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Sex Crimes: Sexting - Change in the Law

Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit/inappropriate messages and/or photographs primarily between mobile devices.  The new changes are now codified in Georgia's laws on sex crimes. The Georgia legislature has officially changed its law on this. The legislature just passed House Bill 156 which changes the law for teens who engage in "sexting". Before, if a teen was sexting, the teen could have been charged with child pornography under O.C.G.A. 16-12-100. Therefore, if teens sexted before this change in the law, they were prosecuted at the felony level just like any other child pornography law. Under the new law, sexting between teenagers will be classified as a misdemeanor.

Specifically, it is a misdemeanor ONLY if

(1) the individual depicted was over 14 years old at the time the image was created,

(2) the person in possession of the image was not over the age of 18 and

(3) the person depicted must have consented to both the creation and the distribution of the image and

(a) the image wasn't distributed to another person or used to harass or intimidate.

Please see www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/20132014/136927.pdf for the specific language.

It is about time this law was changed. It was not appropriate to charge and convict teenagers of sexting and sentence them to a felony sentence and sex offender registration.  Call Conaway & Strickler, PC if you have any questions regarding the recent changes in sex crimes.  We keep up to date on all changes affecting our criminal justice system.

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