Can “Sexting” Lead to Child Pornography Charges in Texas?
There is no doubt about the tremendous influence smartphones have on our everyday lives. The use of text messaging has especially skyrocketed in recent decades. Research shows that over 15 million texts are sent every minute, and this number is expected to continue to increase. The use of text messages to send sexually explicit photographs and messages has been nicknamed “sexting.” Although it may seem harmless, sexting can sometimes lead to child pornography charges and other criminal charges. If you have been accused of creating, distributing, or possessing child pornography, speak to a Texas criminal defense attorney right away so you can start building a solid defense strategy.
Sexually Explicit Photos Between Minors May Be Illegal in Some Situations
Although many parents may not realize it, teenagers commonly send nude photographs of themselves to their peers. They may assume that these images do not constitute child pornography because the images are not being sent to an adult. However, under Texas law, it is illegal for anyone, including minors, to transmit any images or videos depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct. In some cases, sexting between minors can be considered a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. The law does provide defenses for those who receive unsolicited photos and for minors who are in a dating relationship, who are within two years of age of each other, and who share the images privately.
Adults Who Possess Child Pornography Can Face a Felony Conviction
If an adult receives a text message containing sexually explicit photographs or videos of a minor, he or she can be prosecuted under Texas child pornography laws. Knowingly possessing or accessing media depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct is a felony criminal offense in Texas. A first offense is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years of incarceration. A second offense is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. A third or subsequent offense can be punished by a staggering 99 years behind bars. If a person possesses six or more copies of a piece of media depicting a child engaged in sexual conduct, he or she can be charged with promotion of child pornography. This offense is punished even more harshly than mere possession. In addition to prosecution under Texas law, a person who possesses or promotes child pornography may face federal charges.
Contact a Collin County Child Pornography Defense Lawyer
Being convicted of possession or promotion of child pornography can result in years or decades behind bars, as well as a lifetime of negative stigma. At The Crowder Law Firm P.C., we understand that there are two sides to every story. We provide aggressive legal advocacy and representation for individuals charged with a wide range of crimes against children. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with our tenacious Plano, Texas criminal defense attorneys. To learn how we can help clear your record and keep your reputation intact, call us today at 214-303-9600.