Georgia Sexting Laws

According to Georgia sexting laws, sending and receiving intimate photos or videos is a felony or misdemeanor if the sender and receiver are below 18. Also, adult/minor sexting is illegal. Here is why:

Georgia Sexting Laws

Quick take:

  • Sending and receiving sexually explicit photos and videos amongst minors is a punishable offense.
  • Taking reasonable steps to report or delete sexually explicit content sent by a minor is an affirmative defence.
  • Soliciting a minor via electronic device to create sexually explicit content is a felony in Georgia.
  • Georgia sexting laws do not prevent prosecutors from charging the accused with other offences, including child pornography possession and distribution.

Georgia Sexting Laws Summary

Georgia code Article 3 16-12-100.2 “Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007,” says that it is unlawful to knowingly possess, create or distribute sexually explicit images or videos depicting a minor younger than 18. The statute defines “Electronic Device” as any gadget used for communication. Thus, it is illegal to use a computer, smartphone, thumb drive, video game system, or any other device to exploit a child for sexual purpose.

What you must remember is section (D) (1) of the statute, which reads;

  “It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally or willfully utilize a computer, online service or internet service, including but not limited to a local bulletin service, internet chat room, email, online messaging service, or other electronic devices, to seduce, solicit, lure or entice, or attempt to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice another person believed by such person to be a child to commit any illegal act described in code section 16-6-2, relating to the offenses of Sodomy or aggravated sodomy: code section 16-6-4 relating to the offense of child molestation or aggravated child molestation; code 16-6-5, relating to the offense of enticing a child for indecent purposes: or code 16-6-8, relating to the offense of public indecency or to engage in any conduct that by its nature is an unlawful sexual offense against a child.”

What to remember:

  • Obscene internet contact (contacting a child via email, social media, etc.) violates Georgia sexting laws.
  • Georgia sexting laws do not prevent prosecutors from charging the accused with other offenses, including child pornography possession, solicitation, and harassment.
  • Any violation of section (D) (1), see quote above, is a felony.
  • If the victim is 15 and the accused is not more than three years older than the victim, the offender is guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor.
  • Internet service providers, local bulletin boards, and other internet services that willfully or intentionally permit child sexual exploitation on their platform are guilty of a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the facts presented.
  • Any violation of Georgia sexting laws is considered a separate offense.

Georgia Sexting Laws and Sexual Exploitation of Children

Sexual exploitation of children, electronic furnishing of obscene materials to a minor, and child pornography, are all illegal acts.

Minor to minor sharing of sexually explicit photos or videos constitutes the creation and distribution of child porn. The nature of the images or media, and the circumstances leading up to the sharing  -determines if the offender faces any of the aforementioned charges.

Sexual exploitation of children is defined by article 3 16-12 -100.2 as “knowingly employing, using, inducing, persuading, enticing, or coercing a minor to engage or help anyone else engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of creating or producing any media depicting such conduct.” In other words, asking a minor to take a sexually explicit selfie or video is illegal.

What if you did not ask for the photo or video?

If you do not take reasonable steps to delete or report the video or photo to the appropriate authority (parents, law enforcement, or school), you are guilty of child porn possession. Furthermore, if you send the image or video to a third person, the offense escalates to possession and distribution of child pornography.

What is Electronic Furnishing of Obscene Material to Minors?

Any visual or auditory material that does not have literal, artistic, political, or scientific value presented by an adult to a child is a violation of O.C.G.A 16-12-100.1. What that means is deep fakes, pictures, cartoons, or other depictions of a minor that depict or describe sadomasochistic abuse, sexual conduct, or explicit nudity constitute Furnishing Obscene Materials to a minor.

In Georgia, the crime is a Misdemeanor of a High and Aggravated Nature, the punishment for which -is a $5000 fine, and up to 12 months at the county jail.

Child Pornography and Sexting in Georgia

Teens in Georgia found guilty of sending or receiving nudes or sexually explicit photos, under house bill 156, no longer face felony child porn charges if the person in the photo was/or is fourteen years of age, the person in possession was below eighteen, and the person depicted consented to the creation of the photo or video.  

If the offender violates any of the conditions above or if the offender uses the images to harm the depicted person or for monetary value, he may face state and federal child porn charges.

Georgia child porn laws prohibit:

  • Persuading, employing, enticing, or coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct.  
  • It is unlawful for parents or caregivers to permit or allow a minor to engage in child pornography.
  • Creating, publishing, reproducing, promoting, or possession with the intention distribute child porn
  • Possession of child porn is illegal.

Georgia is a “Mandatory Report and Sex Offender Registration” State

That means if you see child porn and fail to report it, you are guilty of a misdemeanor.

Georgia code title 42. Penal Institutions 42-1-12 (8), reads, quote “conviction – includes a final judgment of conviction entered upon a verdict of guilty of a crime, a plea of nolo contendere.  A defendant who is discharged without adjudication of guilt and who is not considered to have a criminal conviction pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of this title, relating to first offenders, shall be subject to the registration requirements of this Code section for the period of time prior to the defendant’s discharge after completion of his or her sentence or upon the defendant being adjudicated guilty.  Unless otherwise required by federal law, a defendant who is discharged without adjudication of guilt and who is not considered to have a criminal conviction pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of this title, relating to first offenders, shall not be subject to the registration requirements of this Code section upon the defendant’s discharge.”

What to remember:

  • Felony sexual offenders must register in the state’s sex offender registry.
  • Teenagers above seventeen may be charged as adults and must register as sex offenders. 
  • Repeat offenders face harsher punishment.
  • Penalties for minor offenders include community service, placement in a juvenile facility, probation, or fines.

Georgia Adult non-consensual Sexting

Nonconsensual sexting constitutes harassment in Georgia. According to statute “16-11-39.1. Harassing Communications,” an individual is guilty of Harassing communications if:

“contacts another person repeatedly via telecommunication, email, text messaging, or any other form of electronic communication for the purpose of harassing, molesting, threatening, or intimidating such person or the family of such person.”

The law prohibits:

  • Threats or sexual harassment via electronic devices.
  • Repeated calls, and failing to disengage the connection.  

If you are the victim of harassing phone calls, you may take civil action and recover punitive damages, compensatory damages, attorney fees, and court fees. We recommend consulting with an attorney to find what charges to file against the offender.

Revenge Porn is a Felony in Georgia

Starting this year, posting images or videos received from a former spouse or partner/revenge porn is a felony or misdemeanor in Georgia. The new law says that it is a felony to post or distribute sexually explicit content of a former partner with the intent to harm or harass the victim.

Senate bill 78, reads in part “A person violates this Code section if he or she, knowing the content of a transmission  or post, knowingly and without the consent of the depicted person: Electronically transmits or posts, in one or more transmissions or posts, a photograph or video which depicts nudity or sexually explicit conduct of an adult, including a falsely created video graphic or still image when the transmission or post is harassment or causes financial loss to the depicted person and serves no legitimate purpose to the depicted  people.”

Furthermore.

Any person who violates paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (b) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature; provided, however, that upon a second or subsequent violation of this Code section, he or she shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment of  not less than one nor more than five years, a fine of not more than $100,000.00, or both.”

What to remember:

  • Revenge is punishable by not less than one year in prison.
  • The maximum sentence is a fine of not more than $200k and or 10 years in prison.

In short. Consenting adults are free to share sexually explicit photos and pictures in Georgia. Minors on the other hand, are prohibited from engaging in such act.

Sexting and child pornography charges are serious offences that may escalate into federal crime. So, we recommend consulting with a lawyer immediately. What is important to remember is that creating and sending sexually explicit content is illegal if you are minor, and if you receive such content, taking reasonable steps to delete or report the image are affirmative defenses.

Navigating these laws on your own is difficult, we recommend consulting with an experienced local defense attorney today.

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