Charged With Sexting In Michigan? Call George Law Now!
If you’re facing sexting charges in Michigan, don’t hesitate to seek professional legal help from a sex crimes attorney immediately. George Law’s criminal defense lawyers are prepared to provide you with solid representation and protect your rights throughout the duration of your sexting case. Sexting charges can lead to severe consequences, but with our experienced team of criminal defense attorneys on your side, you can benefit from a strong defense to the sexting charges you’re facing. Call us at (248) 247-7459 for a confidential consultation, or reach us online to submit a contact form. Don’t risk your future – contact George Law today and let us fight for the best possible outcome to the sexting offense case that the state is building against you.
‘Sexting’ refers to the act of sending or receiving sexually explicit pictures or messages via electronic devices and platforms, such as text messages, social media, and messaging apps. This behavior is quite common among teenagers. Different states in the U.S. handle teen sexting differently. Some have specific laws against sexting involving minors, while others, like Michigan, treat sexting involving minors under pre-existing child pornography laws. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to work with sex crimes lawyers who understand Michigan’s laws specifically.
It’s a common misconception among teenagers that sexting is lawful, as long as it’s consensual. However, in Michigan, sexting that involves minors (those under 18) can lead to serious felony charges. Anyone who makes, shares, or has these images could face a sexting charge. Encouraging an underage individual to produce an image that is classified as sexually explicit or sending one to a minor also counts as a felony and as a sex crime.
The Consequences Of Violating Child Pornography Regulations In Michigan
In Michigan, the law against child pornography, also known as “child sexually abusive material,” makes it illegal to ask for, make, share, or have images of an underage individual portrayed as engaging in sexual activity. The term “sexual act” covers masturbation, sexual intercourse, or an obscene display of nudity.
This law applies to both adults and minors. Notably, the person in the image doesn’t need to be another minor. If a minor sends a selfie in the nude, it also counts as a violation. Here are the possible penalties for breaking laws related to child pornography in Michigan:
- Creation: Producing images or convincing a minor to produce one carries the heaviest penalty – a felony punishable by 20 years of incarceration.
- Possession: Knowingly having an image of a child that is sexually explicit can lead to a prison term of not more than four years and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
- Distribution: Sharing such an image can lead to a term of incarceration not to exceed seven years and a fine not to exceed $50,000.
- Using a smartphone or computer: If you solicit sexually explicit material from a minor through a smartphone or computer, there could be additional penalties.
Sharing Sexually Explicit Material With Minors
In Michigan, it is a felony to send sexually explicit material to a minor. Here, the image doesn’t have to feature a minor; it’s enough that it’s sent to one. Adults who send an illicit selfie to a minor could be charged with committing a felony, and a minor who sends images to someone who is also underage could also be found guilty of criminal conduct.
Juvenile Vs. Adult Court
In Michigan, those under 18 are typically governed by the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts. Judges who rule on juvenile matters can impose a range of penalties, such as community service, curfews, treatment programs, and monitoring. Minors in juvenile court receive an “order of disposition” instead of a criminal conviction.
However, in certain cases, Michigan law allows judges to move minors aged 14 to 17 accused of a felony to adult court. Here, they could face penalties ordinarily reserved for adults, including incarceration in an adult prison and having sex offender registration requirements.
Sex Offender Registration
In Michigan, those convicted of child pornography offenses are required to comply with sex offender registration laws. Note, that while Michigan requires certain juvenile offenders to comply with registration mandates, these rules don’t apply to the offenses discussed here.
Federal Laws On Sexting
Depending on an individual’s circumstances, sexting may also fall foul of federal law, even though federal law doesn’t explicitly address sexting. Federal prosecutors can use various legal instruments, including the PROTECT Act, which criminalizes the use of an electronic device to receive or send obscene images of minors involved in conduct that can be considered sexually explicit.
However, federal sexting prosecutions are relatively rare. The Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act generally prefers that juveniles are prosecuted by the state.
What Is ‘Sexting’ In Michigan?
Sexting refers to the act of sending or receiving sexually explicit images or messages via electronic devices and platforms, such as text messages, social media, and messaging apps. While it can be a consensual activity among adults, it becomes a problem when it involves minors (those under 18) because it can lead to serious felony charges under Michigan’s child pornography laws.
I’m A Minor And I Shared A Nude Selfie. Can I Get In Trouble?
Yes, you can. In Michigan, it is illegal for anyone, including a minor, to create, share, or possess sexually explicit images of a minor. Even if you took the photo yourself, you could still be charged under Michigan’s child pornography laws.
If Both Parties Are Minors And Sexting Is Consensual, Can They Still Face Charges?
Yes. Even if both parties involved are under 18 and the sexting is consensual, they can still face charges under Michigan’s child pornography laws. These laws make it illegal to create, share, or possess sexually explicit images of a minor.
What Are The Potential Consequences Of Sexting In Michigan?
Depending on case specifics, the consequences can range from possession (up to 4 years in prison and a $10,000 fine), distribution (up to 7 years in prison and a $50,000 fine), to creation of explicit images (up to 20 years in prison). If you used a computer or smartphone to solicit these images, there may be additional penalties.
What’s The Difference Between Being Charged In A Juvenile Court Vs. An Adult Court?
Judges in juvenile court are granted broader authority to be flexible when handing down consequences for wrongdoing. They may order juveniles to adhere to curfews, perform community service, submit to monitoring, and/or attend treatment. If tried as an adult, a minor could face penalties usually reserved for adults, including a period of incarceration and the requirement to register as a sex offender.
Can Sexting Lead To A Requirement To Register As A Sex Offender In Michigan?
Yes, those who are found guilty of so-called child pornography offenses, including sexting involving minors, may be required to comply with sex offender registration requirements in Michigan. This requirement applies to anyone who is tried in adult court.
It’s essential to consult with a skilled defense attorney if you’re facing sexting charges. The legal landscape surrounding this issue can be quite complex, and the stakes are high given the potential for severe penalties, including prison time and mandatory registration as a sex offender.
Here are some defenses that might be used in a sexting case:
Lack Of Knowledge Or Intent
If you didn’t know that the images were of a minor or that the images were sexually explicit, or you didn’t intend to send or receive such images, your attorney might be able to argue that you lacked the necessary knowledge or intent to commit the offense.
While the law generally doesn’t recognize the consent of a minor to participate in sexual activities, there might be cases where the fact that a minor willingly participated in the creation of the image could be used as part of a defense strategy. However, this would heavily depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the case and the relevant laws in your jurisdiction.
If the person in the sexually explicit material appeared to be of legal age and you had reasonable grounds to believe they were of legal age, this might be used as a defense. However, this can be a tricky defense to argue, and its success will depend heavily on the specific facts of the case.
If you received unsolicited sexually explicit images of a minor and you deleted them immediately or reported them to the authorities, your attorney might argue that you didn’t intentionally possess the images.
Invasion Of Privacy
If the explicit images were found during an illegal search of your property, your attorney might argue that the evidence should be excluded because your right to privacy was violated.
Coercion Or Threats
If you were coerced or threatened into sending, receiving, or distributing sexually explicit images, this might form part of your defense.
Facing Sexting Charges In Michigan? Contact George Law Today!
If you or someone you know is facing sexting charges in Michigan, it’s crucial to act swiftly and seek professional legal representation from a sex crimes lawyer. At George Law, our team of experienced criminal defense lawyers is dedicated to protecting your rights and providing you with a strong defense. Sexting charges can have serious consequences, including fines, a criminal record, and even imprisonment, making it imperative to have skilled sex crimes attorneys on your side. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers at George Law have a deep understanding of Michigan’s sex crimes laws and will work tirelessly to build a strategic defense tailored to your unique case.
Don’t face these charges alone; each criminal defense attorney on our team is here to guide you through every step of the legal process. You can reach George Law at (248) 247-7459 to schedule a confidential consultation and discuss the details of your case with a reputable criminal defense lawyer. Alternatively, you can visit us online to fill out a contact form and receive prompt assistance.