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Sexting

Sexting & Juvenile Crimes

What is Sexting?

Sexting involves sending or receiving sexually explicit pictures via text messages. This might include nude or partially nude pictures. In the United States, sexting may be considered a serious crime if the recipient or the subject of the picture is a minor. Sexting is not limited to sexually explicit images. It may also include explicit language or messages. Although sexting is not always considered a crime, it may be considered child pornography under certain circumstances. For instance, if an individual sends an explicit picture of a child via texting, he/she may be accused of child pornography. Even though child pornography is typically committed by adults against minors, juveniles may also be accused of a sex offense if they send / receive sexually explicit images of other minors.

Statistics

Sexting has been reported in the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. In 2008, a survey conducted by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy indicated that 20% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 20 have sent nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves via electronic means. The same survey showed that 33% of young adults between the ages of 20 and 26 had sent explicit images of themselves. In the same year, almost 40% of teenagers sent sexually explicit text messages and 59% of young adults sexted via explicit messages. The word "sexting" appeared in the Miriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary in 2012.

Sexting and the Law

The United States has extremely strict child pornography laws.

Minors can be accused of serious sexual crimes when they send explicit photographs of themselves or receive explicit photographs of other minors. Even in situations where explicit photographs are taken with full consent and are distributed willingly, minors may still be accused of possessing child pornography if they receive sexually explicit pictures of other teenagers. In other situations, a minor could be accused of distributing child pornography for sending an explicit picture of a friend or partner.

Sending or receiving a sexually explicit image is only considered sexting if both parties have mutually consented to the exchange. If one of the individuals does not want to participate, the other may be accused of sexual harassment. For instance, if a minor sends an explicit picture of him/herself to someone else, he/she may be charged with sexual harassment.

Although it is legally plausible that a juvenile might attempt to distribute or possess child pornography, sexting has caused a great deal of controversy in the legal community. Although some prosecutors try to portray sexting as innately wrong, others doubt that sexting images between consenting minors is the type of material that child pornography laws were intended to prohibit.

Work with Our Plano Criminal Defense Attorneys

If your child has been accused of a serious crime related to sexting, contact a Plano criminal defense lawyer from The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC today. In the face of a juvenile crime charge, you may feel uncertain and overwhelmed. You don't have to face this alone. With a high-quality legal representative on your side, you can have peace of mind that your case is in good hands.