Under the laws of the state of New Jersey, it is illegal to produce, possess, sell of distribute any pornographic image that portrays or exploits someone under the age of 18. In fact, there are state and federal laws that lead to serious penalties for involvement in child pornography operations. In New Jersey, for example, it’s considered endangering the welfare of children to photograph or take footage of a minor in a proscribed sexual act, or simulating a prohibited act. The law forbids any attempt to convey those images to another person, including digital transmissions.
It’s become pretty popular, with the advances in mobile technology, for people to take sexually explicit pictures and send them to others by text message. Not surprisingly, teenagers have become particularly proficient at doing this, an activity commonly known as “sexting.”
What are the legal ramifications when a person sends a sexually explicit image of a minor via text message in New Jersey? The answer depends on the age of the person.
If the person sending, possessing or receiving the exploitative image of a minor is an adult, it’s considered child pornography and the person can expect to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. However, if the person sending, possessing or receiving is a minor, and it’s a first offense, the result will be different. Under a law passed in 2012, a minor who sends a sexually explicit picture or video or another minor will be required to go to a state-sponsored educational program, instead of facing prosecution. The classes focus on the dangers of sending sexually inappropriate pictures.
Contact the offices of Gregg A. Wisotsky, Esq. Partner, Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, PC
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