With the increased use of technology across the country and the ability for individuals to send private messages to one another, sexting has become more popular. Sexting refers to sending or receiving images or videos of a person involved in a sexually explicit act.
Messages Between Consenting Adults
In Arizona, it is generally acceptable for two consenting adults over 18 years of age to send explicit messages to each other. However, if the individual obtains such content without the other person’s permission or harasses them to send nude photos or videos, they could be charged with any number of offenses.
Messages Between Minors
What Arizona law specifically prohibits is teen sexting, when minors send or receive images of a sexual nature between each other. Under A.R.S. 8-309, it is illegal for a juvenile to send, receive, and/or display such images using a cell phone, computer, tablet, or any other form of electronic communication.
If the minor shows the explicit image to one other person, they could be charged with a petty offense, which is punishable by a fine. However, sending or showing the material to more than one person could result in a class 3 misdemeanor charge. If the minor knowingly possesses explicit sexual material but does not share it with others, they could be charged with a petty offense.
If the minor received a sexually explicit text, but did not request it, deleted the message, and reported the offense to parents and/or authorities, they may not be charged with sexting.
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