Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of Ohio

Currently, a minor who is caught creating, distributing or Ohio possessing a sexually explicit image of a minor could be prosecuted under the State of Ohio’s child pornography laws and if convicted, required to register as a sex offender. There is proposed legislation that would reduce the severity of the crime for minors caught sexting to a misdemeanor and no requirement to register as a sex offender.

Legislative Summary

Ohio lawmakers have proposed a sexting statute so that minors and other teenagers would not be subject to the harsh punishments associated with a felony conviction under the child pornography laws. However, the attempts at getting sexting reduced to a misdemeanor offense have not yet been successful. Therefore, currently under Ohio law if a teenager is caught sexting they could be prosecuted under Ohio’s child pornography laws.

Law and Punishment

In general, under Ohio’s child pornography laws it is a felony offense to:

  • Create, record, film, develop reproduce or publish any material that shows a minor participating in a sexual activity.
  • Sell or advertise any material of a minor engaged in a sexual act.
  • Knowingly solicit, receive, purchase, exchange, possess or control any material that shows a minor participating or engaging in a sexual activity.
  • Photograph any minor in the state of nudity, or create, transfer, or produce any material that shows a minor in a state of nudity.

If convicted could receive up to 8 years in jail and/or a fine and will need to register as a sex offender.

sobering reality

Charged with a felony.

Up to 8 years in jail.

Register as a sex offender.

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