Accused of Sexting a Minor in Houston?
Call Our Houston Sexting Defense 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.
What is the Penal Code for Sexting in Texas?
Texas Penal Code Sec. 33.021: Online Solicitation of a Minor
It is essential to understand the crime that you are being charged with
and the criminal proceedings to follow. The charge of "sexting"
in the state of Texas is covered under Sex. 33.021 of the Texas Penal
Code. The alleged offender is the individual over the age of 17 years
of age who, over the Internet, by electronic mail, or text message, or
another electronic messaage system, communicates with a minor sexually
or distributes sexually explicit material.
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.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Sexting Laws in Houston?
It is important to know a wide range of details about your case in order
to defend against your charges. One factor is whether the statute of limitations
has expired for the alleged crime. The statute of limitations is essentially
a restriction on how long an individual or entity can take to bring forth
legal action regarding a matter.
Some Texas sex crimes carry a 10 year statute of limitations period. This
does not, however, pertain to felony sexual assault charges. We encourage
you to speak with a Houston sex crime defense attorney for guidance determining
whether the charges against you currently apply.
Contact a Sexting 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 Houston sexting defense lawyer Jed Silverman, call (713) 597-2221.