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Arrested for Sexting in Clearwater, FL?

The Sexting Jurisdictional Issue

Florida Statute Section 847.0141 states that a person under the age of 18 can be charged with a sexting offense if they knowingly use a computer, or any other capable device, to transmit or distribute to another minor any photograph or video that depicts nudity and is harmful to minors.

While this offense may seem “victimless,” the Florida Statute goes on to outline punishments, including:

  • A minor who commits a noncriminal violation for a first violation is punishable by 8 hours of community service.
  • The court may also order the minor to participate in suitable training or instruction in lieu of or in addition to, community service or a fine.

Committed to Fighting Sexting Charges

Attorney Michael Kenny recently had a sexting charge dismissed in court. The statute as written cannot be enforced. There is no jurisdiction to prosecute a “sexting first offense.” That is because in Florida, the Circuit Court has exclusive jurisdiction for all juvenile criminal matters except traffic offenses. The County Court also has jurisdiction for juveniles in traffic matters only.

A sexting charge is a non-criminal offense for the first violation. Therefore it cannot be prosecuted as a sex crime in Circuit Court. However, because a sexting charge is also NOT a traffic offense, there is no jurisdiction in County Court either. That means, as currently written, the sexting statute is a violation without a home. Since there is no jurisdiction in either County Court or Circuit Court, a sexting first offense must be dismissed.

Let our Clearwater criminal defense attorneys put their considerable knowledge to work for you. Call us today at (727) 205-0968 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation at one of our three convenient office locations. Bauer Crider Kenny & Parry proudly serves Clearwater, Tampa, St. Pete, and Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough Counties.

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