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Is Sexting Illegal for Adults?

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At Lotze Mosley, LLP, our Maryland and Washington D.C. sex crimes defense attorney knows that there are seemingly limitless ways to communicate using cellphones, tablets, laptops, and even watches and other personal electronic devices. As technology continues to advance, chats, texts, and direct messages are commonplace in nearly every household.

In some cases, these messages can become suggestive, and include photos. Whether the individuals sharing these images are married, dating, single, or perfect strangers, between consenting adults, the private sharing of nude or suggestive photos of adults is generally not illegal.

However, all adults should use caution when sending texts and images of a sexual nature.

Here’s why.

What is Sexting and Is It Legal?

Sexting illegalSexting is the sharing of sexually explicit messages or photos, usually by smartphone or some other electronic device or means.

While these types of messages sent between consenting adults are generally not illegal, there are circumstances under which sexting by adults could result in criminal charges.

For instance, if a young adult, age 18 or 19, is involved in a relationship with someone a few years younger, the law might consider certain acts illegal because one party is a minor.

In other situations, adults of any age may find themselves in serious legal trouble for sexting including when:

  • Receiving or sharing a nude or sexual image of a child under the age of 18 can be charged with possessing or sending child pornography.
  • Asking a child under the age of 18 to share a nude photo of him or herself, even if the “child” is not a child at all but is a law enforcement officer posing as a child as part of a sting operation.
  • Sending obscene, nude, or sexual photos to anyone under the age of 18 may be a crime.
  • Sharing nude or sexual photos of another adult without their permission or posting the images online as a form of revenge after ending a relationship can lead to criminal charges.
  • Sending unwanted sexts to another adult could lead to criminal charges for harassment.

Depending on the circumstances, sexting can also be a crime under federal law, which can lead to steeper penalties, including jail time.

Contact Our Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys at Lotze Mosley, LLP.

If you have been contacted by the police or investigators, or arrested and charged with a sex crime as a result of electronic communications involving sexting, immediately contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys at Lotze Mosley, LLP by calling 202-393-0535. This will ensure your rights are protected from the beginning, so you can make informed decisions about your case.

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