What is Sexting and How is it Criminal?

sexting, St. Charles sex crimes defense attorney, criminal cases, child pornography, solicitationSexting is quickly taking the world by storm, and families, homes, and lives are left in the ruins of its aftermath. When the behavior occurs between two consenting adults, the result is often a rekindled flame or the ignition of a new one within the relationship. However, there is a huge age bracket of society participating in the potentially illicit activity. Participation is so common among teenagers that many seem to think it is harmless. That is, of course, until they face steep legal sex crime repercussions.

Sexting: A Beginners Guide

Perhaps you are a parent and want to know why your child is in trouble. Or, maybe you are a little curious yourself about this phenomenon. Years ago, adults used polaroids or found a private photographer if they wanted their significant other to have a special picture. Now, with the rise of affordable electronic devices that have photo and video capabilities, paired with messaging and data plans, the middleman and wait time is a thing of the past.

If an individual wants to send his or her other half an enticing picture, he or she can just use their personal phone and send it through a text message. And, nearly instantly, the individual's partner on the other end will view it and perhaps even save it to his or her phone.

This sort of sexual text message is known as a “sext,” and sexting is the act of sending or receiving nude or semi-nude or suggestive material to another person.

When the Law Steps In

Between two consenting adults, sexting breaks no laws. If, however, the photograph is sent to your teenage child’s best friend, there may be cause for concern. In all actuality, it is a crime if anyone sends or receives a sext from someone under the legal age of consent, including another minor.

Many teenagers understand the possible negative consequences of sending sexts to each other, but many also fail to realize the additional criminal aspect. Consider the following crimes:

  • If a child between the ages of 13 and 17 creates, sends, or receives a sext, it is child pornography;
  • A child asking his or her boyfriend or girlfriend to send him or her pictures is solicitation or enticement;
  • Sending or forwarding a sext is reproduction or dissemination of child pornography; and
  • Receiving and keeping a sext is possession of child pornography.

The Punishments of Sexting

While young adults and teens continue to participate in the act of sexting, the behavior is a virtual legal ticking time bomb. Unfortunately, many high schoolers choose to ignore their gut instinct because “their friends are doing it.” The pressure to fit in and succeed socially often leads to poor choices. Child pornography convictions require registration on the sex offender registry, which impacts much more than a high school status.

If you are interested in discussing your legal options with Illinois' oldest law firm specializing in criminal cases, contact a Geneva, IL sex crimes defense attorney at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC by calling 630-232-1780 today.