Sexting is often a criminal offence regardless of consent
People who send explicit images and videos over SMS need to be aware of the legal risks that are attached to such sexting. Here we offer sexting legal advice.
What is sexting?
Sexting is sending sexually explicit messages, photos, or video via mobile telephone, computer, or any digital device. Sexting includes photos and videos containing nudity or showing simulated sex acts.
Sexting legal advice. Why sexting is unlawful?
Sexting affects the victim in unique ways because the sex videos or images are usually distributed to friends and family and can find their way to the public at large via the internet. So, you got naked, did some sexting and shared an image or video with someone that you trusted. Now, you need sexting legal advice because you are feeling violated and harassed because those sexting images have turned up online and are being shared and posted with multiple people (that have told you about it) and the sender could be taken to court.
What is the main law about sexting?
The main law that makes sexting a criminal offence is the Communications Act 2003. The Act says that sending a malicious communication using an electronic communication device is a criminal offence.
Generally speaking, our sexting legal advice is that private sharing of nude or suggestive photos between consenting adults may not be illegal. However, the law does not make a distinction between sexting with consent and texting without consent, which means that even consenting adults who share nudity over a mobile phone, are potentially committing a criminal offence.
For sexting to be considered as a criminal act, it does not matter whether the person featured in the images or videos being exchanged, has given their consent to the sharing of their explicit images via sms.
Sharing of explicit images via mobile telephones allows the images to spread like wildfire. Sexting can turn into a campaign of internet porn harassment and perpetrators posting and sharing those images can be imprisoned for up to 2 years if the case involves revenge porn or for longer if the campaign involves harassment.
Can consent be a defence to Sexting?
Sexting may include the distribution of harassing photos via social media, sexy gifs via sms or intimate video attachments with explicit sexual content across all media platforms. In many cases, people who are or want to be romantically involved may 'sext' each other. Not always, though.
Sexting can often happen when your judgement is clouded; if you are under the influence of alcohol and drugs, which could result in you sending intimate images accidentally or you are feeling a bravado and less inhibited, more sexually confident and less aware of the consequences of sexting.
You may feel pressure to sext from someone else to do it as a dare and feel that it is a laugh in the heat of the moment and where would be the harm in it? You couldn't imagine that you would be seeking sexting legal advice a week or so after these daredevil sexting moments and it may be that you have been arrested for an internet sex offence charge against you that started out as a sexting session.
Consent is irrelevant for the criminal offence involving sexting, which means there are very few defences available for anyone arrested for sexting.
Why sexting is so dangerous?
Many people may not consider the harms of sexting in the heat of the moment but sexting can lead to some more serious consequences and can create potential harmful online porn related issues, involving mass sharing online, trolling from sexual predators, impersonation where online users use your images and videos and set up a social media account inviting lewd comments and offering sexual services, revenge porn criminal charges and potential phone hackers gaining access to your phone pictures and copying and sharing them.
Is sexting via Snapchat illegal?
Some people believe that sexting via Snapchat is not a criminal offence. They are wrong. People who send photos using Snapchat, believing that they will disappear in seconds, cannot always be certain about the short life expectancy of the text. This provides a false sense of security as they might be surprised to see the snap images that they took are appearing online. There are many cases we have dealt with where clients are sought sexting legal advice, where the images have been saved, using third party applications that use photo capturing technology and then shared on revenge porn sites used for sextortion blackmail and in several cases that we have seen, in online impersonation harassment cases. Some of our clients that have required sex worker harassment legal support have stated that their issue began as a sexting session, as part of their work. There are so many implications with sexting, even where you think you are being protected using a social media account.
How does sexting affect the victim?
Our sexting legal advice solicitors also understand how you are feeling. There's also the emotional distress and anxiety that comes from having your intimate images and videos being shared online. The mental health issues that many of our clients seeking sexting legal advice have expressed, due to what started as innocent sexting, has been far reaching, with long term effects.
What to do if you are the victim of sexting?
If you found yourself in the middle of a porn related internet issue, you may wonder how you stand legally and may feel fearful or embarrassed about seeking sexting legal advice. It may be that you didn't sext anyone but are being sent sexting images that you do not want and we can support you in a harassment injunction against an anonymous user for you, too.
Cohen Davis deal with all sorts of internet law related cases and we give sexting legal advice regularly and it is most likely that we have dealt with a case like yours. We will assist with removing images and videos and consider all legal options with you. Book a comprehensive consultation with our porn lawyers, as soon as possible to learn and understand about your situation. 0800-612-7211.