One reason to get a restraining order is if you’re the victim of revenge porn.

But actually, California frowns on any kind of non-consensual pornography, whether done for revenge or not. Either way, it’s an invasion of privacy that carries civil or criminal consequences.

This means the law will hold you liable for the following conduct. It amounts to revenge porn after a breakup:

  1. You have a nude or sexual image or video of a person that you agreed or understood would remain private;
  2. You circulate it when you know or should know it will cause the person serious emotional distress; and
  3. That’s exactly what happens.

Under the criminal code, it’s a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. These increase to one year in jail or a $2,000 fine, or both, if you have a prior conviction or the victim was a minor—in which case you have to worry about child-pornography laws, too.

Under the civil code, you’re liable in damages for any economic loss the person suffers as well their shame, mortification, loss of reputation, and even hurt feelings, not to mention their attorneys’ fees.

It’s no joke. Just this year, one jury awarded $5.15 million in a revenge-porn case, and a court awarded $6.4 million in another.