Does the state of Delaware have a sexting law?
Delaware does not have a sexting law, but minors who send or receive sexually explicit images depicting anyone under 18 -may face pornography, sexual exploitation, child endangerment, or other related charges.
- Federal laws prohibit teen sexting.
- Teens accused of exchanging nudes or sexually explicit content depicting a minor may face child porn charges.
- Possession of child porn is a class F felony in Delaware.
Delaware sexting laws summary:
Sexting between consenting adults is legal. What is not legal is soliciting a minor to engage in sexual conduct or create sexually explicit content, and minor to minor or adult to minor sexting. With no sexting laws in place, it means that teen offenders charged under the state’s child pornography laws may face jail time or registration into the state’s sex offender registry. In short, what you must remember is that Delaware child pornography laws prohibit:
- Any depiction, be it a photo, video, or other media of a minor (less than 18 years old) engaged in sexual conduct.
- The financing and production of motion pictures depicting a child in a sexually explicit act.
- Making available, publishing, or distributing child pornography.
- Facilitating, causing, financing, or otherwise advancing a display, performance, or exhibition of a minor engaged in sexual conduct.
Delaware state law defines Prohibited Sexual Acts as any act involving sexual conduct, sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, masturbation, bestiality, sadism, masochism, fellatio, cunnilingus, and lascivious exhibition of the pubic area or genitals.
This article will explore all the laws related to Delaware sexting laws and the use of electronic communication devices.
Delaware sexting laws and child porn laws
In Delaware, sexting amongst teens is a violation of federal and state child pornography laws if there is exchange of nudes or sexually explicit content. Because of that, anyone, including minors found in possession of sexually explicit content depicting an individual below 18, may face -creation, possession, or distribution of child pornography depending on the facts presented. Delaware defines child pornography as quote:
Title 11 -crimes and criminal procedures section 1111 “possession of child pornography” dictates that anyone is guilty of possession of child pornography if, quote “the person knowingly possesses any visual depiction of a child engaging in a prohibited sexual act or the simulation of such an act.”
“The person knowingly possesses any visual depiction which has been created, adapted, modified or edited to appear that a child engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act.”
Therefore, all photos or videos, including deep fakes and cartoons depicting a minor engaging in a sexual act are illegal in Delaware.
Possession of child porn in Delaware is a class F felony.
Federal sexting laws
Teen Sexting or sexting between a teen and adult in Delaware may result in federal charges if there is the exchange of explicit videos, photos, or other media. Federal charges include:
- possession of child pornography
- distribution of child pornography
- enticement to create child pornography
- Creation of child pornography.
View or more in depth overview of Federal Sexting Laws
Depending on the facts of the case, federal prosecutors may charge the accused with sexual exploitation of children, coercion, and enticement, possession of materials depicting the sexual exploitation of minors, obscene representations of children, or transfer of obscene material to minors.
These are serious charges that carry sentences ranging from ten to forty years to life.
Sexual exploitation of a child
Sexual exploitation of a child is a class B felony in Delaware according to Delaware code title 11. “Crimes and Criminal procedures section” 1108. The laws say you are guilty of exploiting a child if you knowingly photograph or create, finance, or produce, or make available visual depictions of a child engaged in prohibited sexual acts.
A class B felony in Delaware is punishable by a minimum of two years in prison and a maximum of 25 years. If the offender has a previous record or the crime was committed under aggravating circumstances, the penalties may escalate.
Delaware sexting laws: online solicitation of children
Knowingly using an electronic device to solicit a child or minor to engage in sexual activity is a crime in Delaware. In these cases, prosecutors need only prove that the offender knew or should have known the person he was talking to was under 18.
Did you meet or attempt to meet the minor?
Soliciting and meeting a minor is a class B felony in Delaware, whereas solicitation alone is a class C felony. A class C felony in the state carries a presumptive sentence of up to one year. A class B felony is more serious because it carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years and a maximum of 25 years.
What to remember:
- Soliciting or exchanging sexually explicit content with a minor via mobile or other electronic device is a felony in Delaware.
- The prosecution must prove that the accused wrote/sent the messages beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Entrapment may be a defense if a police officer induces the accused to engage in conduct outside his/her predisposition.
Delaware sexting laws and revenge porn
In Delaware, revenge porn refers to the act of posting or sharing a sexually explicit video or picture of a former partner or spouse without consent via an electronic device. The crime is a misdemeanor that may escalate to felony charges if the photo was taken or obtained without the victim’s consent, or if the photo was posted for profit.
Delaware code title 11. “Criminal procedure” 1335. Violation Of Privacy reads in part, “A person is guilty of Violation of Privacy when, except as authorized by law, the person:”
“ (9) Knowingly reproduces, distributes, exhibits, publishes, transmits, or otherwise disseminates a visual depiction of a person who is nude, or who is engaging in sexual conduct when the person knows or should have known that the reproduction, distribution, exhibition, publication, transmission, or other dissemination was without the consent of the person depicted and that the visual depiction was created or provided to the person under circumstances in which the person depicted has a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
What to remember
- It is illegal to share photos of anyone engaged in a sexual act or nude without consent.
- If the photo or video is obtained via a secret recording device, the crime escalates from a class B misdemeanor to a Class G felony.
Harassment and Delaware sexting laws
Unsolicited nudes and texts are a form of sexting, for example, a coworker, stranger, or someone you know might be sending harassing sexts or images. If you are a victim, you may take civil action against the offending party,
Delaware statutes Section 1311 Harassment. Classifies harassment as a class A misdemeanor, the statute reads in part “ (2) Communicates with a person by telephone, telegraph, mail or any other form of written or electronic communication in a manner which the person knows is likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, intrastate telephone calls initiated by vendors for the purpose of selling goods or services.”
Furthermore, section 4 says, quote “In the course of a telephone call that person uses obscene language or language suggesting that the recipient of the call engage with that person or another person in sexual relations of any sort, knowing that the person is thereby likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the recipient of the call; or
(5) Makes repeated or anonymous telephone calls to another person whether or not conversation ensues, knowing that person is thereby likely to cause annoyance or alarm.”
A class A Misdemeanor in Delaware is punishable by up to one year in jail or a $2500 fine.
If you are familiar with Delaware court procedure, you may complete Civil Form 50 to begin proceedings. But we recommend consulting with an attorney to help you decide which claim to file.
Delaware does not currently have a specific sexting law, we will update you as soon as that changes.
Navigating these laws on your own is difficult, we recommend consulting with an experienced local defense attorney today.
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