Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of South Carolina

Currently, in the State of South Carolina anyone - South Carolinaregardless of age - who creates, distributes or possesses an image of a minor engaged in a sexually explicit act may be prosecuted under the State’s child pornography laws and if convicted, will generally be required to register as a sex offender. However, there is proposed legislation that seeks to reduce the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor for children between the ages of 12 and 17.

Legislative Summary

South Carolina has proposed a bill to specifically handle punishment for children who engage in the practice of sexting. However, until the proposed bill becomes law, a minor who is caught creating, distributing, or possessing a sexually explicit image of another minor could be charged under the State’s child pornography statutes. If the minor is convicted of a felony they will generally be required to register as a sex offender. However, until the proposed bill becomes law, a minor who is caught creating, distributing, or possessing a sexually explicit image of another minor could be charged under the State’s child pornography statutes. If the minor is convicted of a felony they will generally be required to register as a sex offender.

Law and Punishment

In general under the South Carolina child pornography statute:

  • It is second degree sexual exploitation of a minor if a person:
    • Records, photographs, films, develops, duplicates, produces, or creates digital electronic file material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity; or
    • Distributes, transports, exhibits, receives, sells, purchases, exchanges, or solicits material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity.
    • Punishable by up to 10 years in jail.
  • It is third degree sexual exploitation of a minor if a person:
    • Possesses an image of a minor engaged in a sexual act.
    • Punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

If convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor the offender must register as a sex offender.

sobering reality

Separate felony convictions for possession, distribution or creation of child pornography.

Up to 10 years in jail per conviction.

Register as a sex offender.

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