Now more than ever, people have to watch what they say and do in terms of what is not just considered politically correct but what is legal. In this age of constantly burgeoning technology, there are more ways to communicate, send and receive information, and make contact with other people, but there are also more ways to break the law while communicating, sending and receiving information, and making contact with people.
Years ago, Internet sex crimes were egregious, obvious ones that typically involved making, downloading, sending and receiving child pornography or hiring a prostitute using a website. Now, there are much more subtle Internet sex crimes, and many people committing these crimes seem to be unaware that what they’re doing is illegal.
Examples of Internet Sex Crimes
Let’s take a look at some of the most common sex crimes on the Internet:
- Child pornography
- Distributing harmful material to minors
- Arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes
- Sexting with a minor
- Using personal information to extort nude photos and personal information
- Publishing nude photos
- Listing sexual partners and details about those partners on social media
- Using the Internet to arrange a sexual encounter
Each state has very specific guidelines as to what constitutes crimes such as possessing child pornography or sexting with a minor. The best advice is never interact in a sexual way with anyone on the Internet because there are so many scammers out there who pretend they are someone they are not. Many sex offenders are caught by undercover police officers posing as children; one of the most common ways that sex offenders are caught online is by law enforcement posing as people soliciting sex or pornography.
You May Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
Penalties for sex crimes vary and may include loss of job, jail or prison time, fines, registration on a sex offender list, and any combination of these and other penalties. You will lose your good reputation, and you may lose your family and friends. You may have to move, and your mug shot will be on the Internet, even if the charges are dropped or you go to trial and are acquitted.
Keep in mind that state laws vary, as do the penalties. What may be a felony in one state, may be a misdemeanor in another, and what may result in prison time in one state, may result in a less harsh penalty elsewhere. For this reason, it’s imperative to contact a criminal defense lawyer in your area if you have been charged with an Internet sex crime.
These statistics provided by the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) show just how much technology plays a part in the lives of teenagers (the most common victim of Internet sex crimes):
- 11% of teenagers and young adults claim to have shared nude pics of themselves online or via text. Of those, 26% don’t think the person whom they sent the naked pictures to shared them with anyone else.
- 15% of cell phone owning teens aged 12-17 claim to have received sexually suggestive nude or semi-nude images of someone they know via text message.
Being arrested for an Internet sex crime can ruin your life, even if those charges are later dropped, and you will absolutely lose everything including your freedom if you’re ever convicted of a sex crime. If you’ve been arrested and claim you’re innocent, you need a criminal defense lawyer on your side immediately.