Louisiana Sexting Laws

Louisiana sexting laws may protect teen offenders from registration into the state’s sex offender registry and child pornography charges, but the facts presented may cause prosecution in adult court. Here is what teenagers and adults need to know about sending and receiving inappropriate pictures in Louisiana:

Louisiana Sexting Laws Summary

In states that lack sexting statutes, sending or receiving nudes or sexually explicit images from a minor constitutes child pornography. Child pornography is both a state and federal crime, consequently, the repercussions for conviction follow the minor for the entirety of his or her life. A record will limit the places the convict can visit, work, and much more. As one of the few states that have sexting laws, teens charged with sexting in Louisiana get probation, a fine, or detention, if convicted of a minor offense.

What if a minor sends you inappropriate images of herself?

Did you ask for, solicit, entice or seduce the minor into sending the image or pictures? If yes, and you are an adult, you may be guilty of solicitation, and possession of child porn. The same is true for minors, the crime escalates into distribution if the person receiving the image sends it to a third person. If both the sender and receiver of explicit images depicting a child are minors, the punishment would be ten days detention for a first offense, plus a $250 fine. A second offense is punishable by detention for ten to thirty days and or a fine between $250 and $500.

Any subsequent offense warrants a $750 fine and up to six months in detention.

What is Louisiana’s definition of sexting

State law LA Rev Stat 14:81.1.1 (Louisiana sexting law) defines sexting as the act of “voluntarily or knowingly using an electronic device to transmit indecent visual depiction of oneself or another, to another person.” Amongst adults, consensual sending and receiving of sexually explicit images or videos -is legal. But if the sender or person depicted is below 17, the act becomes a punishable offense. Note that in Louisiana sexually explicit conduct refers to the lewd exhibition of human genitals, anus, vulva, pubic hair, female breasts, or nipples.

Teen sexting offender penalties in Louisiana

Stat 14:81.1.1 provides that:

  • First sexting offense (section 2, a) = not less than $100 fine nor more than $250 and imprisonment for up to ten days. The court may also order community service instead of prison time.
  • Second offense (section 2, b) =a fine not less than $250 nor more than $500, plus, or imprisonment for not less than ten days and not more than thirty days. A court may also order probation or community service.
  • Third offense (section 2. c) = a fine, not less than $500 and not more than $750. Probation and community service are also an option.

When does sexting become child pornography in Louisiana?

Louisiana sexting laws do not prevent prosecutors from charging teens with the creation, possession, and distribution of child pornography. State law RS 14:81.1 defines child pornography as the “production, promotion, advertising, distribution, or possession with the intent to distribute pornography involving juvenile.” The statute prohibits minors from creating child porn, it punishes adults or caregivers for consenting or coercing minors to create child porn, and if the child depicted in the image or video is below thirteen, anyone found guilty of possession or distribution must serve a minimum of twenty-five years in prison with hard labor. Upon completion of the sentence, the convict must wear an electronic monitor for the rest of his/her natural life.

Sexting in Louisiana becomes child pornography if the underage person depicted in the photo, film, or video is shown engaged in an indecent sexual manner, or if engaged in sexual activity, for example, masturbation or other sexually suggestive acts constitute pornography. If the receiver is 18 or above, he or she will face adult punishment.

Teens below eighteen may also face charges as adults if they commit “felony grade” delinquent acts (under Children’s code CHC 804 ) that if committed by an adult, is punishable by death or imprisonment with hard labor.  For example, if the person depicted in the photo engaged in a sexual act is or was thirteen at the time, a teenager found in possession or guilty of soliciting the image may end up in adult court.

Any adult found guilty of child pornography or indecent behavior with a juvenile must register as a sex offender. Teens tried as adults must also register as sex offenders.

Louisiana sexting laws and indecent behavior with juveniles

RS 14:81 Identifies two scenarios involving indecent behavior with a minor. One, any, quote “lewd or lascivious act upon the person or in the presence of any child under the age of seventeen, where there is an age difference of greater than two years between the two persons.

Two, “The transmission, delivery or utterance of any textual, visual, written, or oral communication depicting lewd or lascivious conduct, text, words, or images to any person reasonably believed to be under the age of seventeen and reasonably believed to be at least two years younger than the offender.”

Upon conviction of any of the mentioned acts, juvenile offenders must pay a $5000 fine and or imprisonment for up to seven years with or without hard labor. Adult offenders face a minimum of two years and a maximum of twenty-five years with hard labor. The offender must serve two years before he or she is eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, or parole.

What to remember:

  • Lack of knowledge of the child’s age is not a defense.
  • The law applies to lewd communication with a minor of any kind, be it textual, visual, written, or oral.
  • Lewd depictions of human genitals, masturbation, and simulated/ filmed images depicting a minor younger than 17 constitute child pornography in Louisiana.

Louisiana sexting laws and solicitation of a minor

Adults accused of soliciting sex or sexual conduct from a child may face indecent behavior with minors, child pornography, or solicitation of a minor. Solicitation of a minor is both a state and federal crime. Often, solicitation becomes a federal crime if the activity happens interstate. If there is the exchange of sexually explicit images depicting a child across state lines, the accused adult or minor may face federal and state solicitation and child pornography laws.  Remember, under Louisiana Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile Law, not knowing that the minor was under 18 is not a defense.

What constitutes solicitation or sexting a minor in Louisiana?

In 2005, Louisiana passed “computer-aided solicitation of a minor.” Under that law (RS 14:81.3), anyone, adult or minor, found guilty of soliciting a minor for sex via any electronic device must register as a sex offender, and serve a minimum of two years in prison. The prison term may go up to twenty-five years without suspension of sentence, parole, or eligibility for probation in the first two years/recommended minimum sentence.

State law defines computer-aided solicitation as anyone above seventeen knowingly communicating with a minor with intent to entice, persuade, induce, or coerce the minor to participate in a sexual act or violent crime. The statute also outlaws the recruiting, enticing, or coercing minors to engage in commercial sex work/activity. Furthermore, it is also a crime to solicit sex or commercial sexual activity from, a child via other means, including oral or recorded communication.

What is the punishment for soliciting a minor via electronic device?

  • If the minor is above thirteen, the punishment is a $10000 fine and up to ten years in prison with hard labor.
  • If the minor is below thirteen, the punishment is up to twenty years with hard labor.
  • Anyone found guilty of soliciting sex from a person he reasonably believed was above 17 must serve a minimum sentence of two years with hard labor and a maximum of ten years.
  • Repeat offenders must serve at least ten years and up to twenty years without the possibility of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

The court may also prohibit the offender from using the internet or device used to solicit and may also seize computer devices and related equipment, including vehicles and recording and communication devices.

What to remember

  • Upon conviction of computer-aided solicitation of a minor, the accused must register as a sex offender.
  • Evidence collected from the commission of solicitation constitutes contraband.

Louisiana sexting laws and non-consensual disclosure of a private image (revenge porn law)

Disseminating sexually explicit images sent by a former spouse or partner is a crime in Louisiana if (1) the offender got the image knowing that the person depicted had a reasonable expectation of privacy, (2) the person who posted or shared the photo knew or should have known that the person depicted has not consented, (3) the person depicted is identifiable from the image or for the information that came with the photo.

The statute LA HB 489 Punishes revenge pornography with a ten thousand dollar fine and a mandatory minimum two-year sentence with hard labor.

Louisiana sexting laws and harassment

According to Louisiana revised statute title 14. 285 “unlawful communications; telephones and telecommunications, improper language harassment,” unsolicited sexting or use of lascivious, lewd, vulgar, profane or vulgar language via telephone or other communication device constitutes harassment. The law also prohibits the use of a device that is under your control for harassment.

The punishment for harassment via a communication device is a maximum $50000 fine and up to six months in prison. Repeat offenders face up to two years with or without hard labor plus a $5000 fine.

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

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