Indiana Sexting Defense Lawyer | Harper and Harper, LLC

What you and your child should know about sexting and the law in the State of Indiana

In the age of social media and cell phones, juveniles face a potential legal minefield when it comes to sexting.

Here’s what you should know.

To begin with, a juvenile in Indiana is defined as a person under the age of 18.

A common misconception is that a juvenile *cannot* be charged with the crime of Possession of Child Pornography or the crime of Child Exploitation. That is false.

For example, it’s considered Possession of Child Pornography if a juvenile knowingly *possesses* a picture of another juvenile’s uncovered genitalia, or a female juvenile’s uncovered breast, if the picture was intended to arouse a person’s sexual desires.

It’s an even more serious crime called Child Exploitation for a juvenile to film, take, show or distribute such a picture or film to someone else, including to text or email the picture or video to someone else.

In other words, the act of a juvenile filming or taking such a picture or video or showing it to someone else, whether by text or email—as opposed to simply *possessing* it—increases the *severity* of the crime.

There is a *limited* defense to either of these very serious charges, if, and only if, *all* of the following 4 things can be shown:

  1. The juvenile who possessed, took or shared the image (or video) did so using a cell phone or social networking web site;
  2. The juvenile was not more than 4 years older, or younger, than the juvenile depicted in the photo (or video) or the person who received the image;
  3. The relationship between the juvenile and the individual who received the image or who was depicted in the image was in a dating or an ongoing personal relationship; and
  4. The individual receiving the image, or who is depicted in the image, consented in the conduct.

However, the defense is *not* available if:

  1. the person who *receives* the image shares it with someone other than who sent it, or who is depicted in the image; or
  2. if the image is of a person other than who sent or received the image.

Which means that if a juvenile receives a picture or video of a juvenile engaged in sexual conduct, the juvenile should *never* forward, share, text, email or show the image to *any* other person. The juvenile should *immediately* delete the image, and notify their parent.

Because of the harsh results involved with filing a charge of Possession Child Pornography or Child Exploitation against a juvenile in a sexting situation, Indiana law was changed so that a prosecutor could, in *limited* situations, file a *lesser* charge of Indecent Display by a Youth,  a misdemeanor.

Similar to the defense of Possession of Child Pornography, such a charge is *generally* only available if the juvenile was not more than 4 years older than the juvenile depicted in the image or video; had a dating or ongoing personal relationship with that person; and if the person depicted in the image or video consented to the taking, showing, emailing, texting or distributing of the picture or video.

Moreover, such a lessor charge is *never* available if a juvenile—regardless of his or her age—takes, shows, emails, texts *or even possesses* an image or video that includes sexual conduct or the uncovered genitalia of a child under the age of 12.

If you have questions about Indiana’s sexting law, please call Harper & Harper for a free, initial consultation.

Free Consultation

Call or fill out the form below (219) 762-9538

Need Help? Contact Us Now

(219) 762-9538

Contact Us Online

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

Over 80 Years Of Combined Experience In Criminal Defense And Personal Injury Law.
Harper & Harper is a small, dynamic and aggressive law firm providing representation of individuals throughout the State of Indiana.

Schedule Your Free Consultation