New Haven Sexting Lawyer
Even if two teenagers voluntarily engage in a “sexting” interaction with each other by using their phones or computers to send each other sexually explicit photos or videos they have taken of themselves, their actions still technically constitute the creation and distribution of child pornography. Fortunately, the Connecticut Penal Code distinguishes between this type of interaction and adults who knowingly possess illicit material, and a New Haven sexting lawyer can help your family deal with the related but separate criminal charge your child may be facing after getting caught engaging in this type of behavior.
“Sexting” as a Juvenile Offense
The Connecticut Penal Code treats all forms of child pornography possession, production, and distribution by people over the age of 18 as felony offenses punishable by years of imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines upon conviction. At the same time, though, state legislators understand that no one benefits from treating teenagers making ill-advised choices with each other as criminals deserving of permanent felony records, especially when the only people who the teens’ actions could potentially hurt are themselves.
With this in mind, Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 53a-196h now defines “Possessing or Transmitting Child Pornography by a Minor” as a distinct offense from the various degrees of felony Child Pornography Possession addressed under C.G.S. §§ 53a-196d through 53a-196f. Under C.G.S. § 53a-196h, a person under 18 years old has committed this offense if they knowingly possess any sexually explicit image of someone under 16 years old sent to them voluntarily by the depicted person via electronic means. A child under 16 has committed this offense if they voluntarily sent such an image of themselves to a person under 18 via electronic means.
Furthermore, since this offense can only be committed by minors, it is almost always handled in juvenile court as opposed to adult criminal court, meaning an “adjudication of guilt” would result in comparatively lighter punishments such as a formal warning, probation, community service, or potentially small fines and a short period of confinement in juvenile detention. That said, having a juvenile record can still significantly damage a child’s future educational and occupational prospects, so it is usually worth formally contesting charges like this with help from a New Haven sexting attorney.
Is “Sexting” Ever Treated as an Adult Criminal Offense?
In the rare scenario where someone charged with illegal “sexting” under C.G.S. § 53a-196h is prosecuted as an adult, their offense would be considered a Class A misdemeanor and punishable upon conviction by a maximum of one year in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines. However, if someone over the age of 18 engages in “sexting” with a person under 16, they may be prosecuted for felony Child Pornography Possession and/or other offenses involving inappropriate sexual conduct with a minor.
Depending on the circumstances, an adult convicted of sexting with a minor may face a maximum prison term from five to 20 years as well as thousands of dollars in fines even if they have no prior criminal record. This means that support from a seasoned sexting defense lawyer in New Haven can be critical to proactively and effectively handling this allegation.
Contact a New Haven Sexting Attorney for Assistance
Sexting between minors is a much more serious matter than the minors involved in the exchange may want to think, and it can lead to serious repercussions both in and out of court. If your child is facing allegations along these lines, working closely with a New Haven sexting lawyer could be vital to protecting their best interests for years to come. Call the Law Offices of Mark Sherman today to schedule a confidential consultation, and learn what our past clients say about working with us by clicking here.