Accused of Sexting a Minor?
Call Our Houston Sex Crime Attorney for Help
Sexting has been the topic of a significant number of recent news reports.
Sexting involves the sending of sexually explicit pictures and/or messages
by use of a cellphone or other device. When sexting involves a minor,
the minor who sends or receives the messages may be subject to criminal
penalties under Texas law.
While Texas law does not specifically mention sexting by name, there are
several Texas statutes that criminalize such behavior. What is so shocking
about Texas sexting laws is that teenagers are often at risk of significant
criminal penalties under very suspect situations.
Consider the following:
- Your teenage daughter could be arrested for sending a nude or semi-nude
picture of herself to her boyfriend
- Your teenage son could be charged with a crime if his cell phone contains
nude or semi nude pictures that his girlfriend sent to him
- Your teenage son or daughter could be charged with a crime simply because
they forwarded nude pictures to a friend, even though your son or daughter
played no role in actually taking the picture
If you or your child has been arrested for sexting, do not take the charges
lightly. While it may seem like a simple matter to you, the consequences
imposed by the criminal justice system could be severe. For a strong and
aggressive defense, contact The Law Offices of Jed Silverman in Houston,
Richmond or Alvin, Texas.
Texas Penal Code Sec. 33.021: Online Solicitation of a Minor
Sec. 33.021. ONLINE SOLICITATION OF A MINOR:
(b) A person who is 17 years of age or older commits an offense if, with
the intent to commit an offense listed in Article 62.001(5)(A), (B), or
(K), Code of Criminal Procedure, the person, over the Internet, by electronic
mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or
through a commercial online service, intentionally: (1) communicates in
a sexually explicit manner with a minor; or (2) distributes sexually explicit
material to a minor. (c) A person commits an offense if the person, over
the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message
service or system, or through a commercial online service, knowingly solicits
a minor to meet another person, including the actor, with the intent that
the minor will engage in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate
sexual intercourse with the actor or another person.
Sexting per Sec. 33.021 is a Felony in Texas
Online solicitation of a minor, which includes sending sexually explicit
material via text messaging, is a
felony of the third degree in the state of Texas. It can even be enhanced to
a felony of the second degree if the minor depicted is under the age of
14. A conviction of a second-degree felony can warrant imprisonment “for
any term of not more than 20 years or less than 2 years.” Additionally,
the court can impose a fine of up to $10,000. Online solicitation of a
minor is also a reportable conviction or adjudication, which means a conviction
can warrant sex offender registration.
Sexting Under Sec. 43.261 “Electronic Transmission of Certain Visual
Material Depicting a Minor”
According to Sec. 43.261 of the Texas Penal Code, it is a crime to intentionally or knowingly, by electronic means, promote
or possess visual material depicting sexual conduct to another minor.
Texas Senate Bill 407 (SB 407) was passed in 2011 and altered the consequences for sexting. Prior to
this bill, a conviction could be counted as a felony and warrant up to
10 years of sex offender registration. Now, a charge for violating 43.261
of the Texas Penal Code could be a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor. A Class
C misdemeanor could warrant a fine of $500, Class B misdemeanor could
warrant a fine up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail, and a Class A misdemeanor
could warrant up to a $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail.
Contact a Sex Crime Defense Lawyer in Houston Today
With offices in Houston, Richmond, and Alvin, we serve clients throughout
Texas and across the nation.
schedule a free consultation with Texas sex crimes defense lawyer Jed Silverman, call (713) 597-2221.