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Florida is one of a handful of states that has enacted laws to specifically target sending and receiving sexually explicit text messages, commonly known as sexting. The term sexting has become so commonplace that it became the name lawmakers gave to the statute. It is important to understand that the Florida sexting law only applies to juveniles, and not adults. Adults are free to send sexually explicit text messages to other adults, but sexting with minors is punishable by a far more serious crime. Transmitting materials harmful to a minor by electronic device is classified as a third-degree felony, and is not part of the Florida sexting law. Sexting is an offense that is only handled in juvenile court, and if your child has been charged contact South Florida criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation. Benjamin specializes in juvenile crimes such as sexting in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. He also defends juveniles who have been charged in the Treasure Coast jurisdictions of Martin and St. Lucie County. Benjamin is available to offer a free consultation anytime at (954) 543-0305, and has flexible office hours in his Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach locations. He is also more than willing to travel to meet anywhere from Miami to Port St. Lucie. Do not let a sexting charge interfere with your child’s future by going to court without an attorney. Contact Benjamin today to find out how he can fight to have the charges dropped or dismissed.
Sexting is defined as a minor using any electronic device such as a computer or cell phone to transmit or distribute any video or photograph that depicts nudity or other material that is harmful. The term harmful is basically the umbrella term for sexually explicit material. A minor can also be charged for possession of sexually explicit material on his or her electronic device, but if may be a defense if the material was unsolicited and not distributed to a third party. It is also an absolute defense if the minor took reasonable steps to report the images or videos to a legal guardian, the school or law enforcement. The sexting law is somewhat forgiving, as juveniles who are charged for the first time may avoid going to court by completing 8 hours of community service, paying a $60 fine and completing a cyber-safety program. If the juvenile does not complete these requirements in 30 days then a mandatory court appearance will follow. The juvenile may contest the charges, but if he or she is found to have committed the violation the court may then order the initial penalties to be completed. A juvenile who fails to comply could be held in contempt and punished by the court, including probation and/or a driver’s license suspension.
If a juvenile has been found to have committed a sexting offense, he or she may now face criminal penalties for any future violation. A second offense for sexting is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, and could come with incarceration and a delinquency finding on the juvenile’s record. Incarceration is not common for a second offense, but the juvenile could certainly face real punishment. Any juvenile who has been found to have committed a misdemeanor sexting violation faces a third-degree felony for any future charges. At this point, incarceration in a secure facility or placement in a program could be a real possibility, as could a permanent delinquency finding for a felony. If your child has been charged with sexting anywhere in South Florida or along the Treasure Coast contact juvenile criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst. Benjamin fights for all of his juvenile clients, and always keeps the family informed during each step of the process. He provides his cell phone number to his clients and their families, and places a high priority on always being available. Finding out your child has been charged with a crime can be an extremely devastating and stressful experience, but Benjamin will do whatever it takes to make sure your child’s future does not suffer.