The People’s Lawyer

Is it illegal to have explicit photos of your ex?

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2024 | Criminal Defense

When you and your ex were together, you liked to exchange explicit photos. Maybe it was a way for you to keep that spark in the relationship when you couldn’t be close to one another, such as when traveling for work.

But now that you’ve broken up, what happens? There’s no law saying that you have to delete the pictures. Some people certainly do choose to do this, saying that it is respectful or that it is just common courtesy, but they’re not obligated to do so. In fact, some say they wouldn’t delete the photos even if their ex asked them directly to do it. How could this be problematic?

You cannot share the photos

The thing to keep in mind is that keeping the pictures may not be illegal, as long as they were willfully given during the relationship, but sharing them would be. West Virginia has explicitly made it illegal to share images of someone else without their consent, at least when those images are explicit. So, your ex may have intentionally and consensually given you the photos, and you’re not breaking the law if you keep them after your relationship ends, but you could face serious ramifications if you show them to someone else, share them online or post them on a public website.

Consider your age

For young couples, it’s also very important for them to consider the age of both individuals when the pictures were taken. This is sometimes an issue when former high schoolers break up after graduation, for example. Anyone who is caught sharing or possessing explicit photos of someone underage could certainly face harsh legal ramifications.

This is a complicated situation, especially for those who do find themselves facing charges. If you are, you need to know about all of the criminal defense options that you have at this time.