Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of Vermont

Minors who are caught sending explicit images of Vermontthemselves, will be declared delinquent in family court, if it is the minor’s first offense, and will be sent to a diversion program. Under the law a minor will not have to register as a sex offender. All records can be expunged when the minor reaches 18 years of age.

Legislative Summary

In 2009, the legislators in Vermont passed a law that prevented minors who are caught sexting for the first time to avoid prosecution under the State’s child pornography laws. Upon the minor’s first offense, the minor will be treated as a juvenile and the case will be diverted from the court system. The minor will generally be required to complete a diversion program as established by the State and upon completion the case will be dropped. In general, in a diversion program a probation officer will be assigned to the case and explain the program to the minor. The program will usually require the minor to participate in a certain amount of community service, and may also require restitution to the victim and educational classes. Upon completion of the program, the case will be dropped by the State.

Law & Punishment

In 2009 Vermont put into law a specific statute to deal with teenage sexting. In general, under the sexting law:

  • A Minor will not be subject to the Vermont child pornography laws and punishments.
  • If a minor is caught sending or receiving explicit images and provided that such images were voluntarily taken by the sender, then the minor will be charged as a juvenile and will be sent to a diversion program.
  • If a minor commits a second offense then it is up to the prosecutor to determine if the minor should be tried under the State’s child pornography laws or in family court.
  • If a person is 18 years of age or older and is caught with an explicit image of a minor, and the minor knowingly and voluntarily sent the image to such person, then such person could receive a fine of up to $300 and/or a prison term of up to 6 months.
  • All of the minor’s records can be expunged when he or she turns 18.
  • Nobody prosecuted under the sexting statute will be required to register as a sex offender.

sobering reality

Up to $300 fine and 6 months in jail for non-minors.

First offense for minors subject to Diversion Program.

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