With the invention of texting came the invention of sexting; the activity in which two individuals text sexually explicit photos or messages to each other in order to gain sexual gratification.
This activity, when carried out between consenting adults, is completely within the bounds of legal communication. But when carried out between an adult and a minor, or between two minors, these bounds are overstepped.
To put it simply, in Wisconsin (and everywhere else, for that matter), sexting with a minor is illegal. Here is what you need to know about sexting minors in Wisconsin.
Minor Sexting Offenses in Wisconsin
Viewing a Sexually Explicit Image of a Minor
The first type of sexting offense is viewing a sexually explicit image of a minor. If you have knowingly looked at an image or video of a child engaged in sexual activity, you are technically guilty of a crime.
This is so regardless of what your age is. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 62 or 14. An image of a child engaged in a sexual act is considered child pornography. Viewing it carries the same penalties that a possession of child pornography charge would carry.
If you are sent an image or video against your will, it is your responsibility to report it to the authorities.
Causing a Minor to View a Sexually Explicit Image
Another illegal act in the state of Wisconsin is to show a sexually explicit image to a minor. It doesn’t matter how old the person or people in the photo are. Forcibly showing such an image to a minor is a crime.
This means that it is illegal for an adult to send to a child a photo or video of him or herself engaging in a sexual activity. Even accidentally sending such an image can result in a charge.
So, if you’re going to sext, be very careful about who you’re sending your message to.
Distributing an Image of a Minor Engaging in Sexually Explicit Activity
If you happen to have come across an image or video of a minor engaged in sexual activity, it is your responsibility to notify authorities. What you definitely don’t want to do is the exact opposite. Which is to say, you don’t want to spread that photo or video around to other people.
Distributing an image or video of a minor participating in sexual activity is a very serious crime; much more serious than just possessing said picture.
Again, it doesn’t matter how old you are. Committing this crime can land you in some very serious legal trouble.
Penalties for Sexting Minors in Wisconsin
Sexting with a minor is an offense which falls under child pornography statutes. For this reason, sexting with a minor is penalized in the same way that possessing child pornography is.
Adults who are guilty of any of the above crimes will receive a class D felony. A class D is punishable by up to 25 years in prison, and by up to $100,000 fines.
Minors who are guilty of any of the above crimes will receive a class I felony. A class I is punishable by up to 3 years and 6 months in prison, and by fines of up to $10,00.
Also, both adults and minors may be forced onto the sex offender registry. In essence, these crimes carry with them some very heavy punishments.
Charged with Sexting Minors in Wisconsin?
If you’ve been charged with any of the crimes reviewed above, you’ve got a very serious legal battle ahead of you. Sexting charges such as these can not only result in fines and jail time, but can put you on the sex offender registry as well.
In order to give yourself the best possible chance in court, you’re going to need an experienced legal defense. Live in the Milwaukee area? If so, we here at Hartley Pecora Law Offices are that legal defense.
Contact us today for a free consultation!