New Haven Sexting Lawyer
Being criminally charged for “sexting” can alter the course of a young person’s life at a moment’s notice, regardless of whether they have any prior criminal or juvenile record and even if this particular allegation does not end with a conviction or adjudication of guilt. No matter what circumstances led to you or your child facing allegations like this, working closely with a seasoned New Haven sexting lawyer is vital to enforcing your rights in the short term and protecting your best interests in the long term.
What Consequences Could a Sexting Charge Have?
Adults who consensually exchange sexually explicit images of themselves with each other over a phone or computer network have not broken the law in Connecticut and cannot be prosecuted for criminal “sexting.” However, if teenagers under the age of 18 engage in this sort of behavior with each other, they have technically participated in the creation and distribution of child pornography, which—if done by adults—is treated as a serious felony offense punishable by fines of thousands of dollars and potentially decades in state prison.
Fortunately, the Connecticut Penal Code, as it is currently written, acknowledges that there is a big difference between teenagers making poor choices with each other and adults knowingly possessing and distributing child porn. As a result, “sexting” between minors is defined separately from other child pornography offenses as “Possessing or Transmitting Child Pornography by Minor” under Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 53a-196h, which goes on to categorize this offense as a Class A misdemeanor rather than a felony.
On top of that, sexting charges are usually handled in juvenile court rather than adult criminal court, so instead of the maximum one-year jail term and $2,000 in fines usually associated with Class A misdemeanors, teenagers “adjudicated guilty” of sexting may face much lesser penalties like time in juvenile detention, smaller fines, probation, or just a warning not to engage in this kind of behavior again. Even these less severe sanctions can still have a negative impact on a young person’s professional and educational prospects, though, so it is still worth discussing possible defense strategies with a New Haven sexting defense attorney.
Contesting Sexting Allegations
Even though “sexting” is treated differently from other child pornography possession offenses, it still qualifies as one when it comes to the affirmative defenses outlined in C.G.S. § 53a-196g. This means it can sometimes be a valid defense strategy to establish that someone charged with sexting did not knowingly possess or request the images in question, never possessed more than two such images, and immediately deleted or destroyed the images or notified law enforcement once they became aware of them.
Outside of this scenario, contesting sexting charges typically revolves around proving that one or more core elements of the offense as defined in the Penal Code were not present—for example, the sender did not voluntarily send an explicit image of themselves to someone else, or the recipient did not actually receive images that qualify as child pornography. A sexting lawyer in New Haven can discuss these and other possible approaches to a specific accusation during an initial confidential consultation.
Get in Touch With a New Haven Sexting Attorney Today
While “sexting” between minors is generally not prosecuted as harshly as all other criminal offenses involving child pornography, being charged with the former offense is still a very serious matter that warrants a robust defense strategy. Guidance from a skilled New Haven sexting lawyer can be key not just to constructing that strategy, but also to executing it effectively enough to avoid life-changing legal consequences. Call the Law Offices of Mark Sherman today to discuss your options, and click here to read what past clients say about working with our team.