Sexting Laws in Wisconsin
Understand Wisconsin’s Sexting Laws
Sexting, the act of sending sexually explicit or nude images or text via a cell phone, is becoming more prevalent. As of 2015, Wisconsin’s legal code treated sexting as part of its child pornography laws. While there is a movement to change that and give sexting its own set of penalties, the fact remains that sexting can get you into a lot of trouble with life-changing consequences. If you are being charged with sexting, you need the help of a sex crimes attorney in Madison WI immediately.
Wisconsin statute 948.12 covers possession of child pornography, which is a felony. Sexting falls under this definition because it consists of transmitting and possessing — and just looking at something on an electronic device can be considered possessing — explicit images or texts of at least one minor.
Because this definition of child pornography applies to anyone under 18, it’s easy for two reckless teenagers to be caught up in a serious web of legal consequences, even if the sexting was completely consensual.
The state of Wisconsin recognizes to an extent that sometimes the laws on the books apply to situations they weren’t originally meant to cover. If the offender is young enough, the case could be heard in juvenile court. There is a world of difference between two consensual teens and teens who were pressured or blackmailed into participating. However, it’s still possible that juveniles could be labeled as sex offenders if convicted.
If one of the people involved is over 17, the consequences become much, much worse. Adult cases carry large fines and long jail sentences.
Changes in the Law
In the future, there may be new laws in place that carry more situation-specific penalties. These would prevent two naive teens from being labeled as sex offenders while still allowing more serious cases to receive harsher penalties. Until then, though, sexting will be treated as a sex crime regardless of who participates and why. If you have been charged with sexting, contact Eisenberg Law Offices to set up a consultation.