Sexting between minors – Is it a crime?
With modern technology, it is very easy to communicate via text, photos and video. This includes when individuals are “sexting,” or sending sexually explicit material between mobile devices.
The law is clear that an adult sexting with a minor would be considered a criminal activity. What if the sexting occurs between two minors? In many cases, according to Florida statues, this is still considered a crime.
According to Florida Statute 847.0141, a minor commits the offense of sexting if he or she:
- Knowingly transmits or distributes nude or sexually explicit photos or video to another minor, or
- Is in possession of nude or sexually explicit photos or video transmitted by another minor
If the minor received nude images but did not ask for or solicit images, and reports the incident to a legal guardian, school or law enforcement and does not distribute the images, the minor will not be charged with a crime.
Sexting is a serious offense and should not be taken lightly. Minors usually receive a citation on the first offense, with community service or a $60 fine. A second offense is typically considered a misdemeanor and a third offense is a felony charge of child pornography and exploitation. Florida is one of only five states with a felony charge for sexting. If the photos or videos depict sexual conduct, than the first offense would constitute a felony.
It is important to explain to teens that, while they may view it as a harmless game of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” sexting can have serious consequences. If your child is facing sexting charges, no matter how minor, you have a right to seek legal representation to protect your child’s rights when facing potential serious criminal charges.