What Are the Penalties for Sexting With a Minor in New Jersey?

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Sexting is the act of sending or receiving nude or sexually explicit images or messages through electronic devices, such as cell phones or computers. If you’re accused of sexting with a minor, you’re up against a wide range of penalties, and you should not proceed without skilled legal representation in your corner. Read on and reach out to our firm to learn more about the potential penalties for sexting with a minor in New Jersey and how a seasoned New Jersey sex crimes attorney from the Law Office of Boyd & Squitieri can help if you are currently facing this charge. Here are some of the questions you may have:

How does New Jersey law define sexting with a minor?

New Jersey law clearly states that it is illegal to create, possess, or distribute child pornography in any fashion. Under New Jersey law, child pornography is defined as any image or video that depicts a child under the age of 18 engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in a state of nudity. In New Jersey, a “state of nudity” is defined as the child’s genitals, breasts, or buttocks being exposed.

What are the consequences of this crime?

If you are at least 18 years old and you are allegedly caught sexting with a minor (someone who is under 18 years of age), you can be charged with child pornography offenses under New Jersey law. Depending on the circumstances, you could face up to 20 years of incarceration and a potential $200,000 fine. You could also be required to register as a sex offender for life under Megan’s Law. This can permanently damage your reputation and ability to live a full life. Even minors sexting with other minors can face child pornography charges. That said, fortunately, New Jersey does have a diversion program that may allow certain minors to avoid criminal prosecution and instead participate in an education or counseling program. However, you should note that this program is only available for first-time offenders who meet certain criteria, including the following:

  • The image was voluntarily taken by the minor depicted in the image
  • The image was not shared with anyone other than the person who received it
  • The image was not used for any illegal purpose
  • The person who received the image did not distribute it to anyone else
  • The person who received the image deleted it upon request of the person who sent it
  • The person who sent or received the image was not more than four years older or younger than the other person

If you successfully complete the diversion program, your charges will be dismissed and your record will be expunged. However, if you fail to comply with the program requirements, you will likely face prosecution, and, potentially, conviction. The bottom line is that no one should face sexting charges of any kind without a competent attorney in their corner. The Law Office of Boyd & Squitieri is dedicated to protecting your future and freedom. Contact us today so you can tell us your story and so we can get started working on your case.