Hawaii Sexting Laws

According to Hawaii sexting laws, knowingly commanding, requesting, or encouraging a minor to use an electronic device to send or receive nudes or sexually explicit content is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison

Hawaii Sexting Laws

Quick take:

  • Teenage/minor sexting is prohibited under Hawaii sexting laws.
  • Hawaii sexting laws do not prevent prosecutors from charging the accused with other offences including child pornography possession and harassment.
  • Revenge porn is a felony in Hawaii if the victim is a minor.
  • Taking reasonable steps to report or delete sexually explicit photos of a minor is an affirmative defense.

Hawaii Sexting Laws Summary

Consensual adult to adult sexting is legal in Hawaii, what is illegal is the sending of explicit messages and texts to a child by an adult and the exchange of sexually explicit sexts amongst teens and minors. State law classifies sexting on three levels, that is:

  • Chapter 707-750 “Promotion of Child Abuse in the First Degree” makes participation and producing child porn a class A felony punishable by up to twenty years in prison.
  • 707-751 “Disseminating Images of Child Porn”, a class B felony punishable by ten years in prison or four years probation.
  • 707-752 “Possession of Child Porn/child abuse in the Third Degree,” a class C felony punishable by four to five years in prison and four-year probation.
  • 712-1215.5 “Promoting Minor Produced Sexual Content”, a misdemeanour punishable by up to one year in prison/probation.

State statute 712-1215. 6. Reads in part, “a person, of any age, commits the offense of promoting minor produced sexual images in the second degree if the person knowingly possesses a nude photograph or video of a minor transmitted or distributed in violation of subsection (1). It is an affirmative defense under this subsection that the person took reasonable steps to destroy or eliminate the photograph or video of a minor.”

The laws prohibit anyone from knowingly using an electronic device to distribute, command, or promote child porn. Minors in the state violate the law if:

  • You encourage another minor to use an electronic device to create and distribute child pornography (videos, selfies).
  • Use any electronic device to send or receive sexually explicit content depicting a minor (under 18).
  • Possessing sexually explicit photos or videos of a minor.

Hawaii Sexting Laws and Child Pornography: Is it Legal to Sext at 17?

No. the legal age for sexting in Hawaii is 18.

 Adult/minor sexting is a felony in Hawaii, whereas minor to minor sexting is a petty misdemeanor.

Statute 707-750, says that Promoting Child Abuse in the First Degree is a Class A Felony. A minor accused of committing a class A felony may face charges as an adult. if charged as an adult, the minor will have to register as a sex offender and complete adult punishment.

Hawaii child pornography laws prohibit production, participation, or engaging in any performance that uses, employs, or otherwise contains a minor engaged in a sexual act. That means disseminating, reproducing, or possessing any sexual material that contains an image or likeness of a child is a crime.

Failing to register as a sex offender -once convicted- is a class C felony, it is also a crime for registered sex offenders to enter the territory without informing local authorities.

What to remember:

  • Adult -minor sexting is a felony in Hawaii.
  • Teens who commit class A felonies may be tried in adult court.
  • Taking reasonable steps to delete or report sexually explicit images sent by a minor is an affirmative defense.

Hawaii Sexting Laws and Solicitation of a Child

According to the  “Child and Adult Protection and Safety Act,” Anyone who uses an electronic device, electronic storage, or internet service to lure, entice, solicit, or attempts to solicit a child to engage in a sexual act is guilty of a misdemeanor. Furthermore, each use of the aforementioned services or device is a separate offense.

Section 707-B “indecent electronic display to a child” says, Quote “any person who intentionally masturbates or intentionally exposes the genitals in a lewd lascivious manner live over a computer online service, internet service, or local bulletin board service and who know or should know or has reason to believe that the transmission is viewed on a computer or other device by” a minor/anyone under eighteen years of age is guilty of a class C felony.”

Remember, the punishment escalates if the offender has previous convictions.

What to remember:

  • Soliciting a minor is a crime even if the offender and minor do not meet.
  • Luring, seducing, or persuading a minor via electronic device to create and transmit sexually explicit images is unlawful.

Hawaii Sexting Laws and Harassment

Repeated calls, use of coarse language, or harassing, insulting communications are forms of harassment under Hawaii state law. Title 37, Hawaii Penal Code 711. 1106 Harassment, says quote,

“A person commits the offense of harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm annoy other people: c. repeatedly makes telephone calls facsimile transmissions, or any form of electronic communication as defined in section 711.111 (2), including electronic mail transmission, without a purpose of legitimate communication. (f) makes a communication using offensively coarse language that would cause the recipient to reasonably believe that the actor intends to cause bodily injury to the recipient or another or damage to the property of the recipient or another.”

Consequently, unsolicited, or non-consensual sexts, depending on the language used and frequency, may constitute harassment. Harassment is a petty misdemeanor in Hawaii.

Victims of harassing behavior may take civil action against the offender. Also, if an adult sends sexually explicit images, texts, or videos to a minor, the sender is guilty of a felony.

What to remember

  • Harassment is a petty misdemeanor in Hawaii.
  • Harassment by stalking is a misdemeanor.
  • Nonconsensual Visual or oral contact or contact via telephone or other devices, including email, constitutes harassment by stalking.
  • Victims of harassment may take civil action against the aggressor.

If you decide to file a harassment suit, we recommend consulting with an experienced attorney to figure out what charges to file.

Hawaii Revenge Porn and Sexting

Signed into law in 2014, house bill 2134 makes it a crime to knowingly threaten to disclose, or disclose an image or video of an identifiable person in the nude or engaged in a sexual act without consent. The law also prohibits the capturing of videos or pictures of a person who has a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy without consent.

Therefore, sending or posting a former partner’s nudes or sexually explicit videos is a class B felony if the person depicted is under 18. If the victim is older than 18, the crime is a class C felony.

711-1110.9 reads in part, quote “Violation of privacy in the first degree.  (1) A person commits the offense of violation of privacy in the  first degree if, except in the execution of a public duty or as authorized by law: (a) ‘The person intentionally or knowingly installs or uses, or both, in any private place, without consent  of the person or persons entitled to privacy therein,  any device for observing, recording, amplifying, or broadcasting another person in a stage of undress or sexual activity in that place; or (b) The person knowingly discloses or threatens to disclose an image or video of another identifiable person either in the nude, as defined in section 712- 16 1210, or engaging in sexual conduct, as defined in section 712-1210, without the consent of the depicted person, with intent to harm substantially the depicted person with respect to that person’s health, safety, business, calling, career, education, financial condition, reputation, or personal relationships”

What to remember

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

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