Sexting in Florida is a serious crime when lack of consent or, especially, a minor is involved. This interaction between an adult and a minor is seen as a sex offense, leading to serious prosecution charges.
Two minors sexting is also an offense. If you are a parent or guardian, it is crucial that you educate your children on this subject to avoid them getting in trouble with the law. Florida sexting laws are some of the strictest country-wide, so if your teenager is facing sexting charges, get in touch with a lawyer at Mike G Law immediately.
In this guide, we will break down the legal details of sexting in further detail to help you understand Florida Sexting laws.
What is Sexting?
The word “sexting” is a portmanteau of “sex” and “texting.” Phones have become integral to the way we communicate over the last decade. Sexting has become a popular method of flirting and sexually communicating through online media. It may involve sending sexually explicit photos or videos, sending sexual texts, voice notes, or any other type of sexual media.
However, this can create issues particularly around the subject of consent. For example, if an adult sends a sexual image to another adult, it is not always guaranteed to be a consensual exchange from both sides. Furthermore, once an individual is in possession of sexual content from another adult, there is always the possibility that it ends up being spread without the subject’s consent.
When is Sexting a Crime?
While sexting between adults is legal in Florida; the exchange of explicit content between minors is not. If an adult sexts a minor, even if they did not know they were underage, this can become an incident of child pornography. The adult may then be charged—and charges regarding child pornography or pedophilia are serious, and may lead to the acquisition of sex offender status.
However, the particular details of the situation will come into play with the details of Florida law surrounding sexting.
Sexting Between Two Adults
It is currently legal for two adults to sext in Florida. While this is true, you must take care that the process is completely consensual and that the people involved are in a safe and trustworthy relationship.
You must also make sure that the person you are texting is not a minor. Even if your partner lies about their age, as an adult you will be held responsible for any explicit images shared. Protect yourself by being absolutely concrete on your knowledge that the relationship is between two adults before proceeding.
Finally, do not further share any images that are sent to you with other parties, and report any unwarranted images.
Sexting Between a Minor and an Adult
Sexting between a minor and an adult is illegal, and the adult will find themselves feeling the full force of the law for this transgression. But, it can be done accidentally. Mistakenly sexting a minor will not protect you under the Florida Sexting Law. You will need the expertise of experienced and knowledgeable lawyers to fight a complicated case like this.
Sexting Between Two Minors
Many individuals are unaware of this, but the law is very clear in Florida: sexting between two minors is a criminal offense. Some argue that teenagers do not really know what they are doing, or that the law should not be so severe. However, Florida sexting laws are in place to protect minors from sharing and receiving explicit material which may cause long-term trauma and damage to their mental and physical health.
Who Can Be Charged and What’s the Punishment?
Sexting between a minor and an adult is a serious offense that is likely to change the life of the adult involved. Punishment could involve jail or prison time, and becoming registered as a sex offender, even when a dreadful mistake has occurred. So, it is imperative that they receive legal advice from a quality attorney immediately.
Does the same hold true for minors? There is debate that Florida sexting laws are too severe when two minors are involved. Typically, sexting between two minors does not immediately lead to criminal charges, though this eventuality is always possible.
The step by step charges likely to be held against minors for texting are:
- If a juvenile receives a first-time sexting violation they are likely to accept a citation promising to appear before a juvenile court. Or, in place of this, 30 days after citation they must complete 8 hours of community service work, take part in a cyber-safety program, and pay a $60 fine.
- If they fail to comply with these penalties the court may add further sanctions, which, depending on age, might include suspending or withholding their driver’s license for 30 days.
- If sexting violations are followed by first, second, and third-degree offenses, punishments can become incredibly severe, including hefty fines and incarceration.
Typical Defenses if Charged With a Crime
When an individual is charged with a sexting crime, hiring a lawyer to defend against the charges is crucial. Even if they cannot get the charges waived, there is the possibility of a lesser sentence. Through an attorney, the defendant may have the opportunity to explain their case regarding their side in the matter.
A qualified attorney will also know how to ask the right questions and develop a strong defense. For example, a minor may not be charged if they did not ask to see the explicit material or took steps to report the material, whether it was to family, law enforcement, or a school official.
Florida Sexting Law: Contact an Attorney Today
If you or someone you love is being charged with a Florida sexting law crime, get in touch with a team of aggressive, experienced attorneys today. Our team at Mike G Law are prepared to fight for your rights.