Can a Teen Become a Sex Offender for Sharing Selfies?

Hartford criminal defense lawyer for teen sex offensesAdvances in technology are constantly happening. Every day, it seems as if there is a new device, app, or way of digitally communicating with one another. While technological advancement and evolving behaviors can be beneficial for society, they often pose legal problems. A relatively new act called “sexting” is one of the latest challenges that has been posed to lawmakers across the country, and both parents and children should be aware of the potential sex crime charges that could result from this type of activity.

What Is “Sexting?”

Sexting is a type of sexual behavior that occurs when two people consensually share explicit photos, videos, or messages through an electronic device. According to a study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, around 27 percent of teenagers say that they have received such a text message, while 15 percent of teens admitted that they have sent such a message.

Sending, receiving, or possessing sexually explicit depictions of minors is illegal. But how are cases handled when those depictions are sent, received, or possessed by minors themselves? Often, cases like these are treated in a similar manner as other child pornography cases, and the person who was found in possession of the material is charged with a sex crime and required to register as a sex offender.

Connecticut Laws on Minors and Explicit Material

Many states have created new laws to address the issue of consenting minors who send and receive explicit photos. In 2017, Connecticut created a law addressing this, and it greatly reduced the consequences for teens facing child pornography charges because of sexting.

Now, any teen who is between the ages of 13 and 18 is subject to a misdemeanor charge if they are in possession of explicit photos that were consensually sent by a minor who is between the ages of 13 and 16. Any teen who is between the ages of 13 and 16 is not permitted to send explicit photos to anyone between the ages of 13 and 18. If a minor who is 16 or older sends explicit photos to another minor who is 16 or older, no law has been broken.

Rather than being charged with a felony, teens who violate these rules will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This means teens who are charged with “sexting” can face up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.

Have Questions About Sexting Charges? Contact a Hartford, CT Criminal Defense Attorney

At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we understand how difficult it can be to learn that your child has been engaging in sexual behavior. If your child is caught sending or receiving explicit photos, they can face criminal charges and even jail time. Contact our knowledgeable Connecticut criminal defense lawyer today to learn how we can help you and your child with matters concerning explicit photos. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_952.htm#sec_53a-26

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/06/27/teen-traded-naked-selfies-with-girls-his-age-court-is-making-him-register-sex-offender/

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