Sexting Laws You Need To Know

Sexting Laws You Need To Know

How strange is it to think that a few short sentences sent via cell phone can turn into a raging disaster? Sad but true, however. Cell phone SMS messages have gotten people into a lot of trouble. Marriages destroyed. Careers obliterated. Lives completely turned inside out. All because someone got the wrong message. No one anticipates the dangers and risks involved in sexting because it is so simple. It seems as innocuous as chatroom flirting. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Despite its very serious consequences, sexting continuously grows in popularity. We watch horrific public spectacles take place with teachers, politicians and celebrities and their sexting escapades. But still we do it. There are laws. Both state and federal, pertaining to sexting. If you are going to do it, you’d better be familiar with the laws, so you don’t find yourself paying hefty fines instead of your phone bill.

Most people are under the mistaken belief that an adult cannot get in trouble for sexting. While this is basically true, there are circumstances when it can happen. An adult can face recrimination such as loss of friendships, embarrassment, humiliation, as well as feelings of guiltiness, humiliation, and desperateness. A tarnished reputation is also a probability which could affect potential career opportunities and scholastic endeavors. In worse case scenarios, legal action is taken.

Child Enticement and Pornography Sexting Laws

There are federal and state laws against any adult person who receives, shares, or possesses any naked or sexually explicit image of a child. They will be charged with child pornography. There are a few states who have enacted some defense laws for older teens who get mixed up in a sexting charge. There are no such laws in any state for adults, however. Special circumstances do not matter. An adult male can be charged for having nude photos of his 16-year-old wife and mother of his child. It is also a crime in many states to just ask for a nude. If the person is under 18 years of age, you’re off to jail. This is even true if the person is actually police posing as children in a sting operation. If an adult asks someone who they believe to be and have been introduced as being under 18 for a nude or sexual photo, they will be facing charges.

Disseminating Obscenity to a Minor Sexting Laws

An adult can be charged in many states with disseminating obscenity to a minor if they send a nude or sexually explicit photo of themselves to a person under the age of 18 years. This act is a crime in many states. We sometimes see stories in the news of school teachers, coaches, church leaders, babysitters and even family members who have sent nude photos to a child. Their punishment depends on the state in which they live and perpetrated the crime.

Sexual Harassment Sexting Laws

Sending sexual pics or nudes can get you in trouble, (Read The Laws By State) even if you are an adult sending to an adult, if the person doesn’t want the pictures. You can be charged with harassment if you are sending unwanted nude pics. Even if the picture is of someone else, you can still be charged. We sometimes see this scenario when a ticked off ex-boyfriend or vengeful girlfriend sends out nudes of his ex. A child or anyone under 18 does not have to be involved here for a crime to have been committed.

States which have ratified sexting laws in some form, listed alphabetically, include:

• Arizona
• Arkansas
• Connecticut
• Florida
• Georgia
• Hawaii
• Illinois
• Louisiana
• Nebraska
• Nevada
• New Jersey
• New York
• North Dakota
• Pennsylvania
• Rhode Island
• South Dakota
• Texas
• Utah
• Vermont
• West Virginia

Sexting Laws Punishment

Child pornography laws are very harsh. A large majority impose years in prison for each image. In almost every state, adults found guilty of child pornography offenses are required to register as sex offenders. Sex offenders are obligated to provide all personal information to police and authorities, who may make the information public. Failing to register as required is also a crime. Registered sex offenders may be banned from certain jobs such as teaching. They are also banned from living near a school, park or playground where children congregate.
Child enticement laws are also very harsh. The crime is most often punishable by long prison terms. Usually, child enticement convictions result in sex offender registration as well.

Obscenity and harassment laws vary significantly from state to state. In many states, these crimes are misdemeanors that are punishable by up to one year in jail. In others, these crimes could be felonies that are punishable by one year or more in state prison.

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