Until What Point Is Sexting a Punishable Sex Crime?

Sexting has increased in popularity among adults, with some sources indicating that as many as 88% of adults admit to having sexted at least once. Whether sexting is a sex crime will vary from case to case depending on a variety of factors and the exact circumstances. Sexting is frequently linked with other offenses, which can make it a crime in some situations, so it’s important to work with an experienced Gilbert sex crimes attorney for further guidance. 

Generally speaking, the state of Arizona does not consider sexting between consenting adults to be a crime. However, if one of the parties withdraws or refuses consent to a sexting exchange, the other party may face charges of harassment, emotional distress, or obscenity. For example, if someone sends unwanted messages or images to another person, or if someone is demanding nude pictures or explicit messages, harassment might be charged.

Until What Point Is Sexting a Punishable Sex Crime in Arizona

What Is Sexting?

Simply stated, sexting, which comes from the combination of “sex” and “texting,” is sending sexually suggestive or explicit images and/or messages by cell phone, email, instant messenger, chat rooms, or social media. Sexting is often done between married or partnered couples but is also common in new or casual relationships. Although many sexting situations are legal, other forms of sexting can be considered perverse, demoralizing, betraying, or even abusive. In some cases, sexting can become a coercive tactic or used as blackmail. 

The act of sexting is criminal when a minor is involved, regardless of other circumstances. When only adults are involved with sexting, the criminality and legality can become challenging to determine because sexting tends to become muddied with other offenses. 

Does Arizona Consider Sexting a Crime?

Any communication of a sexual nature that involves a minor is considered a criminal offense in the state of Arizona and will require defense from a skilled Mesa sex crimes attorney. Many of Arizona’s sexting laws are designed to protect minors from abuse. Arizona state code even has a law specifically regarding sexting with teenagers which prohibits minors from viewing, receiving, or sending any sexually explicit material with another minor via electronic communication devices, including cell phones, computers, and tablets. 

If both parties involved with sexting are minors, the act is considered a petty offense punishable by fine; if an image or message is sent to more than one person, it can be charged as a Class 3 misdemeanor. Arizona law \protects juvenile recipients who choose to delete or report the sexting material that is received. In that situation, the juvenile has not violated the law and will not be punished.

However, if one of the parties is an adult, the adult is held responsible for the communication and will face felony charges, including possession of child pornography, which are punishable by prison time and registration as a sex offender. If you have received unwanted sexting messages or have been accused of sexting with a minor, consult with an experienced Queen Creek sex crimes defense lawyer who can help you understand your case and represent you if necessary.

Sexting & Sexual Coercion

Sexting can be used in a variety of ways to coerce another person. This includes sexploitation, which is considered a crime when a minor is involved, or sextortion, which refers to blackmailing by using sexually explicit images or messages in exchange for favors.

Sexting materials can be mishandled by being shared without permission or used for financial gain. Even if both parties involved are of consensual age, sexting can still result in legal penalties if they are used for exploitation or extortion. Common examples of sexting and coercion include threats to share images on social media or selling images of someone else for financial gain. Sexting, sexploitation, and sextortion sometimes mingle together, so it’s crucial to work with an Scottsdale sexual abuse lawyer who understands Arizona law.

What Are The Consequences Of Criminal Sexting?

Sexting among minors is always a crime in Arizona and ranges from a petty offense to a Class 3 misdemeanor depending on the circumstances and any prior convictions. If the sexting parties are consenting adults, sexting is not a crime. However, sexting can become a crime when one of the involved parties does not consent, in which case it can result in charges of harassment, extortion, defamation of character, obscenity, and other charges. These charges have significant consequences which include imprisonment, fines, and sex offender registration. Whether adult sexting in Arizona is a crime typically depends not so much on the act itself but more of the motives or results. 

If you’ve been accused of sexting or sexual exploitation of a minor, consult immediately with a trusted Chandler criminal defense lawyer because these charges have life-changing and irrevocable consequences. 

Consult With a Trusted Arizona Sex Crimes Lawyer

Villanueva Skura Attorneys at Law is a top sex crimes defense lawyer in the state of Arizona. Our solid knowledge of Arizona law, extensive experience in criminal defense, and personalized defense strategies have given our firm its trusted reputation as a leading criminal defense firm in Arizona. If you are facing sex crime charges, contact our office to schedule your free, confidential consultation.


Published On: May 24th, 2022Categories: Sex Crime Defense

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