Illinois Sexting Laws

Can you goto jail for sending sexually explicit pictures in the prairie state?

Yes. Teens and adults may go to jail for sexting in Illinois. The charges may include child porn possession, a class X felony in the state. Below is everything you need to know.

Illinois Sexting Laws

Quick take:

  • Teen offenders may face adult charges for felony child porn creation, distribution, or possession.
  • Solicitation of a minor is a felony in Illinois.
  • Felony offender must register in the states sex offender’s registry.
  • Victims of harassing and obscene communications may take civil action against the offender.

Illinois felony and misdemeanour chart

Illinois sexting laws summary

In the prairie state, it is a criminal offense to videotape or photograph anyone below 18 engaged in a sexual act, it is also a crime to solicit sexually explicit pictures or videos from an underage person. State law prohibits the exchange of sexually explicit images, including nudes, amongst minors, but the law allows adults to exchange sexual content. Considering that Illinois has an adultery law, your partner may use your sexting history during a divorce proceeding. The somewhat good news is Illinois rarely enforces its adultery laws. But sexting, especially amongst minors is a serious offense in the state if there is an exchange of explicit photos or videos.

Illinois Juvenile Supervision Laws punish certain acts and allow teenage/minor offenders to avoid registration into the state’s sex offender registry. However, if the teen faces child porn possession, distribution, or any other related felony offense, he may face charges as an adult. Facing charges as an adult will require the teen to register as a sex offender and face adult consequences.

705.  ILCS 405/3-40, reads in part, “a minor shall not distribute or disseminate an indecent visual depiction of another minor through the use of a computer or electronic device.” The statute goes on to explain that any minor who violates it, may have to undergo counseling, or perform community service.

Section 2. e of the same statute, reads “nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a prosecution for disorderly conduct, public indecency, child pornography, harassing and obscene communications, or any other applicable provision of law.”

NOTE: Illinois sexting laws do not address a minor sending explicit photos to another minor, instead, it addresses a minor sending someone an image of another minor. Consequently, any minor found guilty of sending sexually explicit images to another may face child pornography distribution charges.

What you must remember about Illinois sexting law 705.ILCS 405 “Minors involved in electronic dissemination of indecent visual depictions in need of supervision”

  • Under the law, electronic or communication refers to any device capable of sending or receiving images or pictures.
  • The punishment for minors who violate the statute is community service or completion of counselling program or other support services.

Illinois sexting laws and child pornography

Anyone, including minors who send and receive sexually explicit images depicting a child in Illinois, may face child pornography charges. Illinois child pornography laws make it a crime to willfully or knowingly, share, create, offer to share, or possess with intent to share any image, video, or other media depicting a minor in a state of lewd nudity. Lewd nudity means any image that shows the pubic area, female breasts, or buttocks.

If you solicit or voluntarily receive sexually explicit content from a minor, you are guilty of child porn possession be you a minor or adult. The facts presented to the prosecutor will determine if the accused faces class X, 1, 2, or class 3 felony child porn charges.

A class 1 felony in Illinois carries a fifteen-year sentence at the state prison and a fine of up to $25000. A person in Illinois commits a class 1 felony if he knowingly produces and disseminates any picture that depicts a child engaged in a sexually explicit act. That means any picture, image, or nudes may constitute a class 1 felony.

A class x felony in Illinois carries a sentence of thirty to sixty years. A person commits a class X felony if the individual produces, creates, or disseminates any moving picture depicting a minor engaged in a sexual act. Possession of pictures and still images -is a class 3 felony, the punishment for which is a two to five-year prison sentence. Possession of videos or moving pictures depicting a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct is a class 2 felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison.

What to remember

  • If the depicted victim in the video or picture is below thirteen, dissemination, production, and solicitation charges escalate into a Class X felony.
  • Possession alone -of child porn depicting a minor below thirteen escalates into a class 2 felony.
  • Offenders who have previous convictions (predatory sexual assault of a child, criminal sexual abuse, aggravated child pornography) face class 1 felony charges

Illinois sexting laws and solicitation of minors

Under Illinois child pornography laws, online solicitation of a child via computer, cell phone, or any other electronic device is a class 4 felony. Consequently, sexting with a child, enticing a child, demanding, or asking a child to produce sexual content are all separate crimes that carry sentences ranging from four years behind bars to fifteen years and a $25000 fine.

What if you do not meet?

Any adult that discusses sexually explicit acts or conduct -with a child- via an electronic device is guilty of a class 4 felony. A class 4 felony in Illinois carries a four-year prison sentence at a state prison and or a $25000 fine. An adult that uses an electronic device to entice a child to perform a sexual act in Illinois, say take a nude selfie, is guilty of a class 4 felony.

If the accused requested or demanded a child to engage in a sexual act, the crime is either a class 1, 2, or class 3 felony depending on the facts presented.

Illinois sexting laws and sex offender registration

Minors and adults accused of felony offenses related to sexting such as child pornography possession must register into the state’s sex offender registry. Failure to register is a class 3 felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

730 ILCS 159/ Sex offender act requires anyone convicted of luring a minor, juvenile pimping, aggravated child pornography, predatory criminal sexual assault of a minor, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and ritualized abuse of a child to register.

Illinois revenge porn law

Public ACT 098-1138.  720 ILCS 5/11-23.5  “Non Consensual dissemination of private images,” defines sharing private photos without consent as, quote “a person commits non-consensual dissemination of private image when he or she (1) intentionally disseminates the image of another person who is at least 18 years of age, and who is identifiable from the image itself or the information displayed in connection with the image and is engaged in a sexual act or whose intimate parts are exposed, in whole or in part” and; (2) obtains the image under circumstances in which a reasonable person would know or understand that the image would remain private.”

Revenge porn in Illinois is a class 4 felony, punishable by a $25000 fine or one to three years imprisonment. The court may also order 30 months of probation.

The law criminalizes the sharing of sexually explicit pictures, videos, images, or other media without the consent of the person depicted. That means anyone who intentionally publishes, distributes, or posts sexually explicit videos or pictures of someone else or a former partner may face felony charges and registration into the state’s sex offender registry depending on the facts presented.

What to remember

  • Illinois law defines a private image as an image obtained when the person depicted had a reasonable expectation of privacy, that is, the person did not consent to the dissemination or sharing of the image.
  • It is not a crime to disseminate sexual images that depict voluntary exposure in a commercial or public setting.
  • Disseminating a photo that serves a lawful purpose such as a public service announcement is not illegal.

Illinois sexting laws and harassing and obscene communications

Non-consensual sexting is also a crime in Illinois, 7201 ILCS5 “Harassing and obscene communications,” says, quote “A person commits transmission of obscene messages when he or she sends messages or uses language or terms which are obscene, lewd or immoral with the intent to offend by means of or while using a telephone or telegraph facilities, equipment or wires of any person, firm or corporation engaged in the transmission of news or messages between states or within the State of Illinois.”

Illinois defines harassment by phone as:

  • Knowingly making comments, requests, suggestions, or proposals that is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent with the intent to offend.
  • Making telephone calls with the intent to harass, abuse or threaten the receiver.
  • Causing a telephone to ring repeatedly with intent to harass.
  • Making repeated phone calls with intent to harass or annoy.

Victims of harassment by phone may take civil action against the offender.

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

Other Illinois Laws

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