At Roberts Law Group, PLLC, our experienced criminal defense attorneys know that anyone with a smartphone has endless forms of communication at their fingertips.
When they use these devices to send sexually explicit messages, images, or videos via text messages or other mobile apps, the term to identify this behavior is called sexting.
Our North Carolina criminal defense lawyers also know that while consensual sexting between adults is legal in North Carolina, the instant a minor is involved, sexting becomes a crime that carries serious consequences.
Here is what both adults and teenagers need to know about the legal parameters involving sexting in North Carolina.
Does North Carolina Have a Sexting Law?
North Carolina does not have a specific sexting law.
However, sexting may fall under child pornography or revenge porn statutes that can lead to significant legal punishments.
First, no matter where you are in North Carolina, sending photos or videos of minors engaged in a sexual act is considered child pornography.
It is also a crime for an adult to sext with a minor, with or without his or her consent.
Sexting between minors no matter how willing the participants is also a crime, which can lead to both being charged with child pornography.
What are the Penalties for Sexting in North Carolina?
The penalties for child pornography in North Carolina are severe — even for first-time offenders.
- First-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, which can include the production of child pornography, is a Class C felony that carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison.
- Second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, which can include copying or distributing child pornography, is a Class E felony that carries a sentence of two to three years in prison.
- Third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, which can include possession of child pornography, is a Class H felony that carries a sentence of four to eight months in prison.
These charges usually also carry penalties for fines, probation, and the requirement to register as a sex offender.
When Does Sexting Become Punishable Under Revenge Porn Statutes in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, our legislators have taken action to pursue criminal charges against adults who use sexually explicit images of another person to intimidate, harass, or humiliate them.
Called the Revenge Porn statute, adults who engage in this behavior can be charged with a Class H felony.
For minors, sending sexually explicit images of another person to intimidate, harass, or humiliate them is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
It is always illegal to sext images to a minor, which is also a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 120 days of jail time.
If the material is deemed to be obscene, the adult who sends sexts to a minor younger than 16 faces a Class I felony, punishable by three to 12 months in prison.
Have You Been Charged With Sexting or Revenge Porn in North Carolina?
Contact our skilled sex crimes defense attorneys in Raleigh at the Roberts Law Group today by calling (919) 838-6643 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can empower you to take a stand and pursue real results for your unique legal circumstances.