Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of Missouri

Under Missouri law if a minor is caught possessing or Missouridistributing sexually explicit images of a minor (including images of themselves) then such minor shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, if it is their first offense, and may be punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If convicted, the minor will not need to register as a sex offender in the State of Missouri.

Legislative Summary

In 2009, Missouri passed a law amending the State’s child pornography laws so that any minor who gets caught distributing or possessing explicit images of a minor engaged in sexual activity would not be guilty of a felony and need to register as a sex offender. Before the law passed minors, who were caught sending or receiving sexually explicit images of minors, would have been subject to the State’s child pornography laws. If convicted, an individual would have been charged with a felony and would have had to registered as a sex offender.

Law and Punishment

The current Missouri sexting statute generally states that:

  • Under Missouri law it is a Class A misdemeanor for a minor to possess or distribute sexually explicit images of a minor, if it is the minor’s first offense.
    • A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $1,000.
    • If a minor is caught possessing or distributing a sexually explicit image of a minor a second time, the crime is increased to a Class D felony, which is punishable by up to 4 years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Under Missouri law, the minor will not need to register as a sex offender if convicted.
  • If an adult (someone over the age of 18) is caught possessing, distributing or promoting a sexually explicit image of a minor, then such person will be tried under the State’s child pornography laws and if convicted, could be guilty of a felony and need to register as a sex offender. The penalties for adults is increased if the adult persuades, coerces or entices the minor to engage in the sexually explicit act or if the adult tries to use the sexually explicit images to make a profit.

sobering reality

Conviction of class A misdemeanor may result in jail time of up to 1 year for first offense.

Sexting law only applies to those teens under 18.

Disclosure of the crime on job applications and school admissions.

Latest News Concerning Sexting in Missouri

Man faces child porn charges in blackmail scheme

Kansas City Star | April 8, 2011

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