Norwalk Sexting Lawyer
Exchanging sexually explicit personal photos and videos over a smartphone or computer—or “sexting,” to use the common colloquial term—is perfectly legal in Connecticut so long as everyone involved in the exchange is a consenting adult. If two teenagers “sext” with each other, though, they have technically committed a Child Pornography sex crimes offense, albeit one that is treated very differently in the Connecticut Penal Code from similar offenses committed by adults. If your child is dealing with allegations of this nature, contacting a Norwalk sexting lawyer for help should be your top priority.
When Is “Sexting” Against the Law?
The Connecticut Penal Code is generally very harsh on people found in possession of any visual depiction—physical or electronic in nature—of someone under the age of 16 engaging in sexually explicit conduct or display, and every “degree” of this offense defined in the Penal Code is classified as a felony offense. In recent years, though, state legislators have made an effort to legally distinguish teenagers making ill-advised choices with each other from adults knowingly trafficking in illicit material depicting child abuse.
As a result, Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 53a-196h specifically addresses “Possessing or Transmitting Child Pornography by a Minor” as a distinct criminal offense, categorizing it as a Class A misdemeanor rather than a felony. Furthermore, as a Norwalk sexting attorney can explain, charges filed under this statute are almost always handled in juvenile court rather than adult criminal court, so it is very rare for minors found guilty of “sexting” with each other to face penalties beyond formal warnings, probation, small fines, and, at worst, a maximum of 18 months in juvenile detention.
Importantly, though, C.G.S. § 53a-196h only applies to minors under 18 years old who knowingly possess an image constituting child pornography sent to them voluntarily by the depicted person under 16 years old over a phone or computer communication service and to minors under 16 years old who voluntarily create such an image of themselves and send it to another minor under 18 over a phone or computer service. Adults who engage in “sexting” exchanges with minors under 16 will still generally be prosecuted for felony Child Pornography Possession and potentially other charges related to the sexual exploitation of a minor.
Contesting Sexting Charges on a Child’s Behalf
Even though sexting is usually treated as a juvenile offense, having this kind of black mark on their record can still be damaging to a young person’s educational and professional future. With that in mind, it can still be important to proactively contest charges along these lines with help from a defense lawyer who has handled sexting allegations in Norwalk before.
Most of the time, effective defense strategies for these sorts of charges involve proving that the photos or videos in question did not legally constitute child pornography, that no exchange actually occurred, and/or that the exchange was not voluntary for both parties. In some situations, there may alternatively be an affirmative defense to sexting charges as provided under C.G.S. § 53a-196g, which qualified legal counsel can explain in more detail as needed.
Talk to a Norwalk Sexting Attorney About Legal Options
Learning that your child is facing criminal charges for “sexting” can be an unnerving experience for any parent to go through, especially if your child has no prior record. Fortunately, there is help available in sensitive situations like this from a dependable Norwalk sexting lawyer who can provide your family with the custom-tailored legal guidance you need to protect your best interests. Call the Law Offices of Mark Sherman today to schedule your confidential consultation, and click here to view our Avvo profile with over 300 certified reviews from past clients.