One of the challenges posed by new technology is the creation of laws surrounding the new ways of the world. Technology has the potential to solve many problems in society today, but it can also cause more problems to pop up.
Sexting is one of those activities, and it may feel like a legal gray area. Illinois has established some laws that may be used when sexting becomes part of the equation. Continue reading to learn more about the ways in which sexting can become illegal.
What Is Sexting?
Sexting is a shortened form of “sex texting.” Sexting somebody means sending another person sexually explicit text messages or photos through a texting device. Some people may send photos back and forth while others may exchange textual innuendos or explicit details of a sexual nature.
While sexting is not always a crime, it can certainly pose legal challenges in specific cases. Sexting is illegal when it involves minors, and it could delve into harassment if one of the individuals does not consent to the sexual exchange.
What Are the Illinois Laws About Sexting?
Many people do not realize that sexting may be legal for consenting adults, but it is not legal for children and teenagers. Minors who participate in sexting may be subject to prosecution depending on the circumstances. Additionally, adults who engage in this behavior with minors also face prosecution.
Minors are not legally allowed to distribute “indecent visual depictions” of themselves or other minors. This means they cannot send lewd images or unclothed photos of themselves, friends, classmates, or their significant others who are also under the age of 18.
Adults and minors who send sexting or indecent materials to minors may be charged with distribution of harmful materials to a minor. This is a Class A misdemeanor the first time and a Class 4 felony the second time. The penalties will steepen after the initial conviction.
If an adult creates or distributes material featuring a minor engaged in sexual acts, he or she may face charges related to child pornography. Even minors can face child pornography charges for distributing images and videos of themselves. Child pornography charges are often Class 1 felonies, resulting extreme consequences.
The new law SB 2513 seeks to make sexting between two minors a non-crime. The passage of the law means that two minors engaging in sexual dialogue would not lead to incarceration, for example.
Keep in mind that federal crimes may come into place in these situations as well. This means you may face additional penalties and charges.
What Are Penalties for Sexting-Related Crimes?
Defending yourself against allegations associated with sexting is critical because these illegal acts may result in prison time and even placement on the sex offender registry. The penalties for juveniles differs from the penalties for adults, but both are serious.
For juveniles, charges may range from counseling and community services to fines and incarceration in a juvenile facility. The courts will consider the severity of the charges.
Adults who face these penalties may spend years in prison. They may also face lifelong consequences, such as not being able to live near schools or work in licensed environments.
What Are the Defenses Against Sexting Allegations?
One potential defense against sexting a minor might be that the minor provided fake documentation that appeared official which stated they were over the age of 18. However, no matter what kind of defense you intend to use in court, speak with an experienced attorney when you need legal advice.
Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC, provides the legal assistance you need when you are facing hefty charges. Call us today to discuss legal options and the road ahead of you.