Sexting Charges in PA
What Happens When Charged with Sexting in Pennsylvania
Sexting might not seem like a very serious crime, but the punishments under a conviction are serious and can even lead to child pornography charges if the photos are of a minor.
Sexting can also be a very tempting and sent on a whim. With mobile smart phones acting as cameras, it can be an easy mistake to make.
Depending on the nature of the sexting activity and the ages of those involved in possession, penalties can range from a $300 fine to up to two years in prison.
If the $300 fine seems like a small price to pay, keep in mine, that by pleading guilty, your child will have a criminal record – which can severely impact their future – and you may find that fighting the charges in court to be a better option. It may be well worth it to fight to have the charges dropped or have your child acquitted or having the penalties reduced.
Sexting Charges Are Not a Conviction
It is important to remember that sex crime charges are not a conviction. Often courts can sympathize with sexting behavior, but it helps to have an experienced Pennsylvania sex crime attorney on your side to make arguments and fight for you or your childs’ rights.
Your freedom is at stake, but you have legal options to fight back against your charges. Even if a not-guilty verdict is not possible, it is possible to have the charges reduced and penalties lessened.
WANA SAADZOI – AN EXPERIENCED LAWYER WHO WILL FIGHT FOR YOU
An knowledgeable attorney, reputable for winning sex crime cases, is going to have a much better chance of getting sexting charges dropped or reduced.
Attorney Wana Saadzoi has fought and won several high-profile sex crime cases. She is aggressive and experienced and will help you fight your charges and prepare your case for the best possible outcome.
Attorney Saadzoi is a tough criminal lawyer in Pennsylvania. She works specifically in Delaware, Montgomery and Chester Counties.
An Arrest is Not a Conviction
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What is Sexting?
Sexting is defined as electronic transmission of a sexually explicit image. To transmit an electronic message can mean in the form of a text message, or a message sent on Whatsapp, or any images sent through social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.
What Counts as a Sexually Explicit Image?
According to PA laws a “Sexually Explicit Image” is defined as: “a lewd or lascivious visual depiction of a minor’s genitals, pubic area, breast or buttocks or nudity, if such nudity is depicted for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any person who might view such nudity.”
And according to PA laws, “Nudity: is defined as “the showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area or buttocks with less than a fully opaque covering, the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any portion thereof below the top of the nipple or the depiction of covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state.”
Types of Sexting and Penalties in Pennsylvania
The age of persons involved are what plays the biggest role in the types of sexting charges you face.
Sexting between Teenagers
Sexting is very common, especially in high school and even middle school. But it is considered illegal and can lead to legal repercussions since the parties are minors.
In 2012, a Pennsylvania law was passed making it illegal to send explicit images of a minor, even if those images were of oneself. It is also illegal to possess such photos and can lead to a summary offense or misdemeanor conviction.
Under the Pennsylvania Sexting Law it is illegal to:
- Transmit, distribute, or share an electronic communication (text message, instant message, social media sharing, snap, etc.) containing a nude image of him or herself or any other person age 12 or older, but younger than 18, or
- Possess a nude photo of another person between the ages of 12 and 17.
Therefore, it is a crime for the teenager who received the text or email to possess the communication, even though the images were unsolicited.
(a) Summary offense.–Except as provided in section 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children), a minor commits a summary offense when the minor:
(1) Knowingly transmits, distributes, publishes or disseminates an electronic communication containing a sexually explicit image of himself.
(2) Knowingly possesses or knowingly views a sexually explicit image of a minor who is 12 years of age or older.
(b) Misdemeanor of the third degree.–Except as provided in section 6312, a minor commits a misdemeanor of the third degree when:
(1) the minor knowingly transmits, distributes, publishes or disseminates an electronic communication containing a sexually explicit image of another minor who is 12 years of age or older.
(c) Misdemeanor of the second degree.–Except as provided in section 6312, a minor commits a misdemeanor of the second degree when, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, torment, harass or otherwise cause emotional distress to another minor, the minor:
(1) makes a visual depiction of any minor in a state of nudity without the knowledge and consent of the depicted minor; or
(2) transmits, distributes, publishes or disseminates a visual depiction of any minor in a state of nudity without the knowledge and consent of the depicted minor.
Read more information – PA Code § 6321
Sexting Charges and Penalties (Teenagers):
- Penalties for teenagers convicted of sexting: up to 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $300.
- Sharing a “sext” of another teenager: a misdemeanor, up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine.
- Using sexting as a sexual harassment tool: two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
* A teenager’s phone may also be confiscated.
More serious sex crimes like images taken or distributed for commercial purposes, or images of more intense sexual acts, such as intercourse, penetration, or masturbation, are all punishable under stricter laws. They also may considered federal crimes under federal law.
Sexting Between and Adult and a Minor
If an adult accepts or solicits images from a minor or sends images of him or herself to a minor, it is not considered sexting, but rather online solicitation of a minor or unlawful contact with a minor, which are separate and more serious charges.
- If an adult (over age 18) is convicted of sexting to a teenager, this could result in a felony, up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Photographing a child or causing a child to participate in pornography is a felony. The convicted adult would also be required to register on SORNA, the national sex offender registry. Failure to register as required by law can mean up to ten years in prison.
Sexting Between Adults
Sexting amongst adults is perfectly legal, so long as both parties are complicit in the arrangement.
Unwanted explicit photos can lead to sexual harassment charges.
Penalties in Pennsylvania for Teen Sexting Charges
Sexting between teenagers:
Summary Offense: punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine.
Sharing a sext of another teenager:
Misdemeanor: Up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine.
Harassment through Sexting:
Penalties can increase to up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
In addition to these penalties, a teenager’s phone may be confiscated permanently.
If convicted, a diversionary program in lieu of jail may be an option, which will send the teenager to an educational program on the dangers and consequences of sexting, but you have to be accepted into this program. An experienced sexting attorney can help with this process.
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HOW WANA SAADZOI CAN HELP
Attorney Wana Saadzoi has successfully won many complex sex crime cases in Pennsylvania and she will fight to have the sexting charges reduced or dismissed. An experienced sex crime lawyer by your side could make a pivotal difference in the outcome of your case, and therefore, your future.
Defending Your Rights: An Arrest is NOT a Conviction.
Attorney Saadzoi is an aggressive sex crime lawyer. She can thoroughly investigate all charges, police reports and evidence to find mistakes by the police that could result in a case dismissal.
If the charges cannot be dropped, she will help you build a strong case that defends your character and helps you prepare for hearings and/or a trial.
Attorney Saadzoi is a former prosecutor who understands both sides of the courtroom and will search every detail for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. She works tirelessly on her clients’ behalf to defend their rights.
Your life and your freedom are important to you and your family. Attorney Saadzoi will do everything possible to defend your rights.
Call 610-566-5956 to schedule a free legal case evaluation.
Learn More About The Law Offices of Wana Saadzoi, Esquire LLC and Sex Crime Laws in Pennsylvania:
- Pennsylvania Sex Crime Attorney
- Online Solicitation of a Minor or Unlawful Contact with a Minor
- Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (IDSI) Charges
- Rape Charges / Allegations in Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Lawyer
- Indecent Assault Charges
- Sex Crime Lawyer Montgomery County PA
- Criminal Lawyers in PA
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