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Understanding Maryland’s Sexting and Child Pornography Laws

Maryland’s New Sexting Law

Sexting, the act of sending sexually explicit photos or messages via text message or social media, has become prevalent among teenagers and young adults. However, sexting can carry serious legal consequences, as the state of Maryland has recently amended its laws to address the issue.

Definition of sexting

Sexting, as defined by Maryland law, is the act of using a device to transmit a sexually explicit image or video. This can include nude photos or videos of oneself or others, or sexually explicit messages.

Sexting can potentially be considered child pornography, even if all parties involved are minors.

Consequences of sexting under the new law

Under the new law, sexting can result in charges of possession of child pornography or obscenity. Offenders may also face registration as a sex offender and be required to attend age-appropriate educational programs.

If the act involved solicitation or coercion, additional charges may be filed.

Punishment for sexting

Penalties for violating Maryland’s sexting law range from home supervision and community detention to probation, guardianship, and rehabilitative services. Offenders may also be subject to electronic monitoring and supervised probation.

Additionally, law enforcement must be informed of any prosecution or adjudication of the offense.

Affirmative defenses

Maryland law provides an affirmative defense for sexting in which the defendant can prove that reasonable steps were taken to delete or erase the image or video in question. Another affirmative defense is available if the defendant reports the incident to appropriate authorities prior to receiving notice of an investigation.

Child pornography laws in Maryland

The possession, production, and distribution of child pornography are serious offenses in the state of Maryland. Here’s what you need to know about Maryland’s child pornography laws.

Types of activities that are illegal

Maryland law prohibits a variety of activities related to child pornography, including possession, exhibiting, business activities, inducing, filming, describing, creating, production, and dissemination. All of these acts are considered felonies under Maryland law and carry severe penalties.

Punishment for violating child pornography laws

The penalties for violating Maryland’s child pornography laws can vary depending on the severity of the offense. Possession of child pornography is generally considered a misdemeanor offense, but can carry penalties of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

More serious offenses, such as the production and distribution of child pornography, are considered felonies and can result in imprisonment for up to 25 years and fines of up to $25,000.

Federal laws on child pornography

In addition to state-level laws, child pornography is illegal under federal law. Title 18 of the United States Code specifically prohibits the production, transportation, and distribution of obscene matter involving minors.

Additionally, federal law prohibits the crossing of state lines or international borders to engage in child pornography-related activities.


Sexting and child pornography are serious offenses that can have lasting legal consequences. It is important to understand the laws surrounding these types of activities in order to avoid illegal behavior and to know your rights if you are facing charges.

By being informed about the laws and penalties, you can make informed decisions and avoid putting yourself and others in danger.

Maryland sexting laws and possession of visual representation of a child under 16

Under Maryland law, possession of visual representations of a child under the age of 16 involves possessing images or videos that depict a minor engaging in sexual excitement, conduct, or sadomasochistic abuse. Here’s everything you need to know about this statute, its potential punishments, and other implications related to sexting.

Statute on possession of visual representation of a child under 16

Maryland Code Section 11-207 prohibits the possession of a visual representation of a minor engaging in sexual excitement, conduct, or sadomasochistic abuse, even if the person possessing the representation did not have any involvement in the production of the material. Possession is defined as having control over any image or video that depicts a child’s sexual conduct or contact for the purpose of gaining sexual arousal or enjoyment.

It is not necessary that the minor in question is completely nude or sexually explicit any image that stimulates sexual excitement in the viewer can be considered a violation of this statute.

Punishment for violating statute

The punishment for possessing visual representation of a child under 16 varies based on the severity of the violation. A first offense is generally considered a misdemeanor offense in Maryland and can result in imprisonment for up to three years and a fine of up to $5,000.

Repeat offenders and those who possess more serious visual representations of minors can be charged with a felony offense, which carries harsher penalties.

Sharing or disseminating sexually explicit photos or videos of a minor

In Maryland, sharing or disseminating images or videos that depict a minor engaged in sexual conduct is a serious crime. Depending on the nature of the dissemination, the offender can face imprisonment, fines or both.

Maryland Code Section 11-207.1 makes it a criminal offense to initially share or disseminate images or videos that depict individuals under the age of 18 participating in sexual conduct. A violation of this statute is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or up to a $10,000 fine.

Age of consent, federal law, and solicitation of a minor

Laws regarding sexual conduct with minors in Maryland and at the federal level aim to prevent sexual exploitation and protect minors from harm. Here’s what you need to know about different laws that apply to minors:

Laws regarding sexual conduct with minors

Maryland’s age of consent is 16. Sexual conduct with a minor who is under the age of 16 is illegal in the state.

There are also federal laws regarding explicit conduct and material involving minors. Anyone who creates, copies, or distributes images or videos of minors engaging in sexual conduct can be charged in federal court under Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 2252A.

This statute also makes it illegal to attempt to advertise, produce, finance, or sell material involving minors in explicit conduct.

Maryland criminal code on sexual solicitation of a minor

Maryland Code Section 3-324 makes it a felony offense to solicit a minor for unlawful sexual activities or contact via any electronic media or communication method. This can include talking to minors online or through text message with the intention of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct.

It is also considered unlawful to use coercion, threats, or intimidation in soliciting minors for any sexual activities or contact.

Maryland code on revenge porn

Maryland law prohibits sharing or distributing revenge porn. This is when someone shares intimate photos or videos of their partner without their consent with the intention of causing emotional distress.

Maryland Code Section 3-809 makes sharing, posting or disseminating any intimate images or videos of the private parts of a person or a person otherwise engaged in a sexual act a criminal offense. First-time offenders can face up to 1 year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

Making filthy, indecent, or obscene comments

Maryland law prohibits making filthy, indecent, or obscene comments in public through the telephone or electronic communication means. It is a misdemeanor offense that can result in imprisonment for up to 1 year and/or a fine of not more than $500.

This law is in place to protect individuals from harassment and other forms of verbal or written abuse.


Maryland has strict laws related to sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment of minors. It is important to understand the law and its implications to avoid any serious legal consequences.

By being informed, individuals can make better choices about how they use electronic communication methods and how they share and store explicit images and videos.

Transferring a minor to adult court for sexting

In severe cases, minors might face transfer to adult court for sexting offenses. Here is a closer look at the circumstances that warrant such a transfer and the potential consequences for the accused.

Circumstances for transferring a minor to adult court

While juvenile courts are often the first stop for cases involving minors, there are certain situations in which minors can be transferred to adult court. In Maryland, transfer is usually reserved for serious felony offenses, such as sexual assault, armed robbery, or murder.

When it comes to sexting, transfer to adult court is rare but possible in case of repeat or severe offenses. This includes situations where a minor participates in non-consensual exchanges or those involving coercion, intimidation, or other serious crimes.

The prosecutor in these cases must show that the minor was fully aware of the criminal behavior involved in sharing sexually explicit images and understood the implications of their actions.

Registration as sex offender for convicted minor

If a minor is transferred to adult court and convicted of a sexting offense, they will face all the penalties of an adult charge, including sex offender registration. The Maryland Sex Offender Registry requires individuals convicted of certain crimes, including sexual abuse of a minor, to appear in-person to register within seven days of release from custody or within 14 days of moving into Maryland.

There are strict requirements for sex offender registration in Maryland, including notification of neighbors, community members, and employers, as well as restriction on where individuals on the register can live and work. Sex offender registration also can carry lifelong consequences, making it difficult to find jobs, housing, and even relationships.

Concluding remarks

The laws surrounding sexting and sexual abuse of minors are complex and serious, and anyone accused of such offenses should consult an experienced local attorney. Consulting with an attorney can help mitigate the consequences associated with sex crimes, such as sex offender registration and civil action, and ensure a fair trial.

An attorney can also help individuals who are facing harassment and unsolicited sexts to take civil action and protect themselves from further harm. Sessions with a lawyer may involve guidance on navigating complex legal issues, such as investigating an electronic trail, protecting the accused’s rights, and other legal strategies that can mitigate any damage that results from these cases.

In conclusion, it is essential to remember that sexting, sexual abuse, and exploitation of minors can have serious legal consequences, even when these acts appear harmless or unintentional. Understanding the law, acting responsibly, and consulting a lawyer if accused of such offenses is critical to protecting yourself, your rights, and your future.

In conclusion, Maryland’s sexting and child pornography laws carry severe consequences for those involved in exchanging explicit content or engaging in sexual conduct with minors. Possession and dissemination of such material can lead to criminal charges, fines, imprisonment, and registration as a sex offender.

Additionally, the transfer of a minor to adult court for sexting offenses is possible under certain circumstances. It is crucial to understand and comply with the laws surrounding these issues to avoid legal repercussions and protect the well-being of both individuals involved.

If faced with accusations, seeking the guidance of an experienced local attorney is essential to navigate the complex legal processes effectively. Let us strive to promote responsible online behavior, protect minors from exploitation, and maintain a safe digital environment for all.

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