Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of Rhode Island

The State of Rhode Island recently passed a law that STATE makes sexting illegal between minors. Minors charged under the new law will be charged with a status offense in State Family Court. However, minors who possess or distribute sexually explicit images of a minor (other than themselves) can still be prosecuted under the State’s child pornography laws and if convicted, may serve up to 5 years in jail and be required to register as a sex offender.

Legislative Summary

The new sexting law signed by the Governor still gives authorities the ability to charge minors who are in possession of sexually explicit images of another minor or if the minor distributes sexually explicit images of another minor under the State’s child pornography laws. If convicted under the child pornography laws a minor could still need to register as a sex offender and could face jail time. Minors who are caught possessing or distributing images of themselves will generally now be charged with a status offense in family court under the new law.

Law and Punishment

In general, under the State’s child pornography laws it is a crime to:

  • Knowingly produce any child pornography;
  • Knowingly mail, transport, deliver or transfer by any means, including by computer, any child pornography;
  • Knowingly reproduce any child pornography by any means, including the computer; or
  • Knowingly possess any book, magazine, periodical, film, videotape, computer disk, computer file or any other material that contains an image of child pornography.

If convicted, an individual could receive up to 15 years in jail (5 years in the case of possession) and/or a fine. In addition, the individual will need to register as a sex offender.

sobering reality

Felony conviction on your record.

Up to 15 years in jail.

Registration as a sex offender.

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