Westport Sexting Lawyer
While state law does not consider underage sexting a felony like other child pornography offenses, your child could still face significant consequences in juvenile court if convicted. Fortunately, help is available from a Westport sexting lawyer.
What Are The Legal Consequences for Underage “Sexting”?
Connecticut General Statutes §53a-196h is the section of state law that defines and criminalizes the act of sexting between minors. Specifically, it is unlawful for someone under 18 to receive sexually explicit images of someone under 16 via electronic means, regardless of whether the images in question were sent by the minor depicted in them. Likewise, it is illegal for someone under 16 to send explicit images of themselves to someone else under 18.
This statute exists primarily for two purposes: first, to discourage minors from ill-advisedly creating and sharing images or videos that technically constitute child pornography, and second, to distinguish sexting between minors from adults knowingly possessing and/or distributing child pornography in the context of criminal prosecution. To that end, C.G.S. §53a-196h defines the possession or transmission child pornography by a minor as a class A misdemeanor, while adult possession of child pornography remains a serious felony offense.
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.
Speak with a Westport Sexting Attorney Today
Even juvenile court adjudications can have serious repercussions, and if a minor is charged as an adult for this kind of offense, they could face jail time upon conviction. Working with an experienced Westport sexting lawyer is almost always the best way to pursue a positive resolution to this kind of case. To learn more about working with our firm, check out our client reviews on Avvo.com. Then, call today.