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Sexting in Florida: Legal Issues, Consequences, and Defenses

While technology has undoubtedly made our lives more convenient, it has also introduced new legal issues and challenges. One such issue is sexting, which has become increasingly common among teenagers. In Florida, sexting can lead to serious legal consequences, including criminal charges. This comprehensive guide will help you understand the complexities of sexting laws in Florida, as well as the potential consequences and defenses available to you.

Understanding Florida's Sexting Laws

In 2011, Florida enacted Florida Statute 847.0141, which specifically addresses sexting. Under this law, it is illegal for a minor (someone under 18) to knowingly send, receive, or possess a sexually explicit image of another minor. It is important to note that this law applies even if the two minors involved are in a consensual relationship.

Potential Consequences of Sexting in Florida

The consequences of sexting in Florida can be severe, especially for minors. Here are some potential outcomes if you are caught sexting:

  • First offense: A first-time sexting offense is considered a noncriminal violation, similar to a traffic ticket. The minor may be required to complete community service, pay a fine, or attend a cyber safety program.
  • Second offense: A second sexting offense is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, resulting in up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Third or subsequent offense: Any additional sexting offenses are considered third-degree felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Adult involvement: If an adult is involved in the sexting, they may face charges of child pornography, which can result in even more severe penalties.

Defenses Against Sexting Charges in Florida

Several potential defenses may be available to you if you are facing sexting charges in Florida:

  • Lack of knowledge: If you can prove that you did not knowingly send, receive, or possess the explicit image, you may be able to avoid conviction.
  • Age exception: Florida's sexting law includes an age exception for minors within two years of age of the person depicted in the image. If you are 17 and the person in the image is 15, you may not be charged under the sexting statute.
  • Unsolicited image: If you received an unsolicited explicit image and did not solicit or distribute it, you may have a defense against sexting charges.

How Our Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

If you or a loved one is facing sexting charges in Florida, it is crucial to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At The Hoffman Firm, we have extensive experience handling sexting cases and can provide the guidance and representation you need to navigate the complex legal system. Our team will work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact The Hoffman Firm today to schedule a FREE consultation!