Distributing sexually explicit photos or videos of a person without their consent in order to embarrass them, also known as revenge porn, can have serious legal ramifications. On this week’s FAQ Friday, criminal defense attorney Rebecca Wade discusses the potential consequences, that may make you think twice the next time you go to hit ‘send’.

“In Virginia, a revenge porn conviction is considered a Class 1 Misdemeanor which can result in a sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500,” says Wade. “It’s on par with other misdemeanors such as driving under the influence, assault and battery, and shoplifting.”

Revenge porn charges can also impact an ongoing civil case. “Revenge porn can come up in a divorce context where a couple is fighting over asset division, spousal support, or child custody. In those instances, the courts can consider allegations of revenge porn and hold them against you in a civil case.”

If you are charged with revenge porn, it’s critical to consult a skilled attorney, as convictions in Virginia – including misdemeanor convictions – cannot be expunged. “If you are looking to apply for a job that requires a background check or are seeking security clearance, a revenge porn conviction will be on your record for the rest of your life,” Wade explains.