Sexting Laws Everyone Should Know
Just like everything fun in life, sexting can get you in some serious trouble. Sexting has gained in popularity as the use of cell phones goes up. Sexting, sending explicit text and pictures via SMS services, has been showing up in national headlines more and more recently. Everyone from teens to United States government officials have engaged in it with varying degrees of problems issuing forth because of it. Naughty teachers, adulterous congressmen and horny celebrities have all been disgraced in sexting scandals that hit the news. Getting caught sexting can mean loss of your job, relationship and even put you in legal trouble. Still yet, people do it masses.
Several States Have Enacted Sexting Laws
Sexting someone who is under the age of 18 is subject to prosecution under federal law. Punishment is anything from hefty fines to jail time. Many states have also enacted their own laws pertaining to sexting, since it is so popular among teens. Penalties include probation, detention, warnings, and fines. States with laws pertaining to sexting include:
• New Jersey
• New York
• North Dakota
• Rhode Island
• South Dakota
• West Virginia
What’s the use of these sexting laws?
States with no sexting laws treat those who sext minors under their state child pornography laws. This can result in a ruing to register as a sex offender. Technically, teens who produce and send out nude pics of themselves or suggestive texts, are distributing child pornography. The trouble is, child pornography laws were meant to trap adults who exploit children. Not children exploiting themselves and each other unknowingly. An estimated one third of teens have sexted. With so many participating, sexting laws were developed with less stringent penalties to keep from ruining a young person’s life.
Opposition to Sexting Laws
Many states have no specific sexting laws. In those cases, teens and adults face the same punishments for sexting and it can ruin the life of a teen for years to come. Registering as a sex offender can cause loss of job, school and home. Many people oppose the states that have only federal child pornography laws in place for sexting.
Sexting Laws to Minors
Under no circumstance should any adult be sexting a minor. Anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor. Eighteen is the legal age of consent. No matter what the state laws are, sexting to a minor is a federal offense and can mean big trouble, both legally and financially. Not to mention personally. Anyone engaging in sexting activity must make absolutely sure whoever they get pics and messages from is over 18-years-old. Any type of questionable text message to and from a minor can turn into a legal storm. Always make sure you know the exact legal age of anyone you engage in sexting with.
Sexting among adults is legal in every state. There are no laws restricting or forbidding it after age 18. Legal sexting is said to have several redeeming qualities. The most obvious being it does not carry the risks of real sex such as pregnancy and disease. Other beneficial factors include spicing up existing relationships, boosting the ego and sex drive, and increasing self-confidence. There are not a lot of negatives to sexting. What negatives are present usually occur because of other nefarious reasons associated with the sexting such as cheating.
The major sexting law everyone should know is not to sext with a minor and do not receive sext messages from a minor. This is so important, you may want to sneak a peek at her driver’s license just to be safe.
Tags: Sending a sext, Sext messages, Sexting, Sexting laws, sexting scandals