The advent of the smartphone has revolutionized the way we communicate with one another, and this hyper-efficient form of communication lends itself well to any number of situations. This naturally includes romantic relationships, and many couples have taken to sending flirty texts - including explicit photographs – to one another (often referred to as sexting). When this happens between consenting adults, it’s one thing, but when it happens between two juveniles, it’s quite another. The fact is that a nude photograph of a juvenile is child porn – even if the person sending it is the juvenile in the picturfe. If your child is facing allegations of a juvenile sex crime, consult with an experienced sex crimes attorney immediately.
In Texas, anyone who is 17 years old or younger is considered a minor, and it is illegal for minors to engage in sexting (in most instances):
- To knowingly and intentionally send another minor electronic photos that depict any minor engaged in sexual conduct
- To knowingly and intentionally possess electronic photos of another minor engaging in sexual conduct.
Texas law does, however, generally make an exception for juveniles who are within two years of each other’s age (even if one person is 18 or 19), who are (or were) in a relationship at the time they exchanged photos, and who only exchange photos of themselves. If all three conditions are present, the sexting is not considered a crime. This distinction can get awfully complicated awfully quickly, and juveniles do find themselves looking at juvenile sex crime charges. While it’s legal for someone who’s 17 to have a sexual relationship with someone older, it could be a crime for that 17-year-old to send his or her paramour a nude selfie.
A conviction for any juvenile sex crime comes with hefty consequences that go beyond the fine and any time served. In fact, simply being charged with a sex crime can be stigmatizing and can affect your child’s future ability to get a job, rent an apartment, and more. In Texas, a sexting charge is generally brought as a Class C misdemeanor that can be accompanied by a fine of up to $500. If the sender’s intention, however, was to embarrass, harass, abuse – or otherwise cyberbully – the charge can be enhanced to a Class B misdemeanor, which can involve jail time and a fine of up to $2,000. A charge of child Porn is a felony, and the attendant jail time and fines are much more significant.
If Your Child Is Facing a Juvenile Sex Crime Charge, Contact Our Office Today
Few things are more disturbing than having your child charged with a sex crime, but taking immediate action is in your child’s best interests. Attorney J. Michael Price II in Dallas is here to help, and he has the dedication, experience, and compassion to aggressively advocate for the most positive resolution of your child’s case. Mr. Price defends the accused exclusively, so please contact or call us at 214-765-8000 today.