While the laws surrounding receiving nude images from a minor are very clear and well-known, the laws around sending nude or explicit images to a minor are slightly less known and far less clear. If you find yourself in this position, it is very important that you speak to a knowledgeable and experienced attorney as soon as possible and before you speak to any law enforcement or authorities. If you find yourself in this kind of position, call the criminal defense team at Jetton and Meredith today!
First and foremost, sending a nude image to a minor will likely end with you being charged with the felony crime of Indecent Liberties with a Minor. Someone is guilty of this charge if they willfully take an indecent liberty or if they commit or attempt to commit a lewd act with a minor for the purpose of sexual gratification. While this language is somewhat broad, it can often be broken down into the following elements:
1. There must be a minor, or someone under the age of 16 for the purposes of this statute.
2. The act must be done for the purpose of sexual gratification or the filling of sexual desire.
3. Finally, there must be an indecent liberty or a lewd or lascivious act committed or attempted by the adult.
But what does an indecent liberty or a lewd or lascivious act mean?
A look at case law and the legislative commentary shines a light on this. Generally, it means anything that is sexual in nature, including but not limited to, sexual touching, the sharing of explicit images or text, or other actions that are sexual in nature.
If you are convicted of the crime of Indecent Liberties with a Minor, there are two very severe prongs of the punishment that are extremely serious. First, this is a class F felony for which the judge can sentence you to active time in prison. Second, a conviction of indecent liberties requires registration on the sex offender registry for at least 10 years. This affects where you can live, where you can go, who you can work with, or work for, and other vitally important aspects of one’s life.
The next thing that will be examined is the conversation that surrounds the nude images that you sent. If your language is taken to be asking for the minor to meet you for a sexual rendezvous then the other charge you may need to look out for is soliciting a child by computer. A conviction of this charge is punished as a class H felony. The elements of the crime of soliciting by computer are:
1. That the defendant knowingly uses a computer or other electronic device,
2. To coerce or encourage someone who is a minor (for the purposes of this statute, someone who is under the age of 16),
3. To meet up and commit an illegal sexual activity or engage in sexual activity.
Because it is a class H felony charge, the judge can sentence someone who was convicted of this charge to probation, or if they choose to, they can sentence you to an active term in prison. However, similar to the indecent liberties charge above, this is not the end of the punishment, if convicted of this charge, you must also register as a convicted sex offender. Similar to the above the registration is for a period of no less than 10 years and greatly affects several aspects of your life.
Both of these charges are extremely serious, if you find yourself in a position where you could be charged with either of these crimes, you should immediately seek legal assistance. Failure to do so could be the difference between having to register as a sex offender and going to prison or not. If you have indecent liberties or a solicitation by computer charge pending, or you think you could need legal assistance in this area, call the experienced criminal defense team at Jetton and Meredith today.