What Does the Law Say About Sexting?

Sharing nude images through text messages, known as “sexting,” is quite popular among teenagers. However, taking and sending nude photos is illegal if the person in the picture is younger than 18. Even if a 17-year old is sending her 18-year old boyfriend nudes, he can still face charges. This is what Michigan law says about sexting.

In Michigan, child pornography, also called “child sexually abusive material,” is any depiction, including a photograph or video, of a minor engaged in a sex act. A sex act is broadly defined to include anything from nudity and touching of the private parts, to sexual intercourse. Under the state’s law, it is a crime to create, produce or copy child pornography or cause a child to engage in the making of child pornography—and this includes sexting. If a 20-year hold encourages his reluctant 17-year old girlfriend to send a topless photo, he could be convicted of persuading her to make child pornography.

It is also a crime in Michigan to distribute or possess (with intent to distribute) obscene material. Although the state’s obscenity law do not define the term “obscene,” nude photos of a minor would likely be considered obscene.

Making child pornography, such as asking a minor to send a nude image, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of no more than $100,000. Distributing child pornography, such as sending nude photos of a minor to other people, is punishable by up to 7 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000. Possession of child pornography, such as having nude photos of a minor on your phone or computer, is punishable by up to 4 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Obscenity, on the other hand, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $100,000.

If your child is involved in sending and receiving nude or suggestive photos, you need to contact our Okemos criminal defense attorneys at White Law PLLC today.

Call (517) 316-1195 or contact us online for a free consultation.