What Parents Need to Know About Teenage Sexting
The concept of “sexting,” the electronic transmission of sexually suggestive and explicit material, is nothing new. As long as computers and cellphones have existed, adults and teens alike have used them to send such material to strangers, partners, and potential partners. But when teens engage in this type of behavior with other teens or adults, they can face serious criminal charges. This is because even when they engage in the sharing and receiving consensually, they are sharing pornographic images of underage subjects.
In 2015, a sexting case involving four Illinois high school students made headlines. Two students sent sexually explicit images to two other students who then shared the images with others. All four faced charges for disseminating harmful material to minors.
Examples of Behaviors that Can be Considered Sexting
Behaviors that may be charged as sexting include:
- Sending sexually explicit images or videos of oneself via email, text message, or social media platform;
- Sharing sexually explicit images or videos of another minor publicly or directly with another individual;
- Asking a minor for nude or sexually explicit images or videos of him- or herself; and
- Reproducing or disseminating a pornographic or suggestive image or video of a minor.
Types of Sexting Charge in Illinois
Charges an adolescent can face for creating, sharing, or disseminating nude, pornographic, or otherwise sexual images of themselves or other minors include:
- Child pornography, which can be charged as a Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, or Class X felony; and
- Distributing harmful material to a minor, which is charged as a Class 4 felony.
The penalties an adolescent found guilty of sexting can face include fines, incarceration, and probation. The court may also require the teen to complete counseling or perform community service. In some cases, a minor may be required to register as a sex offender.
Your Teen’s Age at the Time of His or Her Alleged Offense Matters
In all juvenile cases, the age of the defendant is a very important factor to consider. In Illinois, an individual age 17 or over may be charged with a Class 3 or Class 4 felony for posting personal or contact information, including images of non-explicit, but sexually suggestive images of an individual under 17 on an adult website.
Individuals under the age of 18 are prohibited from sharing sexual or otherwise indecent images of other minors electronically. Minors charged with this offense are subject to juvenile prosecution. Individuals over the age of 18 are prosecuted as adults.
Work with an Experienced Naperville Juvenile Defense Lawyer
If your son or daughter has been charged with sexting, it is your job as a parent to secure competent legal representation for him or her. A sexting conviction can change your teenager’s life forever. Find out more about the criminal justice process and the development of an effective legal defense strategy by contact our team of Naperville juvenile defense lawyers at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today to set up your legal consultation in our office.