Is Sexting Illegal?

David Lindsey, Attorney at Law
is sexting illegal
Is sexting illegal? Here’s what you should know.

You might have heard the term “sexting” before, but you might not be entirely sure what it is.

What is Sexting?

Sexting is defined as the act of sending sexually explicit messages or images electronically, typically between mobile phones. It can also refer to any sexual message or image sent without the recipient’s consent.

Is Sexting Illegal Legal?

The answer to this question isn’t as simple as a yes or no.

While sexting between two consenting adults isn’t illegal, there are certain situations where it could lead to criminal charges. For example:

A Participant is Underage

If you send a sexual message or image to someone who is under the legal age of consent, you could be charged with the distribution of child pornography.

This is true whether or not you are underage. Children sharing explicit data with one another can get into legal trouble, even if they are the same age. Make sure your children understand the legal aspects of sexting. They should know how dangerous it can be to participate in what might seem harmless or only slightly daring to them.

Messages Aren’t Consensual

If you send a sexual message or image without the recipient’s consent, you could be charged with harassment or stalking. Remember that just because someone sent a sexual message or image doesn’t mean they consented to receive one. Always make sure you have explicit permission before hitting “send.”

You’re Legally Barred from Contacting the Recipient

You can’t text, much less sext, someone who has a restraining order against you.

A restraining order is a legal order issued by a judge that requires one person to stop harming or contacting another person. It is also sometimes called a protective order or an order of protection. If someone violates a restraining order, they can be arrested and charged with a crime.

If you violate the terms of your restraining order by texting the person you’re ordered not to contact, you could be arrested and charged with contempt of court. Depending on the state you live in, this could be either a misdemeanor or felony charge.

For some, sexting can be a fun and harmless way to flirt. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential legal consequences before sending anything. Even if you find it in poor taste, it might be legal. But then again, there are many situations in which you’d be violating the law by sending or receiving sexually suggestive messages on your phone.

If you’re ever unsure about whether or not something crosses the line, err on the side of caution and don’t send it. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

To learn more about sexting or to speak to someone if you’ve been accused of a sexting crime, contact David Lindsey.

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