While sexting is a relatively new legal consideration, there can still be relatively severe consequences for charges including minors or the unconsented distribution of sexually-explicit or pornographic material publicly. The Rickman Law Firm’s diligent and experienced Tampa criminal attorneys are successfully skilled and knowledgeable concerning the laws surrounding sexting.
In layman’s terms, sexting is defined as the electronic transfer of sexually explicit messages, photographs, or videos. When occurring between two adults, there are no legal implications so long as the messages remain private and undistributed publicly. However, when at least one of the parties is a minor, there are major legal implications that could lead to an investigation, fines, trial, or even an arrest.
The primary issue concerning sexting in a court of law is that of consent. There may not always be a degree of consent between two adults during a sexting interaction, and there is never a degree of consent where a minor is involved in any form of sexting. In some cases, sexually explicit texts, photos, and videos are sent without the owner’s consent.
The state of Florida has varying degrees of definition for what constitutes sexting and the related legal implications, including misdemeanor or felony charges, fines, and even time in jail or prison.
Sexting between adults is legal in Florida. It is important to understand that a lack of consent via the sharing of sexually-explicit material could result in legal action if the prosecution party seeks it out. Florida Statute § 784.049 et seq. declares the willful and malicious sexual cyber harassment via sharing explicit photos online a first-degree misdemeanor.
When sexting occurs between a minor and an adult, the charge is elevated from a sexting charge to child pornography. If mistaken sexting between an adult and a minor, where the minor’s age was unbeknownst to the adult, a highly-skilled, experienced criminal attorney from Tampa’s The Rickman Law Firm could help fight this charge.
Sexting occurrences between two minors is also a criminal offense, as minors are not able to give legal consent. Due to the nature of the long-term consequences of sexting as a minor, the punishment could include 8 hours of community service, payment of a $60 civil penalty, or participation in a cyber-safety program, or any combination thereof.
Due to the tricky and novel nature of sexting laws in the Florida court, it is important to familiarize yourself with the law. The defense lawyers at our Tampa office will offer free consultation and legal advice if you find yourself in need. Our law firm is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for you. For your free consultation, or to get in contact with one of our attorneys, fill out our consultation form or call The Rickman Law Firm at 813-999-0502.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.