Arizona Sexting Laws

Arizona sexting laws: Summary

The state of Arizona defines sexting as the act of receiving or sending sexually explicit videos, pictures, or other media. Amongst consenting adults, the law allows the exchange. But when a minor sends nudes to another minor, or an adult and vice versa, the parties involved are guilty of possession of child porn. The matter escalates if you knowingly publish or share the image -into- Possession and Distribution of Child Porn.

ARS 8-309. “Unlawful Use of an Electronic Communication device by a minor,” forbids minors from intentionally or knowingly distributing or displaying a visual depiction of a minor that depicts explicit sexual material. That means it is illegal to view, send, or receive sexually explicit materials if you are below 18. Distribution amongst minors is a petty offense, however, if the minor sends the image or video to multiple individuals, the matter escalates to a class 3 misdemeanor.”

The offender may face Arizona sexting laws, child porn laws, revenge porn laws, or dangerous crimes against a child charges. So yes, you can go to jail for sexting an adult or minor in Arizona.

Sexually explicit material in Arizona refers to any media or material that depicts nudity, sexual activity, sexual contact, genitalia, or sadomasochistic acts. ARS 8-309 makes it illegal to not delete the image or video, or report it.

This article will focus on Arizona sexting laws, child porn laws, harassment laws, and revenge porn laws.

Arizona sexting laws: can a 17-year-old go to jail for sending explicit videos or photos?

Depending on the facts presented -the court may choose to charge the offender as a child or as an adult. So yes, if convicted, a 17-year-old in Arizona may go into the juvenile system or jail for sending or receiving sexually explicit photos or videos.

Juvenile court sentences are not as severe as adult court punishment. Furthermore, a teenager charged in adult court may have to register in the Arizona sex offender registry.

According to A.R.S. 13-501, if you are between fourteen to seventeen years of age, you may be charged as an adult if you commit first-degree murder, second-degree murder, forcible sexual assault, armed robbery, felony offenses, or any offense committed by a chronic offender. A chronic offender is an individual that persistently violates criminal laws. Consequently, if it is not the offender’s first violation of child porn laws, revenge porn laws, or Arizona sexting laws, the offender may be tried in adult court.

What to remember

  • A juvenile prosecuted as an adult for sexual exploitation of children or other sexual offenses may request a hearing to determine if the case should be transferred to juvenile court.

What are the consequences of teenagers sending inappropriate pictures?

  • Petty offense charge: punishable by a minimum fine of $300, a teenager commits a petty sexual offense if the minor sends explicit material to one individual.
  • Class 3 misdemeanor: punishable by 30 days detention and $500 fine, a teenager may face class three misdemeanor charges if he sends explicit photos or media to more than one person.
  • Class 2 misdemeanor: repeat offenders may face a $750 fine or four months detention.

Can a teenager go to jail for sexting in Arizona?

Yes. Arizona sexting laws prohibit the exchange of explicit media amongst minors. if found guilty of sending or receiving nudes or sexually explicit content from a minor, you will go into the state’s juvenile or penitentiary system. Here is why.

Arizona child porn laws

Arizona state law prohibits the recording, photographing, developing, filming, and any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexual conduct. Furthermore, it is illegal to distribute, transport, receive, sell, purchase, or electronically transmit visual depictions of a child engaged in sexual conduct or exploitative exhibition.

Under state law, the crimes described above are a class 2 felony, punishable by ten years in prison per image/video. Meaning if you download or share 20 images, the punishment could be 200 years in prison.

What to remember:

  • If the child depicted in the photos or videos is below 15, the sentence is 10 to 24 years per offense without the possibility of early release, parole, or probation.
  • Child porn is a class 2 felony in Arizona.
  • Criminal background or previous convictions may increase prison time.
  • Sending or receiving a nude photo/selfie from a minor is a crime (possession/distribution).

Who is required to register as a sex offender in Arizona?

Anyone convicted as an adult, and adults found guilty of felony sex crimes must register in the state’s sex offender registry. Also, convicted offenders moving into the state must report to local law enforcement.

Failure to register as a sex offender in Arizona is a class 4 felony.

How to avoid punishment and sex offender registration

If you receive an inappropriate image, you may either report or delete the image. Distributing or sharing the image may trigger child porn charges.

Dangerous crimes against a child in Arizona

Arizona statute 13-705 defines Dangerous Crimes Against a Child as the Aggravated Luring of a minor for sexual exploitation, or sexual exploitation of a minor, commercial exploitation of minors, and sexual conduct with a minor. Section A  of the statutes reads, quote,  “a person who is at least eighteen years of age and who is convicted of a dangerous crime against children in the first degree involving sexual assault of a minor who is twelve years of age or younger or sexual conduct with a minor who is twelve years of age or younger shall be sentenced to life imprisonment and is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis except as specifically authorized by section 31-233, subsection A or B until the person has served thirty-five years or the sentence is commuted. This subsection does not apply to masturbatory contact.”

Section D says that aggravated luring of a child/minor for sexual exploitation is punishable by a minimum of 10 years, a presumptive sentence of 17 years, or a maximum sentence of 24 years.

What is the aggravated luring of a child?

Aggravated luring refers to the solicitation of sexual conduct from a minor. For example, an adult sending sexually explicit messages or images to a child is a solicitation. This brings us to the Online Solicitation of a Minor. In Arizona, the act of soliciting, or rather the act of asking is a class three felony. Consequently, if you share or transmit content that is “Harmful To Children” sexual or otherwise -to initiate communication with that teenager or minor, or if you offer or solicit sexual conduct with the minor via text or other means, you have committed a class 2 felony.

Felony sexting charges in Arizona

  • Class 2 felony: punishable by 3 to 35 years in prison. 
  • Class 3 felony: up to 9 years in prison and a fine.
  • Class 4 felony: a fine and or between 1 to 3 years and 9 months behind bars.

Arizona statute of limitations on child porn and federal charges

Child porn is a federal crime, because of that, there is no statute of limitations in place. Consequently, the court may bring a case against the offender at any time.

Child grooming (a federal crime)

Grooming refers to the act of deliberately establishing an emotional connection with a child with the intention of abuse. Groomers often use electronic devices to find and communicate with minors, so this act is closely related to Arizona sexting laws. 2001. 18 U.S.C 2422 “Coercion and enticement” reads, quote “ (a) title 18 prohibits anyone from knowingly persuading inducing, enticing, or coercing an individual to travel in interstate or foreign commerce with the purpose of engaging in prostitution or any criminal sexual activity or attempting to do so and imposes a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment and or a fine, under Title 18.”

Section (b) of the statute says that if the induced, persuaded, or coerced individual is below 18, the penalty is a fine and 15 years in prison.

Note that sexual exploitation of children, child porn, and child grooming are separate charges. Sexual exploitation falls under federal child pornography production laws, these laws apply within and outside the states.

What to remember:

  • The mandatory minimum sentence for child exploitation is fifteen years.

Arizona revenge porn laws

It is a crime to intentionally disclose an identifiable image or video of another person engaged in sexual activity or nude, that is according to Arizona’s Revised statute 13-1425, the state’s revenge porn law -that also prohibits:

  • The depiction of anyone who had a reasonable expectation of privacy.
  • The sending of videos or pictures with the intent to harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce the depicted person.

Remember that each posting is a separate crime and if sent via electronic means, say a phone, computer, or other devices, the act is a class 4 felony, a crime that carries a 4-year sentence.

Arizona revised statute 13-2916 “Use of Telephone to Terrify, Intimidate, Threaten, Harass, Annoy or offend.”  Makes the use of electronic devices to send quote “obscene, lewd or profane language or suggests any lewd or lascivious act or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property,” a punishable offense.

The statute classifies these acts as a class 1 misdemeanor, a crime that carries a six-month jail sentence and a $2500 fine.

Arizona Sexting laws: How does it all come together?

Using a single set of facts, an individual may be charged with multiple crimes. But it is up to the prosecution to choose how to proceed, they may choose to charge the offender with:

  • Child porn.
  • Harassment
  • Revenge porn
  • Solicitation of a minor/ grooming.

Additionally, Possession, distribution, and manufacturing of child porn is the worst crime in this scenario. Meaning it is advisable to consult with an experienced defense attorney.

Overall, what you need to remember about Arizona sexting laws is:

  • Minor to minor sexting is illegal.
  • Minor to adult or adult to minor sexting is a punishable offense.
  • Repeat juvenile offenders may be tried as adults.
  • Convicted felons must register into the state’s Sex Offender registry.
  • Dangerous Crimes Against a Child, such as solicitation or aggravated luring of a minor via electronic device, is a class 2 felony.

Whether you are defending yourself against charges, or the victim, we recommend contacting a lawyer near you.

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