What are the current penalties for sexting in Texas?


Did you know that sending or receiving a sexual text or image to someone underage could lead to criminal charges?

These days, many teens and adults have their phones glued to their ears.

Although several who do use them to keep in contact with each other, an alarming percentage engage in the concept known as “sexting.”

If you live in the Lone Star State, it would be best if you rethought sending that sext. This simple guide will teach you all the sexting laws in Texas.

Definition of Sexting
Sexting is a phrase that incorporates the terms “sex” and “texting.” It is the transmission of sexually provocative or naked photos through text messaging or other messaging platforms.

These are the images that could land you in hot water. It’s especially detrimental to engage a minor. Submitting or accepting nude images or text from a minor adolescent is legally known as child pornography.

Sexting Laws in Texas
In Texas, teen sexting is illegal by state law. These laws prohibit the transmission of sexual images of children under the age of 18 by electronic means.

There is a possible exemption against these charges. This would be if the photographs are of the sender and receiver during romantic courtship and the two people involved are not more than two years apart in age. That is valid even though one of the parties concerned is above the age of 18.

In some instances, only one person could face a penalty. That is the case if they sent the message to bully or threaten the recipient.

An adult who sexts with a minor can be charged with sharing pornographic photographs of a child. Also, facilitating a sexual performance by a minor, or possessing child pornography, all are felony crimes.

What Are the Sexting Legal Consequences?
While Texas law does not expressly forbid sexting, it does deem it a crime. Let’s look into it more deeply.

When Adults and Children in Texas Share Sexts
If the sext is in possession of an adult, the penalties are significantly more severe. Adults can face state or federal criminal charges if they receive or transmit sexually suggestive pictures of minors. These are charges of child pornography.

The sentences can vary, but they can carry up to 20 years in jail. Offenders can also be included on the Texas sex offender list, limiting where they can live and work in the state.

Remember that you are an adult after you turn 18. The fact that a student is still in school at the age of 18 does not absolve them from the obligations and consequences that come with adulthood.

The Revenge Porn Law
What is the revenge porn law? To share explicit or sexual images or videos without the person’s consent in the photo is revenge porn.

This is an issue that affects people of all ages, from 11-year-olds to adults. However, cases involving teenagers and adults in their mid-twenties have been the most often recorded. This frequently results from a lack of knowledge and guidance about the risks and effects of posting graphic photographs or videos.

It is a criminal act and a Class A Misdemeanor to expose or publish photographs of someone engaging in sexual activity under this state’s law. This includes photos of an individual’s personal parts, unless that person gave their permission and had a fair assurance that the information would remain confidential.

Class A misdemeanors carry a sentence of up to one year in prison, a fine of upward of $4,000, or both.

Laws Regarding Child Pornography
If an adult is found sexting with a minor, they may be convicted of a criminal offense for child pornography. Possession and promotion of child pornography fall into this category.

Possession of Child Pornography
Watching or owning child pornography is a third-degree felony. It can result in two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If you have been accused of possessing child pornography before, the charge is a second-degree felony charge. It carries a sentence of up to 20 years in jail.

A third or subsequent conviction for child pornography brings sentences of up to 99 years in jail.

Promoting Child Pornography
In Texas, producing, releasing, or distributing child porn is a more serious crime than viewing or owning child pornography.

If you have six or more copies of child pornographic media and you get discovered, you could be charged with possessing child pornography with intent to distribute.

The distribution of child pornography carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for a first offense. For a second offense, it can carry a sentence of up to 99 years in prison.

The production of child pornography is a violation of Texas law, which prohibits acting out sexual activity by a child. In the case of children between the ages of 14 and 17, the conviction is a Class 2 felony punishable with a sentence of 20 years in jail. When the offender is under the age of 13, the crime is a Class 1 felony, enforced with a sentence of up to 99 years in jail.

Depending on the situation, the federal government can also prosecute certain criminal cases pertaining to child pornography. For most cases, the person convicted will be required to register with the state as a sex offender.

Educate Your Child About Sexting
As uncomfortable as a sexting discussion may be, it is necessary to have one with your child.

Sexting could get out of control and return to haunt them after a relationship ends. If a photograph has also been released, it cannot ever be fully deleted.

Discuss the moral ramifications of sexting with them, as well as what could happen if sexts fell into the wrong hands.

Don’t Do It!
The act of sending pornographic text messages is sexting. It usually includes submitting naked or semi-naked images and pornographic videos of yourself to someone else.

The increase of sexting amongst adults and, more concerningly, teenagers, has resulted from the introduction of the Internet and mobile phones. Sexting comes with its risks and danger, as you can see by the sexting laws in Texas.

The most important thing is to educate your children and have a transparent, meaningful interaction about sexting behaviors.

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