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Can “Sexting” Lead to Criminal Charges in Wisconsin?

 Posted on December 27, 2021 in Criminal Defense

Racine County Child Pornography Defense LawyerSmartphones have changed almost every aspect of our lives. Taking a quick picture and sending it to a friend or romantic partner is easier than ever. However, when the picture is sexually explicit and the subject of the picture is underage, the person who took the picture may face criminal charges. So-called “sexting” may seem like harmless fun to teens, however, sexting can lead to charges for sexual exploitation of a child or child pornography.

Teenagers Can Face Criminal Charges for Nude Photographs

In Wisconsin, it is against the law to create, possess, or distribute sexually explicit pictures of anyone under 18 years old. Many people misunderstand the law about sharing nude photographs. They assume that it is only illegal if one party is an adult, and the other party is a child. However, Wisconsin’s laws prohibiting sexual exploitation of a child apply to both adults and minors. It is illegal for someone 18 years old or older to take or send nude pictures of an underage person. But it is also illegal for an underage person to take a nude selfie of himself or herself and send it to another person. Parents who allow children to take or distribute nude photographs may also face criminal charges.

Some states have “Romeo and Juliet” exemptions to the law that reduce or eliminate criminal penalties for consensual sexual activity between teenagers who are close in age. However, Wisconsin does not have this type of exemption. Teens who send nude selfies of each other can face charges under sexual exploitation of a child and child pornography.

Criminal Penalties for Sexting  

The potential criminal penalties associated with sexting vary depending on the age of the people involved in the alleged offense. Minors convicted of sexual exploitation of a child face a maximum prison sentence of 12.5 years in jail and fines up to $25,000. Adults convicted of sexual exploitation of a child face up to 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000.

A conviction for possession of child pornography is punishable by 3 to 25 years in prison for adults. If a minor is convicted of possessing child pornography, he or she faces up to 3.5 years’ incarceration and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Contact a Waukesha County Sex Crimes Defense Attorney

If you or your child are facing criminal charges related to child pornography or sexual exploitation of a child, contact a Milwaukee County criminal defense lawyer from Bucher Law Group, LLC for help. Our team understands what you are up against, and we can help you form a strong defense against the charges. Call 262-303-4916 today for a free, confidential initial consultation.




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