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.
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
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.