Electronic Transmission of Certain Visual Material Depicting Minor in Texas (Juvenile “Sexting”)
You can be charged with “Juvenile Sexting” or Electronic Transmission of Certain Visual Material Depicting Minor in Texas if:
- You are a minor and electronically send to another minor material showing a minor engaging in sexual conduct, OR
- possess material showing another minor engaging in sexual conduct (if you produced the material or know that another minor produced the material)
If you are the sender than this is a Class C misdemeanor (see below). If it is alleged that you sent the material to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another, than it is a Class B misdemeanor. It is also a Class B misdemeanor if you have been convicted of this before.
If you simply possess the material than it is a Class C misdemeanor. The charge can be enhanced to a Class B misdemeanor of you have a prior conviction for this same type of case. And it can be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor if you have at least 2 prior convictions.
It is an affirmative defense if:
- The material depicted a minor who is not more than 2 years older or 2 years younger than the accused (and whom the actor had a dating relationship with at the time of the offense), OR who was married to the accused.
- The material was promoted or received only to or from the accused and the other minor
If you simply possess it is a defense that you:
- Did not produce or solicit the material, AND
- Possessed it only after receiving it from another minor, AND
- Destroyed it within a reasonable time after receiving it from the other minor
Range of Punishments for This Particular Type of Case:
- Class C Misdemeanor – The max punishment is a fine of up to $500
- Class B Misdemeanor – The range of punishment is from 1 -180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000
- Class A Misdemeanor – The range of punishment is from 1 – 365 days in jail and a fine of up to $4,000
What to do if you or your child is charged with Juvenile “Sexting”
With children younger and younger getting smart phones in their hand every year, and technology making electronic intimacy easier, these cases are popping up more and more.
Typically, this charge is not for young couples who exchange explicit photos. More often then not individuals are charged when they are maliciously sending some sort of media (picture, video, etc) of someone (to classmates or peers) to embarrass them, or bully them.
This happens a lot in high schools, and even some junior highs now. Not only can it land you in legal trouble, but could also cause you to be suspended, referred to an alternative school, or even expelled.