NRS 200.737 - Nevada’s "Teen Sexting" Laws

NRS 200.737 is the Nevada law which prohibits minors under the age of 18 to sext. “Sexting” is the sending of sexual images via electronic means, including cell phone text messaging or e-mail. The statute states:

A minor shall not knowingly and willfully use an electronic communication device to transmit or distribute a sexual image of himself or herself to another person.

“Sexual image” under NRS 200.737 means any visual depiction, including, without limitation, any photograph or video, of a minor simulating or engaging in sexual conduct or of a minor as the subject of a sexual portrayal.

teenage girl looking at green cell phone (NRS 200.737)
Teen “Sexting” is a crime in Las Vegas under NRS 200.737.

What Nevada's teen sexting law prohibits under NRS 200.737

NRS 200.737 makes it unlawful for a minor to knowingly and willfully:

  • Use an electronic communication device to transmit or distribute a sexual image of himself or herself to another person;
  • Use an electronic communication device to transmit or distribute a sexual image of another minor who is older than, the same age as, or not more than 4 years younger than the minor transmitting the sexual image; or
  • Possess a sexual image that was transmitted or distributed as described above if the minor who is the subject of the sexual image is older than, the same age as or not more than 4 years younger than the minor who possesses the sexual image.

Before the passage of NRS 200.737 in 2011, teenagers could only be charged with sexting under Nevada's child pornography laws.

This left prosecutors without options to deter sexting by teens other than by subjecting them to the same severe consequences as adults who make and distribute child pornography.

Penalties for Teen Sexting under NRS 202.737

If you're a teen, a first offense for sending a sexual image of yourself or any offense for possessing a sexual image of someone else is a not a crime.

It can, however, get you labeled a “child in need of supervision” by the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services. You may be ordered to pay a fine or perform community service, but will not be labeled a “delinquent child” and will not be subject to registration or community notification as a juvenile sex offender.

You commit a “delinquent act” however when:

  • You commit a second or subsequent offense of sexting an image of yourself, or
  • You commit any offense that involves transmitting or distributing a sexual image of another minor, as described above.

A delinquent act is the juvenile equivalent of a misdemeanor and the court may order your detention for up to 6 months at the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center in Las Vegas or another juvenile detention facility.

However, you will not be considered a sex offender or be subject to registration or community notification as a juvenile sex offender.

Defenses to Nevada's Teen Sexting Law

Fortunately, there are a number of defenses that can apply to Nevada teen sexting offenses. Common defenses include (but are not limited to):

  • You didn't know you had the image on your phone or computer;
  • You didn't intentionally send the image;
  • You weren't the one that took or sent the photo;
  • The person in the photo wasn't a minor;
  • The person in the photo was more than 4 years younger than you; or
  • You did not request the image, never shared it, and promptly destroyed it or reported it to police or school officials.

Call us for help…

If you or your child has been charged with sending or possessing sexual images of a minor under NRS 200.737, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

Our caring Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada criminal defense lawyers understand what it's like to be a teen. Innocent people get accused of sexting. And anyone can make a mistake.

To schedule your free consultation, call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or fill out the form on this page.

One of our Reno or Las Vegas criminal lawyers will get back to you promptly to discuss the best defenses to your Nevada sexting charges.

Legal References

NRS 200.737  Use of electronic communication device by minor to possess, transmit or distribute sexual images of minor; penalties.

      1.  A minor shall not knowingly and willfully use an electronic communication device to transmit or distribute a sexual image of himself or herself to another person.

      2.  A minor shall not knowingly and willfully use an electronic communication device to transmit or distribute a sexual image of another minor who is older than, the same age as or not more than 4 years younger than the minor transmitting the sexual image.

      3.  A minor shall not knowingly and willfully possess a sexual image that was transmitted or distributed as described in subsection 1 or 2 if the minor who is the subject of the sexual image is older than, the same age as or not more than 4 years younger than the minor who possesses the sexual image. It is an affirmative defense to a violation charged pursuant to this subsection if the minor who possesses a sexual image:

      (a) Did not knowingly purchase, procure, solicit or request the sexual image or take any other action to cause the sexual image to come into his or her possession; and

      (b) Promptly and in good faith, and without retaining or allowing any person, other than a law enforcement agency or a school official, to access any sexual image:

             (1) Took reasonable steps to destroy each image; or

             (2) Reported the matter to a law enforcement agency or a school official and gave the law enforcement agency or school official access to each image.

      4.  A minor who violates subsection 1:

      (a) For the first violation:

             (1) Is a child in need of supervision, as that term is used in title 5 of NRS, and is not a delinquent child; and

             (2) Is not considered a sex offender or juvenile sex offender and is not subject to registration or community notification as a juvenile sex offender pursuant to title 5 of NRS, or as a sex offender pursuant to NRS 179D.010 to 179D.550, inclusive.

      (b) For the second or a subsequent violation:

             (1) Commits a delinquent act, and the court may order the detention of the minor in the same manner as if the minor had committed an act that would have been a misdemeanor if committed by an adult; and

             (2) Is not considered a sex offender or juvenile sex offender and is not subject to registration or community notification as a juvenile sex offender pursuant to title 5 of NRS, or as a sex offender pursuant to NRS 179D.010 to 179D.550, inclusive.

      5.  A minor who violates subsection 2:

      (a) Commits a delinquent act, and the court may order the detention of the minor in the same manner as if the minor had committed an act that would have been a misdemeanor if committed by an adult; and

      (b) Is not considered a sex offender or juvenile sex offender and is not subject to registration or community notification as a juvenile sex offender pursuant to title 5 of NRS, or as a sex offender pursuant to NRS 179D.010 to 179D.550, inclusive.

      6.  A minor who violates subsection 3:

      (a) Is a child in need of supervision, as that term is used in title 5 of NRS, and is not a delinquent child; and

      (b) Is not considered a sex offender or juvenile sex offender and is not subject to registration or community notification as a juvenile sex offender pursuant to title 5 of NRS, or as a sex offender pursuant to NRS 179D.010 to 179D.550, inclusive.

      7.  As used in this section:

      (a) “Electronic communication device” means any electronic device that is capable of transmitting or distributing a sexual image, including, without limitation, a cellular phone, personal digital assistant, computer, computer network and computer system.

      (b) “Minor” means a person who is under 18 years of age.

      (c) “School official” means a principal, vice principal, school counselor or school police officer.

      (d) “Sexual conduct” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 200.700.

      (e) “Sexual image” means any visual depiction, including, without limitation, any photograph or video, of a minor simulating or engaging in sexual conduct or of a minor as the subject of a sexual portrayal.

      (f) “Sexual portrayal” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 200.700.

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