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What is sexting and when is it a crime?

Thinking of sex crimes usually brings up thoughts of rape or sexual assault. There is another type of sex crime that some people might be committing without even knowing it -- sexting. While it is true that most adults can sext each other without consequence, there are some limits on who can sext whom without consequence.

What is sexting?

Sexting is the digital transmission of nude photos or sexually suggestive messages. This can occur on any digital medium, including text messages, private messages, or emails. The sexts can be received on or sent from smart phones, cellphones, tablets, or computers.

When does sexting become a crime?

Generally, sexting becomes a problem when a minor gets involved in the sexting. If nude pictures are sent to a minor or received from a minor, the messages might fall under the classification of child pornography. Despite the assertions of some people that this shouldn't occur, many cases classify these sexts as violations of child pornography laws.

How is sexting handled?

If the sexting involves minors, the penalties can vary depending on the actual charge. Generally, it is up to the prosecutors what charges are brought for sexting. Probation, incarceration, fines, and other criminal penalties might be possible. In some cases, education aimed at preventing future offenses might be ordered.

If you are facing sex charges, including sexting charges, knowing your options for fighting the charges can give you a good starting point for your defense. It is critical that you carefully consider the options that you have so that you can discover the pros and cons of each.

Source: FindLaw, "Sexting," accessed Jan. 07, 2016

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