The vast majority of people in the United States have and use their smartphones for many things including making calls, taking pictures, and sending texts. In fact, it is estimated that 300 million Americans have a smartphone. What that means is that as high as 90% of the entire United States population has a smartphone at their disposal.
The ability to connect with each other is incredibly easy due to the widespread presence of these multifunctional handheld devices. This is typically a good thing, but in some cases, the ease at which one can circulate virtually any type of information could also be highly problematic. This is especially so if what is being sent out is sexually explicit.
Is it Unlawful to Sext?
If you have sent a text that had a video or a picture that was sexual in nature, then you have sexted. In the state of California, there are no laws on the books that prevent people from sexting. There is nothing criminal about two consenting adults sending each other sexual texts. But, in other circumstances, what is texted out from your phone could lead to some type of sexual offense charge.
For example, if you have been sending sexual texts to a minor that can come with serious legal implications. People that are sending inappropriate, sexual texts to minors can face punishment under California’s child pornography laws. There is no tolerance for this type of activity in the state. It is illegal to send any of the following:
- Sexual matter to a minor that is meant to motivate the child to respond by engaging in sexual acts.
- Sending anything that is considered child pornography to anyone. Any media that shows a person who is under the age of 18 doing sexual acts is child pornography.
- Knowingly be in possession of lewd and pornographic matters that involve children.
It is possible that your sexting can be a reason for your arrest and charges of either a felony or misdemeanor crimes. If you are charged at the misdemeanor level, then you could face up to a year in jail, hefty fines as high as $1,000, and informal probation. Felonies have much harsher penalties. Felonies can result in jail time up to five years, potentially a $10,000 fine, and formal probation.
It is not just fines and jail time that a conviction carries. Also, people that are charged with certain sex crimes will be required to become registered sex offenders. Once you are deemed a registered sex offender, as long as you reside in California you will have to keep this registration current. In other words, every year you will have to register. Continue reading