Can Your Teenager Get Arrested for Texting Nudes in Florida?
While sending naked pictures of oneself wasn’t something that the parents of teens ever had to worry about when they themselves were growing up, today, sending naked pictures–often accompanied by sexual speech–is common. In fact, “sexting” is so common that more than eight out of 10 people surveyed online admitted to sexting in the prior year, according to data published by the American Psychological Association (APA).
But while one teen sending a naked picture of themselves to another may seem fairly innocuous to the teen, and even considered one form of modern day flirting, sexting is actually against the law in Florida. This means that a teen who otherwise has no criminal background, and may even be a top student and model citizen, could face criminal charges for sending a naked picture in some cases. Here’s what you need to know–
The state of Florida defines the act of sexting by a minor as using a computer or other electronic device to knowingly send (to another minor) a photo or video depicting nudity and that is harmful to minors (defined as any depiction of nudity that predominantly appeals to a “prurient” or morbid interest, “is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community,” or is without literary, artistic, scientific, or political value), or is in possession of a nude photograph of another which was transmitted electronically. A person will not be convicted of sexting in regards to the latter (possession of a nude photo) if they did not solicit the photo and reported receipt of the photo to the appropriate party, such as a school enforcement official or parent.
Sexting is a very serious offense. For those who are first-time offenders, however, there are no criminal penalties. Instead, the offense is a noncriminal violation, and the offending minor must sign a citation and promise to appear before the juvenile court or complete community service work and pay a small civil penalty fine.
In the event that the minor in question has already committed a noncriminal sexting violation in the past, then the act of sexting is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor offense. A third offense is penalized as a felony of the third degree.
For juveniles who face misdemeanor or felony charges, the penalties are much more severe than just having to pay a small fine and do community service. Instead, a teen may have to spend time in juvenile detention, pay a large fine, and even be subject to a probationary period.
If your teen has been charged with sexting in Florida, you need an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney on your side. At the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., we understand that seeing your child be arrested or questioned for a sexting offense can be scary, and we know that being accused of sexting can have a serious effect on a teen’s reputation, opportunities, and future.
For legal counsel that you can trust, do not wait to call our law firm. You can reach us online or by phone today to start the process of building a defense now.