These cases where you're accused of sexting with a minor are very serious. Suppose you send any body part nudity to a minor or worse yet.
In that case, you have a minor send you some nude information, whether it is photographs or video – you're putting yourself in a position where you'll likely get prosecuted for a serious sex crime.
You could put yourself in a position where you end up having to register as a sex offender, and depending on the circumstances of the case, it could be filed either at the state or federal level.
You don't want to be in a position where you're producing child pornography or have someone send you videos of themselves, and you know the person is under 18. That's where you start to get into real problems.
So, my best advice to you is, if you or a loved one is charged with sexting with a minor, hire a lawyer right away. Even if you're being investigated, I would immediately hire a lawyer.
I get a lot of these phone calls where people are calling me. They've done something stupid – they've sexted with a minor, or they've had them send photographs or pictures, and they want to resolve the case over the phone with me.
In other words, they want me to say, one way or another, whether they will be prosecuted or not. And, of course, I can't do that because I don't know what information the police have. I don't even know if the police are involved yet.
Investigation of Sexting
What I see happening a lot is these minors are doing these things on their phone, and then their parents get ahold of the phone, and then they call the police:
- The police come in and try to talk to the minor and get information;
- They will get the phone and try to get information from that;
- They're going to try to trace the IP address;
- They will do whatever it takes if they think there's a sexual predator on the other end of the line.
I can't accurately predict what will happen unless I know what they're doing and what information and evidence they have.
But, what I can tell you is, for your peace of mind, if you know you've done something criminal in that regard, you want to make sure that you have an attorney working for you to help you make the right moves right from the beginning.
Review of the Evidence
I've handled many minor sexting cases. I have to get all of the facts and details from you. But don't just use the consultation to gather information. Use the consultation to gather information and determine whether you want to hire me to help you, even if no charges are filed against you.
You want to hire a lawyer. You want to have somebody there. If something does happen, who knows what they're doing and can help you get the best possible result? The types of things that prosecutors look at regarding good and bad factors regarding sexting with a minor case and will look to see if you have a prior criminal record.
If you have a clean record, a family, and a job, that's a big plus in your favor. They will also examine whether you were trying to meet with the minor.
Factors Considered by Prosecutors
If you're trying to meet with a minor, they think you might want to have sex with the minor; now, you're in a much worse position, even though you didn't have sex with a minor. California Penal Code 288.4 PC defines the crime of arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes.
If, on the other hand, you're sending pictures back and forth, that's a different scenario—still a crime.
Still serious, but not at the same level as somebody trying to meet with somebody underage for sexual contact with them. They'll also look at the age difference:
- How old is the victim?
- How old are you?
- Consent doesn't matter.
Someone who is under the age of 18 in California can't consent to some sex act. So, even if they're cooperative, that doesn't negate the crime. So the offense is still there, and it has got to be dealt with.
Fight or Negotiate a Plea Bargain?
It's my job as your attorney to, number one, see if we have a defense to the case where they can't prove that you're the one sexting or they can't prove something else.
For example, if you knew the person was under 18 or tried to mitigate things, if they have that evidence and can prove the case against you, what can we do to help you? We can get character letters. We can get proof that you have a job.
In other words, we can show the other side of you because when they do this sexting with minor cases, it's all geared against the particular person.
Nothing is looked at as the good side of the person. So, it's my job to determine if we can get some good mitigating information to the prosecutor.
Hence, we end up getting you a fair result that keeps you out of prison, keeps you out of jail, and hopefully protects against sex registration if that's possible.
These are all things we look at when defending these sex crime cases. So, you've come to the right place. I've been doing this for 30 years. My name is Ron Hedding. I've worked for the district attorney's office. I've been defending people just like you since the early 1990s. So, pick up the phone now. Make the call, and we'll work on your case.