Sexting is the act of sending or receiving sexually explicit images or videos. The photos or videos are sent or received through an electronic device or computer. Sexting between two consenting adults is legal in Florida, but individuals younger than 18 could face harsh criminal charges and penalties.

Possible Charges Related to Teen Sexting

In previous years, teens who created or sent nude or sexually explicit photos faced child pornography charges. Convicted teens would have to register as sex offenders.

Thankfully, Florida has new laws regarding teen sexting. It is still illegal for teens under 18 who send or receive nude photos and videos. A first offense for teen sexting is no longer a criminal charge. Repeat offenders could face misdemeanor or felony charges depending on their case.

Age Matters in Teen Sexting Charges

The age of both parties affects what type of punishment teen sexters could receive. For example, a 17-year-old male who received nude photos from his 16-year-old girlfriend will probably get a non-criminal citation.

A 21-year old male sending or requesting sexually explicit images from a 17-year-old girl is likely to face criminal charges, including child porn-related charges.

Penalties for a Teen Sexting Conviction in Sarasota

The penalties you could face for teen sexting vary widely. As previously stated, first-time offenders will not face criminal charges. Instead, they usually receive a non-criminal citation.

Non-criminal charges require a court appearance and one or more of the following:

  • Completion of a cyber-safety program
  • Pay a $60 penalty
  • Complete eight hours of community service

You have thirty days to complete your required penalties. You may have the option of contesting the citation issued against you. If you lose, the court may impose any or all the penalties described above.

Failing to appear in court is not a good option. You’ll be found in contempt and face additional punishment, including the loss of your driver’s license.

Repeat Offenders

Continual teen sexting charges carry more severe penalties. You could face first-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony charges.

A first-degree misdemeanor is punishable by fines as high as $1,000 and up to one year in county jail. Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison and fines up to $5,000.

Additional Charges and Penalties

The penalties could be even more severe if you face harassment, cyber-stalking, solicitation, or child porn charges. Make sure you understand the severity of the charges against you. A sex crime lawyer in Sarasota helps you prepare a compelling defense.

Defending Yourself Against Teen Sexting Charges

The type of defense strategy your case will benefit from will depend on the details of the charges against you. Some of the more common defenses used in teen sexting cases include:

  • Mistake of fact
  • Lack of intent
  • Lack of probable cause
  • Police misconduct
  • Illegal search and seizure
  • Adult depiction
  • Child erotica
  • Transitory possession

What happens if you receive nude or sexually explicit images? The prosecution could drop the charges against you if you did not solicit or share them and took steps to report the incident. Your attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss the charges against you.

Get Help From a Sex Crimes Lawyer in Sarasota

If you are facing criminal charges related to teen sexting, you need a strong legal defender on your side. Contact an experienced Sarasota sex crimes lawyer for help today.

Get an initial case review with Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. Call (941) 363-7900 or use our contact form today.

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