Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of Illinois

In 2010, Illinois passed a law that made sexing between Illinoisminors illegal. In general, if two minors are caught sexting or a minor distributes sexually explicit images of another minor, under the Illinois’ law each such minor would be charged with a misdemeanor and could be ordered to receive court supervision and counseling or perform community service. Minors will not be prosecuted under the child pornography laws and will not be required to register as a sex offender, if convicted.

Legislative Summary

As of January 1, 2011, minors who are caught sexting will generally not be charged under the State’s child pornography laws. However, individuals who are 18 years of age will be subject to prosecution under the child pornography laws. In general under Illinois child pornography laws, it is a felony to possess, distribute or create an image of a minor engaged in a sexual act. If an individual is found guilty under the child pornography laws, they will be guilty of a felony, and could receive between 4 and 15 years for a felony charge of distribution or creation of child pornography and between 2 and 4 years for possession of child pornography material. The individual would generally be required to register as a sex offender.

Law and Punishment

Effective January 1, 2011 minors who engage in sending sexually explicit images to each other will no longer be prosecuted under the State’s child pornography laws. In general under the new law:

  • A minor who is caught possessing or distributing a sexually explicit image of a minor can be arrested and tried in juvenile court. A judge can either sentence the minor to court supervision and counseling or be required to perform community service. In addition, minors will no longer be required to register as a sex offender, if convicted.
  • If an adult (anyone 18 year old or older) is caught exchanging, or requesting sexually explicit images with or from a minor they will still be prosecuted under the State’s child pornography laws, and if convicted, will be required to register as a sex offender.

sobering reality

If under 18 tried in juvenile court.

Court supervised counseling or community service sentences.

If 18 or older tried under the State’s child pornography laws.

Disclosure of the crime on job applications and school admissions.

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