Kernersville, NC asked in Criminal Law and Sexual Harassment for North Carolina

Q: If an ex bf and I are over 18 and he threatens to post naked pictures of me as revenge can I get in trouble for

Being 16 at the time I sent them?

1 Lawyer Answer
Bill Powers
Bill Powers
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: That is a VERY tricky area under the law. The inquiry is complicated because posting the materials could possibly trigger:

1. G.S. 14-190.5A

A person guilty of this offense:

(1) knowingly

(2) discloses an image of another person

(3) with the intent to

(a) coerce, harass, intimidate, demean, humiliate, or cause financial loss to the depicted person, or

(b) cause others to coerce, harass, intimidate, demean, humiliate, or cause financial loss to the depicted person, and

(4) the depicted person is identifiable from the disclosed image or from information offered in connection with it,

(5) the depicted person’s intimate parts are exposed or the depicted person is engaged in sexual conduct in the disclosed image,

(6) the person discloses the image without the affirmative consent of the depicted person, and

(7) the person discloses the image under circumstances such that he or she knew or should have known that the depicted person had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

G.S. 14-190.5A(b).


If the defendant is 18 or older at the time of the offense, Class H felony. G.S. 14-190.5A(c)(1). If the defendant is less than 18 years old at the time of the offense, a first offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor and a second or subsequent offense is a Class H felony. G.S. 14-190.5A(c)(2) & (3).

2. Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

North Carolina relies on North Carolina General Statutes §14-190.16, §14-190.17, and §14-190.17A to govern sexting behavior involving minors. Under these North Carolina statutes, minors who have engaged in sexting behavior are considered to have engaged in sexual exploitation of a minor, commonly known as child pornography.

The distribution of sexually explicit images amongst minors is considered child pornography, which is a felony. Since North Carolina does not have specific laws that address sexting behavior, sexting is considered the distribution of child pornography. Anyone who participates in sexting can be charged and convicted under child pornography laws, including minors.

Furthermore, North Carolina law does not distinguish between or protect personal sexually explicit material versus non-personal sexually explicit material.

Therefore, a minor who is in possession of THEIR OWN SEXUALLY EXPLICIT photo is still subject to child pornography laws.

In North Carolina, where the age of sexual consent is sixteen years old, it would be considered legal for a minor aged 16 or over to engage in physical sexual behavior, while it still considered illegal for a minor aged 16 or over to engage in sexting behavior.

Bill Powers

Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyer

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