Sexting Defense Attorneys in West Palm Beach
Though sexting among consenting adults is not a crime, when teens share explicit images of themselves or other minors via mobile phones, it is considered a criminal act under Florida law. Many teens don’t realize the seriousness of this crime and are shocked to learn the penalties they face when charged with sexting. The laws regarding teen sexting have changed recently, making it critical for you to retain the services of an experienced Florida sexting attorney to help you and your teen navigate the legal process and move past this incident toward a bright future.
About Florida’s laws
Sexting falls under Florida’s obscenity laws, which make it a crime for anyone under the age of 18 to use a mobile phone, personal computer or other electronic device to transmit an image depicting sexual activity or nudity to another minor. A minor also can be charged with sexting if he or she is in receipt or possession of such an image sent by another minor. The incident will not be considered criminal; however, if the person who received the image did not solicit the picture, did not send the photo to anyone else and reported it to an authority figure.
Felony charges are possible
While the penalties regarding juvenile sexting recently have been eased, your teen still could be charged with a felony under certain circumstances.
- Minors: Anyone under 18 who commits sexting likely will be charged with a noncriminal violation for a first-time offense, which carries a penalty of eight hours of community service or a $60 fine. A second sexting offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, which means that your teen could spend up to a year in jail. For a third offense, the charge is a third-degree felony, which holds a maximum sentence of five years.
- Adults: Anyone 18 or older who is caught sexting with a minor will be charged under Florida’s harsh child pornography laws rather than sexting laws. Possessing or promoting images of child pornography could land a young adult in prison for 30 years or more and require registration as a sexual offender or predator.
Even though a first-time offense for sexting now carries a relatively mild penalty, these charges still are very serious and can damage your teen’s standing in the community. If your child is charged with sexting, you should seek the most experienced legal advocates possible to try to dismiss the charges completely. Contact the West Palm Beach sexting defense lawyers at Ohle Law P.A. today so we can immediately get to work on your child’s case.