Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of Arizona

ArizonaArizona has a specific “sexting” law that applies to minors only. In general, a minor who engages in sexting with another minor could be guilty of a petty offense or class 3 misdemeanor depending upon the facts and circumstances. Adults over the age of 18 who engage in sexting with a minor face prosecution under the state’s strict child pornography laws.

Legislative Summary

The new sexting legislation only applies to minors. If you are 18 years of age and you record, film, photograph, develop or duplicate, distribute, transport, exhibit, receive, sell, purchase, electronically transmit, possess, or exchange any visual depiction in which a minor is involved in exploitative exhibition or other sexual conduct, you could be charged with sexual exploitation of a minor which carries a prison term of up to 17 years for each image transmitted. In general, probation is not available for those prosecuted under the statute.

Law and Punishment

The new sexting law applies to minors under the age of 18 who knowingly or intentionally use an electronic communication device (e.g., computer, phone, etc.) to transmit or display a sexually explicit depiction of a minor to one other person (who is a minor).

  • If the image is displayed or shown to one other person then the minor would be guilty of a petty offense.
  • If sent to more than 1 person or displayed on a site that can be viewed by more than 1 person then the minor would be guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor which is punishable by 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
  • Repeat offenders will be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 4 months in jail and/or $750 fine.

If a minor is caught possessing an image of a minor engaged in a sexual act, the minor would be guilty of a petty offense.

If charged under the sexting statute a minor may be able to complete a diversion program.

In general, in a diversion program a probation officer will be assigned to the case and explain the program to the minor. The program will usually require the minor to participate in a certain amount of community service, and may also require restitution to the victim and educational classes. Upon completion of the program, the case will be dropped by the State.

Minors will generally not be prosecuted under the law if the child:

  • Does not solicit the message,
  • Takes reasonable steps to destroy, delete or eliminate any images sent,
  • Reports the transmission to a parent, guardian, school or law enforcement official and,
  • Does not forward the message on to any other person.

sobering reality

Petty offense is still a crime.

Possible jail time for wide distribution.

If you are 18 years old then no protection under the Sexting law.

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