847.0141 Sexting; prohibited acts; penalties.—
(1) A minor commits the offense of sexting if he or she knowingly:
(a) Uses a computer, or any other device capable of electronic data transmission or distribution, to transmit or distribute to another minor any photograph or video of any person which depicts nudity, as defined in s. 847.001, and is harmful to minors, as defined in s. 847.001.
(b) Possesses a photograph or video of any person that was transmitted or distributed by another minor which depicts nudity, as defined in s. 847.001, and is harmful to minors, as defined in s. 847.001. A minor does not violate this paragraph if all of the following apply:
1. The minor did not solicit the photograph or video.
2. The minor took reasonable steps to report the photograph or video to the minor’s legal guardian or to a school or law enforcement official.
3. The minor did not transmit or distribute the photograph or video to a third party.
(2)(a) The transmission or distribution of multiple photographs or videos prohibited by paragraph (1)(a) is a single offense if the photographs or videos were transmitted or distributed within the same 24-hour period.
(b) The possession of multiple photographs or videos that were transmitted or distributed by a minor prohibited by paragraph (1)(b) is a single offense if the photographs or videos were transmitted or distributed by a minor in the same 24-hour period.
(3) A minor who violates subsection (1):
(a) Commits a noncriminal violation for a first violation. The minor must sign and accept a citation indicating a promise to appear before the juvenile court. In lieu of appearing in court, the minor may complete 8 hours of community service work, pay a $60 civil penalty, or participate in a cyber-safety program if such a program is locally available. The minor must satisfy any penalty within 30 days after receipt of the citation.
1. A citation issued to a minor under this subsection must be in a form prescribed by the issuing law enforcement agency, must be signed by the minor, and must contain all of the following:
a. The date and time of issuance.
b. The name and address of the minor to whom the citation is issued.
c. A thumbprint of the minor to whom the citation is issued.
d. Identification of the noncriminal violation and the time it was committed.
e. The facts constituting reasonable cause.
f. The specific section of law violated.
g. The name and authority of the citing officer.
h. The procedures that the minor must follow to contest the citation, perform the required community service, pay the civil penalty, or participate in a cyber-safety program.
2. If the citation is contested and the court determines that the minor committed a noncriminal violation under this section, the court may order the minor to perform 8 hours of community service, pay a $60 civil penalty, or participate in a cyber-safety program, or any combination thereof.
3. A minor who fails to comply with the citation waives his or her right to contest it, and the court may impose any of the penalties identified in subparagraph 2. or issue an order to show cause. Upon a finding of contempt, the court may impose additional age-appropriate penalties, which may include issuance of an order to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to withhold issuance of, or suspend the driver license or driving privilege of, the minor for 30 consecutive days. However, the court may not impose incarceration.
(b) Commits a misdemeanor of the first degree for a violation that occurs after the minor has been found to have committed a noncriminal violation for sexting or has satisfied the penalty imposed in lieu of a court appearance as provided in paragraph (a), punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(c) Commits a felony of the third degree for a violation that occurs after the minor has been found to have committed a misdemeanor of the first degree for sexting, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(4) This section does not prohibit the prosecution of a minor for a violation of any law of this state if the photograph or video that depicts nudity also includes the depiction of sexual conduct or sexual excitement, and does not prohibit the prosecution of a minor for stalking under s. 784.048.
(5) As used in this section, the term “found to have committed” means a determination of guilt that is the result of a plea or trial, or a finding of delinquency that is the result of a plea or an adjudicatory hearing, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld.
(6) Eighty percent of all civil penalties received by a juvenile court pursuant to this section shall be remitted by the clerk of the court to the county commission to provide training on cyber-safety for minors. The remaining 20 percent shall remain with the clerk of the court to defray administrative costs.
History.—s. 1, ch. 2011-180; s. 85, ch. 2012-5; s. 3, ch. 2015-133; s. 88, ch. 2019-167; s. 17, ch. 2022-165; s. 12, ch. 2022-212.
Sexual Cyber-harassment (takes effect 10/01/2015): “…a person who willfully and maliciously sexually cyberharasses another person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree…” “‘Sexually cyberharass’ means to publish a sexually explicit image of a person that contains or conveys the personal identification information of the depicted person to an Internet website without the depicted person’s consent, for no legitimate purpose, with the intent of causing substantial emotional distress to the depicted person.”
Punishment for the first violation of receiving or sending a text containing nudity and is harmful to minors may be either eight hours of community service or instead of community service, a $60 fine. The minor can also be ordered to participate in a training class on sexting instead of, or in addition to, the community service or fine. The second offense is a misdemeanor and a third offense is a felony. In cases where multiple images were sent, all those sent within twenty-four hours are considered as a single offense. If the minor who received the images did not ask for them, reported the incident to an authority figure, and did not distribute the received image, the will not be charged with a sexting offense.