Pennsylvania Sexting Lawyer | Worgul Law Firm

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Get Help With Your Pennsylvania Sexting Defense

Understanding the legalities of sexting can be complex, especially when minors are involved. In most situations, consenting adults are generally free to express themselves. However, the laws become significantly stricter with teenagers and mixed-age interactions.

Our legal team at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, is ready to defend you in court. Call a Pennsylvania sex crime lawyer at (412) 844-2540 to schedule a free case consultation right away.

Statewide Representation for Sex Offenses

Based in Pittsburgh, Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys offer comprehensive and aggressive legal representation for those accused of sex offenses throughout the Commonwealth.

332 Fifth Avenue, 1st Floor,
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2437


What is Sexting in PA?

Sexting covers a wide range of conduct. People in romantic and sexual relationships may send each other texts, emails, photos, and videos involving sexual innuendos, sexually explicit messages, and nudity.

Some interactions are mild, involving insinuations or suggestions. Some are more explicit videos or videos showing actual or simulated sexual acts or nudity. Consenting adults can exchange these messages.

It’s illegal for teens to be nude or sexually explicit in messages. Sexual depictions of minors can lead to criminal charges for the sender. In some scenarios, the recipient can also face legal ramifications.

 What Is A Sexually Explicit Image?

In Pennsylvania, a sexually explicit image is defined as a depiction of a minor’s genitals, pubic area, breasts, or buttocks. This is especially true if intended for sexual arousal of the viewer.

Prosecutors deciding on charges examine the nudity’s context, differentiating between suggestive and explicit nudity based on the depiction’s content, the minor’s pose, and the overall context.

If you suspect your child is wrongfully charged with possessing or distributing non-explicit images, it’s crucial to consult a criminal defense attorney who can work to have the charges dismissed or reduced.

Transmission Of Sexually Explicit Images By A Minor

Pennsylvania has codified sexting, prohibiting teenagers from exchanging nude photos.

A minor could be faced with a summary offense if they:

  • Knowingly transmit, distribute, publish, or disseminate an electronic communication containing a sexually explicit image of themselves.
  • Knowingly possess or consciously view a sexually explicit image of a minor who is 12 years of age or older.

For instance, if a 15-year-old chooses to text a photo of her nude body to her 16-year-old boyfriend. If he saves it, both have committed an offense.

The Consequences of a Sexting: Summary Offense

If your child is convicted of a summary offense, they can be penalized with up to 90 days in jail. They could also be fined up to $300. They may also be placed on probation and required to complete community service.

While the consequences of a summary offense are considered light by many, your child will still have a juvenile criminal record. Pleading guilty does not avoid the problem and may make things worse.

Instead, an experienced sexting lawyer may be able to get charges dropped or reduced. A sexting attorney will fight for acquittal.

If convicted, an attorney improves the chance of the teen receiving a minimal penalty, including no jail time.

When Does Minors’ Sexting Elevate to a Misdemeanor?

In Pennsylvania, it’s illegal for a minor to send a nude photo of another person. If a teen shares a received nude photo without consent, they can face criminal charges.

According to 18 Pa. Code §6321(b), minors over 12 years old depicted in these images can result in third-degree misdemeanors for the sharer.

The situation escalates if the distribution is for revenge or bullying, classified under 18 Pa. Code §6321(c) as a second-degree misdemeanor. This includes making or sharing nudes of minors without their consent, aiming to harm or embarrass them.

Penalties for a third-degree misdemeanor include up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,000. A second-degree misdemeanor carries harsher consequences, with up to two years in jail and fines up to $5,000. Convicted minors could also face probation and community service.

Alternative Sexting Penalties for Minors

A minor charged with sexting could be eligible for a diversionary program instead of traditional legal penalties. These programs educate on the consequences of sexting and can help expunge conviction records upon completion.

If your child is facing a summary offense or misdemeanor charge for sexting, contact a lawyer right away and ask about diversion programs, including pretrial diversion programs that may prevent a conviction or alternative sentencing programs.

When Sexting Becomes Illegal for Adults

Sexting between consenting adults is generally legal. There can be legal consequences whenever an adult crosses certain boundaries.

Charges for Illegal Sexting Activities

Adults may face legal issues for sexting involving:

Consequences for Sexting Convictions

  • Child Pornography: Possessing or creating explicit content of minors is a third-degree felony, with penalties of up to 7 years in prison and $15,000 in fines. Creating such content, even in a consensual relationship, results in a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
  • Unlawful Contact with a Minor: Planning a sex offense through sexting with a minor is a third-degree felony.
  • Dissemination of Intimate Images: Sharing intimate images to harass or alarm, involving a minor, is a first-degree misdemeanor. If the subject is an adult, it’s a second-degree misdemeanor.

Attorney Matthew Ness Will Listen & Fight for You

As a defense attorney, Matthew Ness believes that the rights of people accused of crimes are worth upholding and fighting for. He does that every day as a trial defense lawyer. Matthew upholds his clients’ rights to fair and speedy trials, just punishment, and not having rights violated. He’s ready to help you in your sex crimes case. He understands what’s at stake.

More About Matthew Ness

Why Choose Worgul, Sarna & Ness?

  • An Experienced Defense Team: Our attorneys possess an extensive background and a proven track record in defending against sex crime allegations, including aggravated indecent assault. We understand the sensitivity and complexity of these charges and provide a vigorous defense tailored to each client’s unique situation.
  • Comprehensive Legal Knowledge: Our attorneys possess an extensive background and a proven track record in defending against sex crime allegations, including aggravated indecent assault. We understand the sensitivity and complexity of these charges and provide a vigorous defense tailored to each client’s unique situation.
  • Client-Centered Approach: We believe every case is as unique as the client behind it. Our defense strategies are custom-crafted to align with individual circumstances and objectives, ensuring a personalized and potent legal representation.
  • Aggressive & Trial Ready Mindset: From plea negotiations to proving your innocence in court, we’re prepared to confront any scenario, and our advocacy is unwavering. We engage in rigorous preparations that may include mock trials, jury research, and crafting compelling narratives that spotlight the prosecution’s weaknesses, all to align with your best interests.
  • Clear Communication & Statewide Services: We are available to anyone accused of sex crimes in Pennsylvania and prioritize clear, consistent communication, ensuring you are informed and empowered throughout your legal journey.
  • Post-Trial Advocacy: Our dedication doesn’t end with a verdict. We remain at your side, advocating for your interests through sentencing mitigation, appeals, and post-conviction relief efforts, dedicated to securing the fairest treatment under the law. Our post-trial advocacy is about fighting for justice beyond the courtroom and ensuring that every legal avenue is explored to protect your future.

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Absolutely amazing, substantially better results than what I thought, very aggressive in defending people, would 110% recommend these guys every time!


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Notable Case Results

Acquittal for Client Charged With Multiple Sex Crimes

When an Allegheny County man was falsely accused of raping his minor daughter, he trusted the accomplished sex crimes defense attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, LLC to protect his reputation.

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Contact A Pennsylvania Sexting Lawyer Now

If you are an adult or minor facing criminal charges for sexting, do not hesitate to call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC for help. While the situation may be uncomfortable, and you may be worried about your reputation, our legal team is here to help. We will protect your rights during a law enforcement investigation, guide you through the legal process with compassion, and fight hard for the best possible outcome in your case.

To discuss how a Pennsylvania sex crime lawyer can help, contact us at (412) 281-2146 to schedule a free case assessment.