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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23530
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Sexting legal question

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If a person over the age of 18 were to 'sext' with someone under the age of 18, would that be considered illegal and warrant am arrest? No illicit photos were shared, simply sexual words with an individual claiming to be underage. Also if said person wasn't actually underage and was only claiming to be, would that nullify the charges or be considered in trapment?

Hello,

In Washington, depending upon how explicit the communication, this would arguably make out Communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, which is a gross misdemeanor, unless it's your second sex offense, whereupon it would be a Class C felony. A gross misdemeanor has a possible penalty of a year in jail.

If the "minor" was an undercover officer, such stings have been held not to constitute entrapment per se by our Suprme Court. While entrapment may have been a separate issue within the context of a lawful sting, that would be dependant on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. It would not, in any case nullify the charges. The entrapment issue would get litigated at trial if you wanted to fight the case.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

And if the individual wasn't a police officer, and used the information for blackmail?

Hello,

You could report the extortion to your police, which should nip that in the bud. The complainant is unlikely to really come forward. What the scammer really wants is money.

However, if the scammer did come forward, her you potentially would have an entrapment defense if you had reason to believe you were writing to an adult and you were suddenly told you were communicating with a minor.

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