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A common behavior in relationships today involves the use of technology as in sexting.

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Teens in pennsylvania could face fines for using their cell phones to send explicit photos.

By Rebecca PiriusAttorney. Sexting has become especially common among teenagers—many of whom are minors—and can easily be used to bully or harass.

Some states have specific legislation that deals with teen sexting. In states without specific legislation, children who share nude or sexually suggestive photos of minors can be convicted of crimes under a state's child pornography or child enticement laws, which were intended to target adult sexual predators and carry harsh penalties.

Pennsylvania is one of the states that has specifically addressed teen sexting by creating lower-level penalties that apply to certain teenage behavior.

Pennsylvania created a law that specifically addresses teen sexting offenses. felony charges, however, remain an option. learn more about pennsylvania's laws.

But minors can still face felony teens if their conduct is especially harmful. For more general information on sexting laws, see Teen Sexting. Sexually explicit images include those involving nudity or depicting a minor's genitals, pubic area, breast, or buttocks in a sexual manner.

Minors whose actions fall sex the teen sexting law face misdemeanor penalties, rather than the harsher felony penalties under the child pornography laws. Pennsylvania's teen sexting law increases the applicable penalties based on the conduct involved. Sexting selfies. The law makes it a summary offense for a minor to knowingly send, share, or publish a sexually explicit selfie. Sexting images of another minor. It's also a summary offense for a minor to Pennsylvania possess or view a sexually explicit image of another minor age 12 or older.

If the minor knowingly sends, shares, or publishes the image, though, the penalty increases to a third-degree misdemeanor. Sexting to harass.

A minor commits a second-degree misdemeanor when the minor takes or shares a nude image of another minor without permission and in order to harass, intimidate, or cause emotional distress to the minor depicted in the image. Summary offense and diversion. For these low-level offenses, the minor is first referred to a diversion program.

A diversion program requires the minor to participate in an educational program that covers the legal and nonlegal consequences of sexting. If the minor successfully completes the program, the judge will expunge dismiss and seal the charges. Misdemeanor offenses. Minors who share sexually explicit images of another minor face misdemeanor charges.

Forfeiture of device. In addition to these penalties, the device used in any of the above violations must be forfeited confiscated by police without compensation. Other charges possible. Behavior that is especially harmful, such as sexting images of children younger than 12 or children engaged in sexual acts vs.

Adults—including teenagers age 18 and 19—who sext with minors or take nude photos of minors can face felony charges under Pennsylvania's child pornography and obscenity laws. Depending on the situation, a minor younger than 18 can also be charged with these offenses, such as when sexting involves images of minors engaged in sexual acts or sexually explicit images of children younger than Pennsylvania's child pornography laws called sexual abuse of children apply when a person knowingly:.

A person who sends or shares "explicit sexual materials" with a minor younger than 18 commits a felony.

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Explicit sexual materials include obscene images and images depicting nudity or sexual conduct. For instance, an year-old would be committing a felony by sending a nude selfie to a year-old dating partner. A person convicted of committing the above crimes faces second- or third-degree felony penalties. Child pornography.

A first offense for possessing or distributing child pornography is a third-degree felony.

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Any subsequent offense increases the penalty to a second-degree felony. Acts involving creating child pornography constitute second-degree felonies. Any of these offenses that involve indecent contact with increases the penalty by one level for instance, a third-degree felony becomes a second-degree felony.

Dissemination of obscenity to minors. A first offense for disseminating obscene images to a minor is a third-degree felony. A person convicted of a subsequent offense faces second-degree felony charges. Whether a minor ends up in juvenile or adult court depends on the age of the minor and the alleged Pennsylvania. Most minors who are between the ages of 10 teens 17 fall under the jurisdiction of Sex juvenile court. But minors age 14 and older who are charged with a felony can be transferred to adult court. Juveniles who are 14 or older and charged with a felony can remain in juvenile court or be sent to adult court.

Sexting by minors. Because the teen sexting law carries summary and misdemeanor penalties, these cases would be heard in juvenile court.

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Child pornography or obscenity. A minor age 10 to 13 charged with a felony would also Pennsylvania in juvenile court. Minors age 14 or older facing felony teens are initially placed in juvenile court, but the judge may transfer the minor to adult court if it's in the public interest. Juvenile justice process. In the juvenile justice processcourts and prosecutors have much broader discretion in determining appropriate sentences. For example, the court may order the juvenile to pay a fine, be supervised on probation, or complete treatment, educational programming, or community service hours. The adult criminal court process does not afford as much flexibility as juvenile court.

A felony conviction can mean jail time or a prison sentence, fines, and sex criminal record. A person age 18 or older would be tried in adult court for a sexting crime involving a minor under the child pornography or obscenity law.

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Minor tried as an adult. If the judge transfers a minor to adult court, the minor also faces adult penalties and adult consequences. In Pennsylvania, any individual convicted of pornography crime or an obscenity offense when children are involved must register as a sex offender.

Juveniles tried and adjudicated delinquent in juvenile court do not have to register. The registration requirement applies to adult offenders and appears to apply to juveniles tried as adults. Case law provides that mandatory, lifetime registration for crimes committed by juveniles is unconstitutional. It's less clear if later rulings applied the same rule to non-lifetime registration for juveniles tried as adults.

Pennsylvania's teen sexting law and penalties

HainesA. If you or your child faces charges relating to sexting with minors, contact a local criminal defense attorney right away. An experienced lawyer can provide you with appropriate legal advice, protect your rights, and inform you of the potential consequences of a juvenile adjudication or adult conviction. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site.

The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising. In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service.

Please reference the Terms of Use and the Supplemental Terms for specific information related to your state. Market Your Law Firm. Lawyer Directory. Call us at 1 Issue: search. Pennsylvania Sexting Laws for Teens and Minors.

Pennsylvania created a law that specifically addresses teen sexting offenses. Felony charges, however, remain an option. Learn more about Pennsylvania's laws. Sexting by Minors Pennsylvania's teen sexting law increases the applicable penalties based on the conduct involved. Penalties and Diversion for Sexting by Minors The penalties for sexting by minors range from a summary offense to a second-degree misdemeanor.