Our lives are intertwined with our digital devices—and it’s not always for good. While an addiction to social media has no legal ramifications, sending, receiving, and forwarding sexually explicit text messages and photographs can cross and the line, and with it bring troubles. As sexting, as it’s popularly known, becomes a normative component of sexual behavior and exploration for teenagers, it’s important to understand when the seemingly innocent act could be considered a crime.
New Connecticut Sexting Law
Laws have a tough time keeping up with technological advances, but Connecticut passed a relatively recent bill that protects and provides legal relief for teenagers who sext. In the past, sexting and traditional child pornography were grouped together in the legal sense, making both a felony, despite obvious differences. Under the new law, sexting between certain minors is a class A misdemeanor for juveniles under 18. Yes, sexting amongst teens is still considered a crime, but the ramifications are no longer life-changing.
The new law, called “Possessing or Transmitting Child Pornography by a Minor,” classifies the following two groups of teenagers who are now subject to a misdemeanor charge instead of a felony:
- Teenagers between 13 and 18 years old are not permitted to knowingly possess any naked photos sent consensually by a minor who is between 13 and 16 years old.
- Teenagers between 13 and 16 years old are not permitted to knowingly send any child pornography to anyone who is between 13 and 18 years old.
Who Is Legally Allowed to Sext?
In Connecticut, the age of sexual consent is 16 years old. That means that it’s legal for anyone 16 or over to sext and send naked photos of themselves to anyone else who is 16 or over. What is against the law is for those who are 16 or over to circulate naked photos of anyone under 16.
What Photos are Illegal?
Any photo or video (even if it’s fake) depicting the genitals, breasts, or pubic areas of anyone under 16, or any photo or video depicting anyone under 16 engaged in actual or simulated sexual contact, intercourse or masturbation.
What are the Consequences?
Violation of the teenage sexting law is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $2,000, or both. However, teenage violators are generally prosecuted through the juvenile justice system, providing punishments that are more appropriate for juvenile delinquents. This may include a warning, a fine, probation, or a commitment to the Department of Children and Families custody for up to 18 months.
If your child is being investigation for sending or receiving naked photos, please contact our Connecticut juvenile crimes lawyers at The Sills Law Firm today. We can sit down with you and your child to build a strong and effective defense strategy to fight any criminal charges.
Call (860) 524-8118 today.