Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of Texas
As of September 1, 2011, a minor caught sexting in Texas can be charged with a misdemeanor. However, if a minor is caught, the minor and one of his or her parents will be required to take a State sponsored sexting education class. Under the bill the minor’s conviction can be expunged upon the minor turning 18. Until September 1st, under Texas law a minor who is caught creating, distributing or possessing a sexually explicit image of a minor (including an image of themselves) could be charged under the State’s child pornography statutes.
The new law that will take effect on September 1, 2011 makes sexting between a minors a misdemeanor crime rather than having the crime brought under the child pornography statutes which could result in a felony offense. Under the new law, minors (and one of their parents) who are caught sexting would be required to take a State sponsored educational class on the dangers of sexting. In addition, the bill provides of the following:
- Misdemeanor offense for the first offense, and repeat offenders would also be charged with a misdemeanor but a more severe sentence, including jail time, would be available, if convicted.
- Ability to have their offense expunged upon turning 18.
- No requirement to register as a sex offender.
Law and Punishment
Until the proposed bill becomes law, and even after the new law becomes effective, for those teens that are not considered minors under the law, sexting could still be charged under the child pornography statutes in Texas. In general, under Texas child pornography laws it is a felony to:
- Knowingly employ, authorize, or induce a child younger than 18 years of age to engage in sexual conduct or a sexual performance.
- If convicted could face up to 20 years in jail and fines. If the minor used in the performance is under 14 then the individual could face life in prison.
- Knowingly produce, direct, or promote a performance that includes sexual conduct by a child younger than 18 years of age.
- If convicted could face up to 10 years in jail and fines. If the minor used in the performance is under 14 then the individual could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine.
- Knowingly or intentionally possess visual material that visually depicts a child younger than 18 years of age (at the time the image of the child was made) who is engaging in sexual conduct and the person knows that the material depicts such child.
- If convicted could face up to 10 years in jail and fines.
A misdemeanor crime for minors under 18
Up to 20 years in jail if charged under the child pornography statute
Parents may be held liable
Latest News Concerning Sexting in Texas
NewsWest9.com | July 6, 2012
Galveston Daily News | June 30, 2012
CBS Dallas/Ft. Worth | May 30, 2012
Lubbock Avalanche Journal | May 25, 2012
KSaT.com | May 10, 2012
KHOU.com | May 8, 2012
KSAT.com | April 2, 2012
88.9 KETR | March 30, 2012
WFAA Dallas/FT. Worth | March 27, 2012
KXAN | February 29, 2012
Houston Chronical | February 13, 2012
Houston Press | February 2, 2012
Brenham Banner-Press | January 25, 2012
KENS 5 | December 13, 2011
Houston Chronical | December 9, 2011
Amarillo.com | December 4, 2011
CBS News | December 1, 2011
My San Antonio | November 16, 2011
Daily Mail UK | November 12, 2011
MySanAntonio.com | November 7, 2011
Houston Chronical | September 14, 2011
KHOU | August 29, 2011
San Antonio Express-News | June 23, 2011
Martinsville Bulletin | June 22, 2011
CBS 7 News | June 21, 2011
CBS 7 Austin | May 26, 2011
KXAN NBC Austin | May 16, 2011
CBS Dallas | May 12, 2011
CBS Dallas | April 14, 2011
KENS 5 | April 14, 2011
KDAF | March 23, 2011
KXII | March 23, 2011
KXAN | March 23, 2011
ABC KVUE | March 22, 2011
The Ranger | March 7, 2011
KLTV | December 30, 2010
MyWestTexas.com | December 6, 2010
WFAA | May 21 2009
Huffington Post | May 12, 2010
BREITBART | August 25, 2010
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal | April 23, 2010
Police Magazine | January 17, 2010
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