Sexting has become so common among teens and many do not realize they are breaking the law or that they can face serious consequences for their actions. In fact, under Wisconsin law teens could potentially face child pornography charges for sending or receiving nude photos on their electronic devices.
Wisconsin Communities Try to Stop the Epidemic of Teen Sexting
In an effort to stem the epidemic of sexting in their schools, the village of Pewaukee in Waukesha County recently passed a new ordinance that will impose fines on minors who are caught sexting – sending a strong message that sexting is prohibited and can result in serious consequences. The ordinance will allow hundreds of dollars to be levied against kids sending nude photos on their smart phones and computers, perhaps serving as a wake-up call to families and their teens that sexting can lead to entanglements under the law.
Teen Sexting and Wisconsin Child Pornography Statutes
Reliance on child pornography statutes for the sending or receiving of sexually explicit messages among teens in Wisconsin can create complex legal issues when minors are involved. Even the consensual sharing of nude photos between an 18-year-old and his or her 17-year-old (or younger) girlfriend or boyfriend may be skewed as sexual exploitation of a minor, charged under felony child pornography laws.
Teens facing child pornography charges may be heard in juvenile court (rather than the adult criminal justice system), where judges have a wider discretion in the kinds of penalties they impose. However, even in juvenile court, a conviction for possessing or viewing child pornography may include fines of up to $10,000, over three years in custody, or both. If charged as an adult, those possessing or viewing child pornography (including sext messages) may face child pornography charges with penalties in the tens of thousands of dollars and years to decades in prison.
Contact an Experienced Waukesha Juvenile Defense Lawyer
Sexting among teenagers is common and could result in life changing serious consequences. If your family member is facing Wisconsin sex crimes charges, it is important to secure immediate legal representation. Attorney Andrew C. Ladd’s decades of experience with Wisconsin juvenile criminal defense matters and his in-depth understanding of the workings of the Wisconsin courts gives his clients a unique advantage for good results. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Waukesha criminal law attorney regarding child pornography charges or an arrest for any juvenile criminal offense, schedule a free consultation with Attorney Andrew C. Ladd through our confidential contact us form or by phone at 262-542-3900.