Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NEW ILLINOIS CRIMINAL LAW ADDRESSES SEXTING OFFENSES

Illinois will have a new sexting law as of January 1, 2011. Governor Patrick Quinn signed this new section of the Illinois Criminal Code last summer. The new law tries to address the problems that arise when the development of technology outpaces the development of the adolescent brain.

Sexting is the electronic transmission of nudity or obscene photos to another party. Recent cases include teenagers who texted nude pictures of a girlfriend or boyfriend to their other friends. Even texting nude pictures of yourself can be a crime. Before the new law, prosecutors were forced to charge young offenders under stricter pornography laws that could have resulted in a lifetime designation as a sex offender.

Under the new law, any minor under age 17 who knowingly electronically transmits materials depicting nudity or other sexual conduct is subject to a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,500 fine. If you are under 17 and you knowingly request another minor to sext for you, you can be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. If you post the image on the Internet or a website for at least 24 hours with the intent of injuring another’s reputation or causing emotional distress, the charge stiffens to a Class 4 felony, punishable by imprisonment for 1 to 3 years.

The new law also permits a Judge to order an offender into a diversion program, such as counseling, that would look at the problems, which led to the sexting offense. If a minor commits a second violation, the Court can forbid the defendant the use of any electronic telecommunications device for up to six months other than for emergencies.

If you have questions about sexting or know someone who is facing sexting charges in Illinois, please feel free to contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or matt@mattkeenanlaw.com

See our related school law blog at http://northshoreschoollaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves clients in the communities of Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Palatine, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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