The act of sending sexually suggestive or nude images via an electronic device is known as sexting, and it can be illegal if teens are involved. Sexting usually occurs via text messages or social media platforms but can also be carried out via email or other electronic means. Teenagers, most of which are minors, commonly practice sexting, sometimes using it to harass or even bully other people with their sexting activities.
In California, the laws on sexting and teens are clear. If you or your teen have been accused of a crime related to teen sexting, reach out for help from a criminal defense attorney right away, as the charge can have lasting negative implications.
It is important to note that in most cases, when two consenting adults are sexting with one another, there is no crime being committed, at least in California. However, if teenagers are involved in sexting, then the activity is illegal under California Penal Code. Because California does not have a specific sexting law for teens, sexting falls under the state’s general laws governing child porn and exploitation.
Because there are no teen-specific sexting laws on the books, teenagers who are no longer minors (18- and 19-year-olds), put themselves in serious legal jeopardy when sexting with teens age 17 or younger. Although 18- and 19-year-olds are teens, they are also of the age of majority and subject to adult laws. Those teens who have not yet attained the age of majority in California are also subject to sexting charges, but those charges unfold in juvenile court.
In the state of California, sexting can be construed as a violation of:
In some instances, sexting may also be a federal crime under the PROTECT Act of 2003.
The team at the Law Offices of Graham Donath understands how frustrating and scary it can be if you or your child are accused of a crime. Our Riverside criminal defense attorney provides nonjudgmental legal help with sexting cases. Reach out to us to request a confidential consultation or call us in Riverside at 951-667-5293 or in Orange County at 714-758-5293.