Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of Washington

Currently, Washington State does not a have a specific STATEstatute for sexting offenses. In general, anyone - regardless of age - who produces, 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, may be incarcerated and will generally be required to register as a sex offender.

Legislative Summary

Under Washington law, individuals who distribute, produce or possess a sexually explicit image of a minor could be charged with a felony under the State’s child pornography statutes. If the individual convicted they could receive up to 10 years in jail as well as be required to register as a sex offender.

Law and Punishment

In general, under Washington law it is a criminal offense to knowingly:

  • Develop, duplicate, publish, print, disseminate, exchange, finance, attempt to finance, or sell any image that depicts a minor engaged in an act of sexually explicit conduct; or
  • Possess with intent to develop, duplicate, publish, print, disseminate, exchange, or sell any visual or printed matter that depicts a minor engaged in an act of sexually explicit conduct is guilty of a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
  • Distribute image that depicts a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct is guilty of a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
  • Possess an image depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct is guilty of a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.
  • A person who, in the course of processing or producing visual or printed matter either privately or commercially, has reasonable cause to believe that the visual or printed matter submitted for processing or producing depicts a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct has a duty to immediately report such incident, or cause a report to be made, to the proper law enforcement agency. Persons failing to do so are guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

If a person is convicted of a felony sex crime then they will generally be required to register as a sex offender.

sobering reality

Separate felony convictions for creation, distribution or possession.

Up to 10 years in jail.

Up to $20,000 fines.

Registration as a sex offender.

Latest News Concerning Sexting in Washington

Ex-Hoquiam teacher sentenced for sexting girls

Seattle Times | March 29, 2012

St. Maries Student Accused of Sexting

The Spokesman-Review | June 1, 2011

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