This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — Former New York Jet Jermaine Cunningham and his lawyer petitioned the Union County Court to have “revenge porn” charges dropped Wednesday.

Cunningham, a former NFL linebacker, is facing gun charges as well as third degree invasion of privacy for sending intimate pictures of a woman without her consent.

“Something that you do and then as soon as you do it you realize that it should not have been done,” said Tony Fusco, Cunningham’s attorney.

The judge denied Cunnigham’s request to enter a pretrial intervention program, which means the 26-year-old now has one month to decide whether or not to go to trial.

New Jersey is one of 17 States that have “revenge porn” laws on the books. Several other states, including New York, have legislation pending.

Attorney Carrie Goldberg, who specializes in online privacy issues, says Cunningham’s case could go a long way in getting those new laws passed.

“He’s the highest profile perpetrator that we’ve seen,” said Goldberg.  “If New Jersey is prosecuting him, it sends a message just as a society that we’re not tolerating revenge porn and certainly it could give some ‘umph’ to some of the pending legislation.”

But Goldberg, says the term “revenge porn” is really a misnomer. “What we’re talking about is the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.”

Which means the law would also apply to hackers like the person who leaked nude photos of celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton last year.

Goldberg says it’s not just posting the pictures on pornography websites or on social media, sometimes it’s the targeted distribution that causes the most damage.

“The perpetrator might e-mail it to the victim’s boss, and family members, and new relationship, and sometimes children,” said Goldberg

But Cunningham’s lawyer says none of the pictures the former NFL player shared were fully nude.  Fusco added that the photos were only shared with a few people without malice.

“There was nothing that I would say would be shocking to anybody,” said Fusco.  “But, there is an allegation that it may have been improper and therefore, technically, a violation of a statute.”

If convicted Cunningham faces up to five years in prison for violating the invasion of privacy law alone.