Sexting is on the rise in the U.S, and with social media and connected devices, more and more teenagers are engaging in this practice. But what exactly is sexting — and what circumstances make it a crime in Arizona? Our sex crimes law firm explains the Arizona statute concerning teen sexting and possible penalties that may result from unlawful interactions.
What Is ‘Sexting’ and Is It Legal in Arizona?
Sexting is the practice of sending or exchanging sexually explicit photos, videos or messages through a mobile device. The material may be sent via text, chat, or social media. It is legal for adults over the age of 18 to engage in sexting with other adults.
The state of Arizona has specific laws addressing sexting between minors and between an adult and a minor. According to the statute, both situations are unlawful and may result in a sex crime charge. Two minors may not exchange sexually explicit material even if they are in a consensual relationship. If a teenager is sending an adult explicit materials and photos (even if it is done in a willful and consensual way), it may also be considered a crime.
Can Teenagers End up in Jail for Sexting?
A minor who engages in sexting with another minor may end up dealing with the juvenile justice system in Arizona. If the teenager is engaging in sexting with only one other person, he or she may be charged with a petty offense and may have to pay a fine for the illegal use of a communication device.
Charges can be more serious if the minor is found to be engaging in sexting and sending the explicit material to more than one person. This could be considered a Class 3 misdemeanor, which may result in fines as well as jail time. Repeat offenders may be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor.
What Are the Penalties for an Adult Sexting a Minor in Arizona?
An adult exchanging explicit texts with a minor could be charged with child pornography — a Class 2 felony that not only includes fines and jail time but will also require the adult to register as a sex offender. Sexting someone younger than 15 is a dangerous crime against a child.
If you are facing sex crime charges for sexting, working with a sex crimes attorney is fundamental to keep your charges from escalating. Reach out to the Naegle Law Firm, PLC, at (480) 378-9000 and request a free consultation to see how we can help.