Skip to Content

Is It a Crime to Text Sexy Photos of Yourself?


Being on the sex offender registry is expensive and carries a social stigma.  Even if you fully support the idea that registering as a sex offender for life should be part of the punishment for offenses that involve sexual contact with minors or forced sexual contact with victims of any age, it seems unfair to require decades of sex offender registration for people who did nothing but speak of sexual matters in an inappropriate way.  You may be able to persuade the judge of your position, especially if the evidence is unambiguous that you never made physical contact with a victim.  Sexuality is such a controversial subject that judges may be inclined to hand down the harshest sentences they can in all sex-related cases, to make the public feel safe.  As a defendant, you are legally considered innocent until proven guilty, but even if you admit to certain types of sexual misconduct, your chances of avoiding a draconian punishment are best if you hire a Texas sex crime attorney.

Spearman Woman Pleads Guilty to Sending Inappropriate Images to Teen but Avoids Sex Offender Registration

In 2014, Melissa Sutterfield had been teaching in the Spearman Independent School District for more than a decade.  She started exchanging text messages with a 17-year-old boy who, years earlier, had been a student in her class when he was in elementary school.  She sent him at least one sexually suggestive image of herself before the teen and his mother notified law enforcement.

Sutterfield, who was 42 years old at the time, pleaded guilty to charges of having an improper relationship with a student.  Pursuant to her plea agreement, she served five years of probation and paid a $2,000 fine.  She also agreed to the revocation of her teaching license.  She did not, however, have to register as a sex offender.

Although Sutterfield was able to avoid some of the stigma associated with a sex crime conviction, she still had to experience some of the consequences for sex offenses.  For example, the court ordered her to submit to lie detector tests and to undergo sex offender counseling.  She did not, however, have to notify law enforcement every time she moved to a new residence or changed jobs.  Police did not notify the public when she moved into town.  Except for a years-old news article on the Amarillo Globe-News website, Google is not eager to tell the world about her past actions.

Texting a risqué photo of yourself to someone you know is not a suitable relationship partner is a mistake, but it is not a violent crime, and it does not mean that you are a monster.  A criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid excessive punishments.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Sex Crime Cases

A criminal defense attorney can help you if you are facing criminal charges because of online communication of a sexual nature. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC in Dallas, Texas to discuss your case.

Share To: