Atlanta Sexting with a Minor Lawyer

Defending Against Sexting with a Minor Allegations

With the ease of communication nowadays, you face a slippery slope. What started off as a casual, friendly chat could venture into romantic or sexual territory.

Contact Brody Law Firm   |   (404) 577-9557

If both participants are two consenting adults, this is not a problem. But if one or both of the participants are minors, then the conversation could become unlawful if it becomes sexually explicit. Sexting, while very common, can cross a line, lead to serious accusations, and even potential criminal charges, requiring an experienced attorney

With an extensive background in internet stings in Georgia and as leaders in the field of defending against sexual allegations, if you are under investigation because of sexting, call (404) 577-9557 today to set up a consultation.

Sexting Laws in GA

“Sexting,” is the practice of sending sexually suggestive or explicit messages, photos, and videos. Between adults, this practice is entirely lawful. Consenting adults are free to engage in whatever sexual and intimate practices they choose. However, sexting becomes illegal when it involves a minor.

When a minor is involved in sexting, whether that minor sent or received nude photos or explicit messages, consent is not a factor. An adult accused of a sexting-related crime cannot defend themselves by saying the minor consented to the activity.

Even if this is true, Georgia’s age of consent is 16 years old. Any minor who is 15 years or younger is not legally capable of giving consent to sexual activity. And under some Georgia sex crime laws, certain unlawful activity with a minor under 18 years old can lead to charges as well.

Sexual Exploitation of Children

The creation, possession, and distribution of child pornography is prohibited pursuant to O.C.G.A. §16-12-100, Georgia’s sexual exploitation of children statute.

It is also illegal for anyone to knowingly employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any minor to engage in or help anyone else engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual medium depicting such conduct. In other words, it is illegal to text a minor and induce that minor to send you pictures or videos of themselves nude or performing sexually explicit conduct.

It is unlawful for anyone to knowingly possess or control any material that depicts a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. This means if you receive nude photos or sexually suggestive or explicit videos from a minor, and you keep those photos of videos on your phone or other device, you are illegally in possession of child pornography, even if you did not request or consent to receiving such materials.

It also is unlawful for anyone to knowingly create, reproduce, publish, promote, sell, distribute, give, exhibit, or possess with the intent to sell or distribute any visual medium that depicts a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Therefore, you can face charges for sending or showing any sexually explicit videos of photos of a minor to anyone else.

Electronically Furnishing Obscene Material to Minors

O.C.G.A §16-12-100.1 makes it is unlawful to knowingly electronically furnish a minor with any picture, photo, drawing, or other visual representation, or any written or aural matter depicting or describing sexually explicit nudity, sexual conduct, or sadomasochistic abuse that is harmful to minors.

The offensive material must not be an incidental part of a nonoffending whole. The material must not have any literary, artist, political, or scientific value.

Computer Exploitation

O.C.G.A §16-12-100.2 is the Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007.

This law makes it unlawful to intentionally or willfully use any computer wireless or internet service to seduce, lure, entice, or try to seduce, solicit, or entice a child to commit any illegal act by, with, or against a child, such as sodomy, aggravated sodomy, child molestation, aggravated child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, public indecency, or any other sexual offense against a child.

It also is illegal to have contact with a minor through a computer wireless or internet service that involves any explicit verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexually explicit nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse, and which is intended to arouse or satisfy either party’s sexual desires.

Federal Sexting Laws

An adult sexting with a minor or two minors sexting each other can be illegal under federal law as well. There is not a specific law that prohibits sexting. However, the conduct may be unlawful under one or several federal laws, including child pornography (18 U.S.C. §§2251, 2252, 2252A) as well as the the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003 (18 U.S.C. § 1466A(a)(1)).

Adults Sexting with Minors

There are several sexting laws or sex offense laws that encompass unlawful electronic communications and sex acts with children. These laws can lead to misdemeanor or felony sex crime charges no matter who instigated the sexually suggestive or explicit conversation or who is depicted in sexually suggestive or explicit images. If a minor is shown nude or involved in sexual conduct, you may face charges under O.C.G.A. §16-12-100. If you or another adult is shown as nude or engaged in sexual conduct, the charges may arise under O.C.G.A §16-12-100.1.

Teens Sexting with Teens

Teens may believe they can sext with one another lawfully. However, this is not necessarily true. If one or both of the teens involved send nude or sexually explicit photos of videos, then they have just become involved with child pornography.

The creation, delivery, acceptance, and possession of images depicting minors in sexual situations is illegal, even if the creator, sender, or recipient is the minor depicted. It also may not matter that both minors involved consented to the creation, delivery, and receipt of such materials.

However, teens may not face charges as harsh as an adult sexting with a minor would. Many of Georgia’s child sex offense laws have what is known as a Romeo and Juliet provision. Under this exception, if the individuals involved are of certain ages and within four years of each other, then the individual charged with a crime faces a misdemeanor offense.

Typically, the alleged victim must be at least 14 years old and the defendant must be 18 years or younger as well as less than four years older than the victim.

Sexting Defenses

There are several potential defenses against sexting-related charges. The appropriate defense depends on which law you are charged under and the specific facts of the case. An experienced sexting with a minor lawyer can utilize a variety of defenses, including:

  • Romeo & Juliet Provisions: By establishing that the actor and alleged victim were within the ages defined in the statute, we have had charges reduced from felonies to misdemeanors.
  • Lack of Sexually Explicit Materials: Conversations between adults and minors can be inappropriate without being illegal. We carefully review all communications between the adult and minor in question. We may utilize a computer forensic expert to retrieve previously deleted communications. We may be able to establish that these communications lacked any sexually explicit conversations, photos, or videos, thereby not breaking the law.
  • Third Party Use of a Device: Just because unlawful material is found on your device does not mean you broke the law. Another person may have briefly used your computer, cell phone, tablet, or other device to send or receive unlawful materials.

How We’ve Helped Clients Accused of Illegal Sexting

We have helped many teens, college students, and adults who faced sexting-related charges.

For example, our client was a 21-year-old who met a girl online using a social networking app called Skout. The girl was representing herself as being 25 years old. They chatted at first, and then traded naked pictures. As soon as she sent photos, our client realized that she was a minor and stopped having any contact with her.

The young girl’s parents discovered the pictures and contacted the police who then obtained a search warrant and seized our client’s computers and phones. We were able to show that our client had no sexual interest in children and were able to have the case dismissed before our client was ever arrested. (Read More)

Read more on Our Results page about how we have successfully defended other clients accused of sexting-related offenses.

GeorgiaTrend Legal Elite Super Lawers National Trial Lawyers Top 100 National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys AVVO 10.0 Superb Rating, Criminal Defense AVVO Clients' Choice Award, Criminal Defense - 2015