Wyoming’s sexting laws that prohibit the creation and dissemination of explicit photos depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct. Section 6-4-303 and State Statute 6-4-305.
- Wyoming sexting laws summary
- What is the punishment for sexting in Wyoming?
- Wyoming sexting laws and dissemination or possession of a nude image of a minor by a minor
- Wyoming sexting laws and soliciting to engage in illicit sexual relations
- Teen or adult court?
- Wyoming sexting laws and unlawful dissemination of intimate images
- Wyoming sexting laws and unsolicited sexts
- Wyoming sexting laws and promoting obscenity
- If both the victim and accused are below 18, the accused will face trial in juvenile court.
- Anyone convicted under 6-4-303 Sexual Exploitation of a Minor must register as a sex offender.
- Wyoming punishes sexting in the first, second and third degree.
- Wyoming sexting laws only apply if both the sender and victim are above 12 and no older than 18.
Wyoming sexting laws summary
Under Wyoming sexting laws, child pornography laws, and obscenity laws, “child” refers to anyone below 18. The age of consent in the state is 17, but individuals below 18 do not have the legal right to consent to be the subject of sexually explicit content. Consequently, the creation and dissemination of nudes or pornographic content that depicts a minor is a violation of state and federal law. If the accused is above 18 and the victim below, the crime committed constitutes a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars for a first offense. The teen may face prosecution under dissemination or possession of a nude image of a minor by a minor.
What if a minor sends explicit photos to an adult?
Different ages are treated differently by the law in Wyoming
Minors above 12:
If the minor is above 12, and the adult involved did not solicit, ask for, request, or in any way cause the minor to send the images then the minor is guilty of dissemination of inappropriate images in the third degree.
It is an affirmative defense that he or she took reasonable steps to report the photo to law enforcement or someone with authority over the child. If the adult solicited, paid for, induced, enticed, or in any way caused the minor to create and disseminate the image. The individual is guilty of multiple felonies including possession of child pornography, soliciting sexual conduct from a minor, or any other charge that applies to the facts presented.
Deleting or reporting the images to the sender’s parent’s law enforcement or school is an affirmative defense.
Remember, “explicit sexual conduct” refers to actual and simulated acts including intercourse, sodomy, masturbation, the lascivious exhibition of the genitals, and all acts intended to arouse or cause sexual gratification. Because of that, nude selfies, and live performances by a child are violations of the statute.
What is the punishment for sexting in Wyoming?
As mentioned, a violation of Wyoming sexting law/ sexual exploitation of a child is a felony. What you need to remember is that possession of sexually exploitative material depicting a child -is a felony punishable by not more than ten years in prison, and or a $10000 fine. If the accused has prior records, the crime escalates into a felony punishable by not less than seven years in prison, and not more than 12 years, and a fine of up to $10000. The judge may order both.
6-4-303. “Sexual exploitation of children “ what TO remember:
- “Visual depiction” refers to digital and physical copies.
- The statute does not apply to law enforcement officers engaged in the lawful performance of their duties.
- Any property used in violation of the statute is subject to state forfeiture.
- Wyoming prosecutes sexting under the state’s child pornography/exploitation laws. Consequently, possession, dissemination, and creation of media depicting a child engaged in sexual conduct are multiple felony violations.
- A single set of facts may lead to multiple convictions.
- Anyone convicted under “sexual exploitation of a minor” must register as a sex offender.
- The judge may limit visitation or child custody rights for anyone convicted.
Wyoming sexting laws and dissemination or possession of a nude image of a minor by a minor
Under 6-4-305 “dissemination or possession of a nude image of a minor by a minor.” To disseminate means to distribute, sell, deliver, or in any way make visual depictions of a minor available. Nude means any photo or media that depict genitalia, perineum, female breasts, or buttocks.
Under the statute, a minor is guilty of unlawful dissemination if the individual possesses, or disseminates visual depiction of anyone above 11 years of age. It is also unlawful for minors to photograph other minors in a state of nudity without the knowledge of the depicted person.
Violation of the statute is a status offense punishable by a $250 fine. If the minor sends or displays the image to another. The action constitutes a misdemeanor punishable by detention in a juvenile facility for up to three months and a fine of not more than $500.
Note that the statute applies to both the sender and receiver.
6-4-305 “dissemination or possession of a nude image of a minor by a minor” what to remember
- Taking reasonable steps to destroy the images, or report to law enforcement, or someone with authority over the minor is an affirmative defense. ‘
- The statute only applies if both the sender and receiver are above 11 but not more than 18.
- A minor is guilty or possesses a nude image of a minor in the first degree if the accused torments, harasses, coerces, or in any way causes emotional distress to the victim.
- The law prohibits secret recording or using hidden devices to record another.
Wyoming sexting laws and soliciting to engage in illicit sexual relations
Under 6-2-318, it is unlawful for anyone above 18 to solicit, procure, or in any way encourage a child above fourteen to engage in sexual conduct. A first violation of the statute is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Note that on the federal and state level, soliciting sexual conduct, attempting to solicit sexual conduct, or conspiring to solicit sexual conduct from a child are all felonies. If the solicitation happens across state or international borders, the accused may face both state and federal charges.
On the federal level, The maximum penalty for Soliciting Sexual Conduct from a Minor is life in prison.
Teen or adult court?
Teens accused of sexting will likely face dissemination or possession of a nude image of a minor by a minor in the juvenile system. In the juvenile system, the facts presented and the teen’s criminal record will determine if the individual has to register as a sex offender.
For a first offense, the judge may order corrective punishment including, community service, probation, educational program, detention at a juvenile facility, home arrest, and other suitable punishment. Prosecutors may pursue:
- CHINS case: child in need of supervision
- Delinquency case: if the child breaks the law.
Note that Wyoming law allows prosecutors to petition the court for trial in an adult court if the minor commits any felony that involves a violent act. Furthermore, if a teen is adjudicated delinquent, subsequent offenses may warrant registration as a sex offender or trial as an adult.
Wyoming sexting laws and unlawful dissemination of intimate images
Under state statute 6-4-306 “intimate image” refers to any depiction of an individual’s intimate parts or images depicting a person engaged in sexual acts. This statute only applies to adults, meaning, if the person depicted is below 18, the accused is guilty of disseminating child pornography.
The statute works under the assumption that the victim had a reasonable expectation of privacy when the image was created. Meaning, explicit photos taken in a public setting do not constitute a violation.
Unlawful dissemination of intimate images is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of not more than $5000.
Wyoming sexting laws and unsolicited sexts
Under 6-6-103, an individual is guilty of a misdemeanor if the person, quote, “telephones another anonymously or under a false or fictitious name and uses obscene, lewd or profane language or suggests a lewd or lascivious act with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend.”
Consequently, using a telephone to send unwelcome sexts or messages is a violation of the statute punishable by up to one year in prison and a $10000 fine.
Wyoming sexting laws and promoting obscenity
Possession of obscene material with intent to distribute is a misdemeanor under 6-4-302 “promoting obscenity.” The statute reads in part quote
“Promoting obscenity is a misdemeanor punishable upon conviction as follows: (i) If to an adult, by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or by imprisonment for not to exceed one (1) year, or both; (ii) If to a minor, for each violation, by a fine not to exceed six thousand dollars ($6,000.00) or by imprisonment for not to exceed one (1) year, or both”
“Obscene material” refers to any content or media that appeals to the prurient interest, is patently offensive, and lacks artistic, political, or literary value. For example, an adult sends nudes or pornography to a minor.
Victims of harassment may take civil action.
- 6-4-303 Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
- 6-4-305 dissemination or possession of a nude image of a minor by a minor.
- 6-2-318 soliciting to engage in illicit sexual relations. (See link above)
Other Wyoming Laws