Will I Go to Jail for Sending Lewd Pictures in Utah?
Facing criminal charges for an alleged sexual offense in Utah can be scary and potentially devastating. This is especially true today when sending and receiving sexually-charged images is easier than ever. Sending a lewd picture in Utah can lead to severe criminal consequences, depending on your case’s circumstances. If you or a loved one was charged with lewdness after allegedly sending lewd pictures in Utah, you need assistance from a Salt Lake City, UT sex crime defense attorney. Darwin Overson from Overson Law, PLLC, invites you to keep reading as we discuss whether you can go to jail for sending lewd pictures in Utah.
Will You Get Jail Time for Sending Lewd Pictures in Utah?
Today’s technology has made it possible for millions of people to send pictures over their phones, computers, tablets, and other devices. However, not all images are the same or are intended for the same purposes. Unfortunately, these technological mediums are used to send lewd pictures. A lewd picture is an image transmitted through a digital form (text, chat, image app) intended to excite or cause sexual desire on the receiver or the sender. These pictures may not necessarily include full nudity, but they are indecent, obscene, or lascivious.
When these pictures are exchanged with the consent of everyone involved, there is nothing illegal about it. However, many cases involve victims who receive pictures without consent or without asking for them.
In Utah, lewdness is a criminal offense that can have potentially devastating criminal consequences. According to Utah Code § 76-9-702, you can be charged with lewdness if you knowingly perform sexual intercourse, expose your genitals, masturbate, or engage in any other lewd acts in front of a minor knowing it will alarm or afront.
Engaging in this type of conduct can be particularly damaging because of its potential criminal consequences. If you are convicted of lewdness in Utah, you can face jail or prison time and steep criminal fines. If you or a loved one were charged with lewdness in Utah, you need to hire a Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer immediately.
What Are the Penalties for Sending Lewd Pictures in Utah?
As we mentioned, a criminal conviction can lead to devastating penalties. Typically, Utah divides crimes into two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are subdivided into three classes: A, B, and C, respectively. Felonies – the most severe charges – are divided into first, second, and third degrees. Your lewdness charges in Utah can vary, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Typically, a first lewdness offense in Utah is a Class B misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a Class B misdemeanor, you can face up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. However, you can face more severe charges if there are aggravating factors. For instance, you can face third-degree charges if you were a sex offender or had previous convictions for the lewdness of involving a child by the time of the alleged offense.
As we mentioned, felony charges carry the most severe criminal penalties in Utah. If convicted, you can face up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in criminal fines. There are additional consequences you can face if convicted for sending lewd pictures. One of the most devastating consequences of a criminal conviction is having a criminal record. A criminal conviction on your record can last for years after your conviction. A criminal record can make it challenging to get a new job, apply for a personal loan, or rent a home.
Moreover, you may be registered as a sex offender, depending on the circumstances of your case. Being a registered sex offender in Utah can be devastating and can turn your life upside-down instantly. It is always in your best interest to hire a Utah criminal defense attorney who can guide you and let you know what to expect from your case.
Can I Defend Against Charges for Sending Lewd Pictures?
To be convicted of lewdness in Utah, the prosecutor and the police have to meet specific elements. Different from other types of interventions, a police officer is not required to have a warrant to arrest you for lewdness. If a police officer saw you allegedly committing an act of lewdness, they can arrest you. Moreover, if a police officer has probable cause to believe you are engaging in a lewd act, they can proceed to arrest you. If a police officer arrests you without having probable cause for lewdness, they would be infringing your constitutional rights. In order to formally arrest you and charge you, a police officer must make a legal arrest based on probable cause – unless the lewd act has been committed in their presence.
The prosecution in your case has a steep burden of proof to meet. Under our constitution, all defendants are innocent until proven guilty. This means the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime you were charged with. To be convicted for lewdness, the prosecutor has to prove you engaged in the act of sodomy, sexual intercourse, or exposure – among other sexual acts. Furthermore, the prosecutor must also prove you acted in a public area or place where you know it will cause alarm to a person who is at least fourteen years old.
Cases of lewd pictures may involve elements such as the receiving party’s age, consent, and other elements that the prosecution needs to prove to establish lewdness or other sexual misconduct. If the prosecutor is unable to show the existence of all the elements of your alleged offense, you cannot be convicted. No matter how small your case may seem, it is always in your best interest to consult with an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer.
Experienced Criminal Defense Handling Lewdness Cases in Utah
Being charged with a sex crime in Utah is a serious matter. If you or a loved one was charged with a sex crime in Utah, you need to hire a West Jordan, UT criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A criminal conviction for a sex crime in Utah can be devastating. That is why at Overson Law, PLLC, we will fight aggressively and tirelessly to protect your rights at all times. To learn more about all of our services, call our law offices today at (801) 758-2287.