From Selfies to Sexting

From Selfie to Sexting

In Minnesota, it is a crime to create, possess, and distribute child porn.  If evidence suggests that an individual possesses or distributes sexually illicit photos of a minor, criminal charges will likely ensue.  Those convicted of sex crimes often face prison time, heavy fines, and the possibility that he or she will be required to register as a sex offender.  Further, if individuals engage in sexting (sending messages and/or photos of a sexual nature), the act must be between two consenting adults to be deemed legal.  If one party does not want her photos taken or shared, or if the individual is a minor, the act is illegal. Below is a discussion regarding child pornography and sexting in Minnesota.

Penalties of a Child Pornography Charge

Any form of image that depicts a child under the age of 17 in some sexually explicit manner may be considered to be child pornography in the State of Minnesota.  The child need not be engaged in actual sexual activity for an image to be deemed child pornography so long as a sexual suggestion is evident.  If a person creates child pornography, he may be punished by up to 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or even both.  Creation of child pornography is an enhanceable crime, meaning that a subsequent conviction could cost up to $40,000.  Possession of child pornography, on the other hand, may be punishable by up to five years, a $5,000 fine, or both.  Further, a subsequent offense may result in 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  Finally, distributing child pornography may result in up to seven years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.  If convicted of a subsequent offense, a person may be sentenced to 15 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Sexting

Sexting is the creation and transmission of sexually explicit pictures via electronic means to another party.  While many states across the country have enacted specific laws against sexting, there are no Minnesota laws that prohibit the act of sexting between two consenting adults.  Similar to the act of sex itself, sexting must occur between two consenting adults in order to be deemed legal in Minnesota.  On the other hand, if an individual does not want his or her picture taken, shared, or does not want to receive sexually explicit pictures, the sending individual may have committed a crime.

Further, even if both parties appear to consent, the sexting is illegal if one of the parties is a minor.  This is because minors cannot legally give consent in the state of Minnesota, so even if a minor is the one sending sexually explicit photos, possession of such photos by another is a crime. Thus, an individual who creates, distributes, or possesses a sexually explicit photo of a minor (even if it is a photo of themselves), could face the consequences of involvement in child pornography as discussed above.  If convicted of such crimes, the perpetrator, even if a minor, will likely be required to register as a sex offender in the state of Minnesota.

Sexting and child pornography charges are serious matters in the state of Minnesota.  If you or someone you know is charged with a sexting or child pornography crime, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Thomas Hagen

thomas hagen

Partner

Thomas Hagen has built his practice on personal service and attention to detail. Practicing exclusively in criminal defense and workers’ compensation, Mr. Hagen has successfully defended clients against allegations of sexual assault, DUI and DWI, and serious drug crimes.
Tom has been named a Rising Star by Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine since every year since 2012. This prestigious award is limited to no more than 2.5% lawyers under the age of 40 in the State of Minnesota.

Tom is a member of numerous professional associations including the American Bar Association, Minnesota State Bar and Minnesota Association for Justice. Having handled many high-profile cases, he has been interviewed by the New York Times, USA Today, as well as the Minneapolis Star Tribune. 

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