Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of Maryland

The State of Maryland could prosecute individuals, Marylandregardless of age, who are caught creating, distributing or possessing sexually explicit images of a minor under the State’s child pornography laws. If convicted, individuals will generally be required to register as a sex offender.

Legislative Summary

In general, the distribution, possession or creation of an image containing a minor engaged in a sexual activity would constitute a felony under the Maryland child pornography statute. Exceptions to the law for minors do not exist and as such two minors who send each other sexually explicit images of themselves could be prosecuted under the State’s child pornography laws and if convicted, receive jail time and will generally need to register as a sex offender.

Law and Punishment

In general, under Maryland a person cannot:

  • Cause, induce, solicit or knowingly allow a minor to be the subject of a sexually explicit image.
  • Photograph or film a minor engaged in a sexual act or sexual conduct.
  • Use a computer to depict or describe a minor engaging in a sexual act or sexual conduct.
  • Knowingly promote, distribute or possess with the intent to distribute an image of a minor engaged in a sexual act or sexual conduct.
  • Use a computer to knowingly compile, enter, transmit, publish information for the purpose of engaging in, facilitating, encouraging or soliciting sexual conduct of or with a minor.
  • Penalty for violating the statute is up to 10 years in jail and/or a $25,000 for a first offense.
  • Possession of sexually explicit materials where the minor is under the age of 16 is a misdemeanor and subject to possible jail time of up to 5 years and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
  • Repeat offenders face longer prison sentences and higher fines.

There have been no legislative proposals to create a specific sexting statute as done in other states.

sobering reality

Charged with a felony.

Up to 10 years in jail

Up to a $25,000 fine.

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