The popularity of Social Media Apps and smart phones make it easier than ever for sexual messages & child pornography to find their way on our devices. As a result, Georgia law includes severe punishments for unlawful communications or media found on your phone, tablet, or computer. If a police officer asks to search your electronic device, say NO and contact a lawyer immediately. Also, see the FAQs below to better understand sexting, child pornography, and the law in Georgia.
What is Sexting?
“Sexting” describes the exchange of sexually suggestive messages via cellphone. This includes any communications using any kind of electronic device.
Is Sexting Illegal in Georgia?
There is no specific law about “sexting” in Georgia. However, in certain circumstances law enforcement will target these communications under Child Pornography and Child Exploitation laws. In particular, when the parties involved are minors (O.C.G.A. 16-12-100, any person under the age of 18 years) or children (O.C.G.A. 16-12-100.2, any person under the age of 16 years).
What is Child Pornography?
O.C.G.A. 16-12-100 defines child pornography as knowingly possessing any material which depicts a minor engaged in any sexually explicit conduct. Under this law a minor is defined as a person younger than 18 yrs old. If convicted, you could face 5 – 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $100,000.00, and be a registered sex-offender.
What is Child Exploitation?
O.C.G.A. 16-12-100.2 makes it unlawful in Georgia to use an electronic device to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a child to engage in any conduct that by its nature is an unlawful sexual offense against a child. Under this law a child is defined as a person younger than 16 yrs old. If convicted, you could face 1 – 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $25,000.00, and be a registered sex-offender.
What if someone sends me a nude photo?
Possessing a photo of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct is illegal. For this reason, a person receiving a sexually explicit message can face the same punishment as the sender.
What if me & my classmate are sending nude images to each other?
Georgia law makes this illegal if you or your classmate are younger than 18 years old–even if it is consensual. You may be subject to a lesser punishment if you are the same age or close in age, but you should speak with a defense attorney immediately to discuss any possible defenses and options.
What if the image doesn’t include a face?
Hiding your face or the face of a minor doesn’t mean the image is no longer illegal. Police officers have many tools to find the source of a message or photo on your phone. For example, they can subpoena your cell phone provider or a social media company for records related to your device.
What if I am sexting images of an adult to an adult?
Again, there are no laws that specifically target “sexting” in Georgia, however it can be illegal for adults to send sexually explicit content. For instance, Georgia laws do punish this conduct when it is done without consent, and when it is done to harass or harm another person.