Selfies Can Qualify as Child Pornography
Smartphones have made instant communication a reality – and sending pictures back and forth has never been easier. Enter the selfie – those pictures people (often young people) snap of themselves, post, otherwise share and quickly forget. The fact is that there are lots and lots of selfies out there. Sometimes, they reach the level of child pornography, which is a serious crime with severe consequences.
Child Pornography in Texas
In the State of Texas, child pornography is the criminal offense of knowingly or purposefully possessing a visual depiction of anyone who is not yet 18 years old (at the time the picture was taken) engaging in sexual conduct. Anyone who distributes or receives such images can face child pornography charges.
Sexually Explicit Material Involving a Minor – Sent by a Minor
In general, it is illegal to transmit material featuring minors that are sexually explicit. Even juveniles who make and disseminate such content – of themselves or anyone else – can be charged. Consider the following:
A person who is 17 years old or younger who sends sexually explicit pictures or videos of himself or herself – or of any other minor – to anyone who is at least two years older (and whom the sender is not dating) can face criminal charges.
It is a Class C Misdemeanor (which comes with a fine of up to $500) for a minor to disseminate selfies that depict sexual conduct or to possess or disseminate sexually explicit pictures or videos of another minor.
If the dissemination of the sexually explicit material was intended to harass, offend, intimidate, or abuse someone else, the charge rises to a Class B misdemeanor, which comes with up to 180 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.
It is not illegal for two minors dating each other (and are within two years in age) to share sexually explicit images between themselves (and only between themselves).
The Photos Themselves
Content that rises to the sexually explicit level can depict an actual sexual act, but the law does not stop there. The lewd exhibition of the genitals or female breasts is enough, and this puts many selfies firmly in this category. When adults possess such images, it can lead to felony charges that come equipped with severe penalties and social consequences.
It Is Time to Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney
Selfies seem innocent enough, but when a selfie is of a minor and deemed sexually explicit by the law, it can lead to serious legal charges. If you or your teenager is facing charges related to child pornography, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is an experienced criminal defense attorney who is committed to advocating on behalf of your legal rights. We are here for you, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.