likely could not be convicted even if they meet every other criterion listed in this statute.
Likewise, any threat to unlawfully disseminate intimate images may still result in criminal prosecution of some kind, but it cannot be considered Larceny by Extortion if there is no financial incentive to the defendant’s actions to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. These are just some of the ways a qualified lawyer can potentially help contest a sextortion charge in New Haven.
Talk to a New Haven Sextortion Attorney About Legal Options
Dealing with allegations of “sextortion” can be challenging on both the legal and personal level, especially if you are trying to minimize the social and professional consequences of your accusation at the same time that you are fighting criminal prosecution. Fortunately, there is help available in both respects from an experienced and trustworthy New Haven sextortion lawyer from the Law Offices of Mark Sherman. Call today to schedule your confidential consultation, and click here to view our over 300 certified reviews from past clients on our Avvo profile.