From e-mails and social media to dating and shopping, the internet has become part of our daily lives. However, many people use the web to commit sex crimes. Unfortunately, innocent people can be charged for accidentally clicking on a forbidden link or even looking up certain phrases on a search engine. A conviction for an internet sex crime can lead to jail or prison time, fines, and registration as a sex offender in Tennessee.
Tennessee Revenge Porn Laws
Modern romantic relationships often involve both partners sharing illicit photos and videos of each other through texts or other electronic means. But when a relationship turns sour, sometimes one partner shares their ex-partner’s illicit images to certain people such as family members or close friends or even on social media for the world to see.
This is known as “revenge porn.” While many states have enacted laws addressing this specific issue, others do not.
Tennessee does have its own laws regarding revenge porn. Sharing an image of an identifiable person’s intimate part or parts in order to cause emotional distress is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum jail term of 11 months and 29 days and a fine not exceeding $2,500.
Other Internet Sex Crimes in TN
The truth is many internet sex crimes often involve children and, understandably, this is a top priority for law enforcement. However, policing the internet is tricky. We recently represented a young man who was accused of uploading child pornography to a phone cloud account. After diligent representation including hiring our own digital forensic expert, we were able to show that he was innocent and the charges were dismissed.
The following types of internet sex crimes in Tennessee include, but not limited to, the following:
- Aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor - Knowingly purchase, sell, promote, distribute, or exchange sexually-illicit material of a minor is a Class C felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years and a fine no more than $10,000. However, if this crime involves more than 25 images/videos, then it is a Class B felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to 30 years and a maximum fine of $25,000.
- Especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor - Knowingly use, employ, promote, transport, assist, or allow a minor to participate in a sexually-illicit performance or production is a Class B felony.
- Soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor through electronic means - Knowingly induce, hire, persuade, command, or otherwise cause a minor to engage in a sexual act through electronic communication and observed by another person is a Class B felony if the offender is at least 18 years of age.
- Solicitation of a minor - Knowingly induce, hire, persuade, command, request, or invite a minor in order to commit a sex crime is a felony classification lower than the most serious crime solicited. However, if the offense solicited was a Class E felony, then solicitation of a minor will be a Class A misdemeanor.
As you can see, sex crimes--whether conducted online or in-person--in Tennessee are punishable by harsh criminal penalties. Additionally, mere accusations can lead to significant, if not permanent, damage to your personal life and professional reputation.
Since we are all in our homes to avoid the spread of COVID-19, our legal team at Larsen Law PLLC expects to see a rise in internet sex crimes. Law enforcement officials will be more watchful of illegal online activity because there is a drastic drop in other crimes such as DUIs and other public-related crimes.
If you have been accused of an internet sex crime in Franklin or Nashville, contact us today at (615) 933-2454 and schedule a free consultation.