Boston's Criminal Defense of Sexting Attorney - Keegan LawSexting is defined by the State of Massachusetts as “sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photos, or images via cell phone, computer, or other digital device.” This can include sending intimate pictures or video via text message or through apps such as Snapchat and Instagram. While this behavior may be intended to remain between the two parties that are engaging in the explicit conversation, recent statistics reveal that those sexual images are often shared with others, sometimes many, many unintended others.

The State of Massachusetts has enacted multiple laws addressing different aspects of sexting, however, the act of sexting itself is not a crime. It’s important to be familiarized with these laws, so that you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the law with your electronic devices.

Materials Harmful to Minors

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 272, Section 28 prohibits individuals from sending materials considered “harmful” to minors. It also makes it illegal to have these harmful materials in one’s possession with the intent to send them to minors. If found guilty of this crime, penalties include:

  • Up to 5 years in prison or 2 ½ years in jail
  • Fines between $1,000-$10,000 for the first offense

Posing or Exhibiting Minors

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 272, Section 29A makes it illegal to knowingly:

  • Hire
  • Coerce
  • Solicit
  • Entice
  • Procure
  • Use
  • Cause
  • Encourage
  • Permit someone under the age of 18 to be photographed naked, partially naked or in a sex act.

The statute also makes it illegal to knowingly possess these types of materials with the intent to share them with others. If found guilty of this crime, penalties can include:

  • Between 10 and 20 years in prison
  • Fines between $10,000-$50,000

This can cause unintended trouble for an 18 year old dating a 17 year old, who asks him or her to send a sexually explicit image. Despite the fact that the two are close in age, it is possible that the parents of the minor child may seek criminal punishment if they found out about the images on the 18 year old’s phone.

Dissemination of Child Content

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 272, Section 29B makes it illegal for anyone with lascivious intent to knowingly distribute images of a person under the age of 18:

  1. In a state of nudity, or
  2. Engaged in a sexual act.

Let’s say that a 16 year old sends her boyfriend a naked image of herself and her boyfriend sends it to his three closest friends. The boyfriend could be in hot water under this statute. Penalties for conviction under this statute include:

  • Between 10-20 years in prison
  • Fines between $10,000-$50,000

Possession of Child Pornography

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 272, Section 29C provides that it is illegal for anyone to knowingly possess photographs or videos that reveal a person under 18 years of age posed in a lewd exhibition of his or her genitals, buttocks or breasts, or engaged in actual or simulated sexual acts.

  • Up to 5 years in prison or 2 ½ years in jail
  • Fines between $1,000-$10,000 for the first offense

Additionally, conviction under this statute is a felony for which the offender must register as a sex offender for 20 years following the conviction.

If you have been arrested as a result of images on your phone or other electronic device from sexting, you need to talk to an experienced Boston sex crime attorney. Regardless of what crime you have been accused of committing, you have the right to an attorney who will fight to protect your rights. Contact Keegan Law today at (617) 799-7644 or online for a free consultation.