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But it isn't just adults who send or receive such images who can be charged with these crimes, and even teens who send pictures of themselves to adults can face child pornography charges Depending on the circumstances, sexting may also be a crime under federal law. § 1466A(a)(1).) Federal law also criminalizes causing a minor to take part in sexually explicit conduct in order to visually depict that conduct. It’s another federal crime to promote or solicit sexually explicit material involving a minor. Because teen sexting can involve juvenile courts or adult courts, and cover various criminal laws, there is a wide range of potential penalties that may apply.

The Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act of 2003 makes it illegal to produce, distribute, receive, or possess with intent to distribute any obscene visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Parents who allow this behavior can also be prosecuted. In states that have specific laws that target sexting, the crime is typically either a misdemeanor offense or petty offense, a type of offense considered less serious than a misdemeanor.

If, for example, a teen receives an explicit or pornographic image from someone else, the teen hasn't violated a sexting law unless the teen chooses to keep the image.

It may also be enough to avoid a sexting conviction if the person receiving the message tried to delete it but was unable to. § 5032.) It's important to note that even though sexting laws apply to teenagers, this doesn't mean that people over the age of 16 or 18 who send sex messages are free from committing a crime.

Though specific teen sexting laws are not present in a majority of states, the trend appears to be towards more widespread adoption of sexting laws.

For example, Connecticut's sexting law targets teens (anyone between 13 and 17) who either transmit or possess nude or obscene photos of either themselves or another teenager.If you've been questioned by the police or charged with a sexting crime, you need to speak to an experienced local criminal defense lawyer immediately.Sexting can involve different criminal charges, and because these charges can differ so significantly between states, only a local attorney can provide you with legal advice about your case.Juvenile courts have a wider discretion in the kinds of penalties they impose, even when a juvenile is charged with a serious offense.Any charges that stem from teen sexting can result in some very serious consequences for the teen, the people who shared photos with the teen, and the teen's parents or guardians.

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