A new study in the journal Pediatrics shows that for modern teenagers, the smartphone has become the new medium through which many are introduced to sex. 1 The study, which  Teen sexting is illegal.looked at the behavior of 1,000 teenagers in Texas, found that one in four of these teens reported that they have “sexted” (sending sexually explicit text messages or emails, with or without images), and the messages were often followed by actual sexual activity. 

While the study’s authors see this as an opportunity to talk to teenagers and promote healthy discussions about sex, many minors don’t realize that sending explicit photos of themselves can be considered a child pornography crime.

Child Pornography (California Penal Code Section 311)

Some states have created laws that specifically apply to minors sending sexually explicit photos of themselves, but in California, there is no distinction between sexting and child pornography crimes. Any person, regardless of age, who knowingly produces, possesses, distributes, or receives child pornography, is potentially guilty of violating California Penal Code Section 311.

Generally, to be considered child pornography, the images must depict a person under the age of 18 personally engaging in or personally simulating sexual conduct. If both the sender and recipient are under the age of 18, they could both potentially face a felony charge if:

  1. They knowingly committed the act; AND
  2. When they acted, they knew that the matter showed a person under the age of 18 who was participating in or simulating sexual conduct.

    Sexting with a minor is illegal.
    Sexting with a minor is illegal, regardless of your age.

The penalties for adults (including 18- and 19-year-old defendants) for the various types of child pornography crimes in California are severe. Adults convicted under PC 311 could face up to eight years in prison, fines of up to $100,000, and having to register as a sex offender for life.

When the defendant is a minor, the case will likely be tried in juvenile court. If your child has been accused, he or she could face fines and probation or counseling. Depending on the circumstances of the case, your child could also face felony charges for child pornography possession and distribution of child pornography. Punishment for a minor could include detention in juvenile hall with a transfer to county jail upon reaching the age of 18, and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration upon release from custody if convicted as an adult.

Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If your child is facing criminal charges related to child pornography, it is critical that you speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing charges related to child pornography. Our attorneys know how to fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich sex crimes defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2014/10/06/sexting-is-the-new-first-base-yes-maybe-even-your-child/]

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