Is Sexting Illegal in California?

In today’s world, technology has and will continue to change a lot about the legal system. Not only has it birthed a new area of criminal law, but it has also permeated our daily lives in a way which makes it impossible to avoid and communicate without. Sexting refers to sending, forwarding, or receiving sexually explicit photographs or messages via text, computer, or any social media marketing platform.

Between consenting adults, sexting is private and completely legal. Where the law gets tricky is when there is speculation regarding either party’s age, the content shared, or the extent of either person’s involvement.

What If the Other Person is Underage?

When one party is underage, sexting quickly becomes illegal. In fact, the consequences of sexting with a minor are monumental as it is considered a violation of PC 311, California state’s law on child pornography. Many teens have adopted sexting as normal dating culture and see nothing strange or wrong with sharing photos with each other. If the two people sexting are both under the age of 17, the state of California does not hold them to any legal responsibility.

As with any sexual encounter, consent is vital. Underage teens cannot legally give consent to an adult, which is why if you are the adult in the situation, you are expected to refrain from partaking in sexually explicit conduct with minors even if the underage person is actively pursuing the relationship and volunteering graphic content.

If convicted of a sex crime with a minor, you will be subject to jail time, fines, probation, community service, and perhaps the most damaging, required registration to the sex offender’s list.

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At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we are a team of criminal defense attorneys who will go above and beyond to ensure your name is cleared. Our advocates realize few things are as damaging and devastating as a criminal conviction, especially a sex crime, which is why we refuse to sit back and watch your future be thrown away. Allow us to fight for the truth and exonerate you from all accusations.

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