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    Westport Sexting Lawyer

    Teens who “sext” one another technically participate in the production and distribution of child pornography in this specific way may be charged with a violation of Connecticut’s “sexting” law, which—while still significant enough to warrant consulting with a skilled defense attorney—is a much less serious offense than any traditional Child Pornography charge. When your child is facing this type of allegation, you have help available to you from a Westport sexting lawyer who knows exactly how to handle this somewhat unique and often awkward scenario.

    When Is “Sexting” Against the Law?

    It hardly needs to be explained that possessing a photo or video depicting a nude minor engaged in sexual activity or sexual conduct of any kind can be prosecuted as a serious criminal offense in Connecticut. That said, two teenagers exchanging sexually explicit images of themselves with each other are not doing the same thing as adults knowingly violating Connecticut’s Child Pornography laws, and recent changes to state law have allowed courts to meaningfully differentiate between these two situations.

    In addition to the three degrees of Possession of Child Pornography which the Connecticut Penal Code outlines in Connecticut General Statutes §§ 53a-196d through 53a-196f, state law also includes a fourth version of this offense referred to as “Possessing or Transmitting Child Pornography by a Minor.” This offense only applies to minors under the age of 18, and anyone over the age of 18 found in possession of material categorized as child pornography will almost certainly face felony charges under one of the statutes mentioned above.

    Under C.G.S. § 53a-196h, though, someone commits a Class A misdemeanor if they are under 18 years old and knowingly possess any visual depiction of child pornography knowingly and voluntarily sent to them via electronic communication by the depicted minor, who themselves must be under 16 years old. Anyone under 16 years old who knowingly and voluntarily transmits such an image of themselves through any electronic means to another person under 18 years old can likewise be charged under this statute. A Westport sexting attorney can go into further detail about the exact definitions involved in this section of state law during a private initial consultation.

    Potential Consequences for a Sexting Conviction

    Since a violation of C.G.S. § 53a-196h is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor, a person convicted under this statute could technically face maximum sanctions of $2,000 in fines and one year in jail. Importantly, though, these penalties only apply if the defendant in question is charged, prosecuted, and convicted as an adult, and given that this “sexting” law exclusively applies to minors, it is rare for this type of case to play out in this way.

    Instead, minors of accusing of illegally “sexting” with another minor generally face adjudication in juvenile court, where the consequences stemming from an “adjudication of guilt” can range from a formal warning to probation, small fines, and juvenile detention (only in extreme situations). Assistance from a knowledgeable defense attorney can be key to resolving a sexting charge in Westport as efficiently as possible and achieving an outcome that serves the best interests of the minor(s) involved.

    Do Juveniles Have to Go To Court for Sexting?

    Furthermore, minors facing charges under this statute generally have their cases heard in juvenile court, meaning the sanctions they could face for a guilty finding would usually be limited to warnings, small fines, and potentially probation, rather than the $2,000 fine and one-year jail term that a class A misdemeanor conviction could typically lead to. That being said, even these comparatively lesser penalties could have a significant impact on a minor’s personal and professional life, so working with a Westport sexting attorney to mitigate potential consequences could still be important.

    Are There Any Statutory Defenses to Sexting Charges?

    Since underage sexting is technically a child pornography offense, the affirmative defenses to child pornography possession charges set out in C.G.S. §53a-196g also apply to charges of possessing or transmitting child pornography by a minor. For example, if a minor never knowingly or willingly possessed more than two discrete depictions of child pornography, immediately deleted the offending images upon becoming aware of them, and contacted law enforcement as soon as possible afterward, they may have an affirmative defense against charges filed under C.G.S. §53a-196h. Of course, this affirmative defense does not apply in every situation, but it could be an important possibility to speak with a sexting lawyer in Westport about when building a defense strategy.

    Talk To a Westport Sexting Attorney About Your Legal Options

    Every young person makes mistakes at one point or another, and possessing or distributing child pornography is an especially big one, even if they are the minor depicted in that material. Fortunately, Connecticut no longer prosecutes this type of offense as a felony, and it is often possible to resolve this sort of case amicably with assistance from dedicated legal counsel.

    A Westport sexting lawyer from Mark Sherman Law can discuss your options in detail during a confidential meeting. Schedule yours by calling today, and click here to visit our Avvo profile to read over 300 certified client reviews.