Texting laws regulate the exchange of communication and information exchange through cell phone text chat features. Texting has become an increasingly more common method of communication, sometimes even more so than regular telephone calls in some areas. Newer cell phone technologies have adapted to allow the transfer of broader information through texting, such as:
- Standard dialogue between the persons
- Web links
- Credit card information
- Contact information
Thus, texting has become closer in nature to e-mail, and can also be more simple to use than email in many cases.
What Do Texting Laws Cover?
Texting laws often involve legal issues such as:
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Safety (especially with regards to stalking and harassment)
- Texting while driving
- "Sexting"– the sending of inappropriate or explicit images through text message (often pictures of the persons sending the texts)
- Use of texts as evidence in a court of law
Texting is a relatively new phenomenon, and each state may have different regulations and statutes regarding texting. Many states are in the progress of updating or modifying their texting laws.
What Are Some Penalties for Texting Violations?
Violations of course depend on the type of texting violations. For texting while driving, the penalties may involve some fines and/or short jail time, especially if the violation results in serious injury to another driver or passenger. For more serious crimes like sexting or harassment, the criminal consequences may be more severe (i.e., longer jail sentences and higher fines). Civil damages can sometimes result for cases involving defamation or similar violations.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Texting Laws?
Texting laws can sometimes cover a wide range of different legal issues. You may wish to hire a criminal lawyer if you have any questions or concerns regarding texting. An attorney can help answer your inquiries and can also help you address any legal issues you might be facing. Also, in the event of a lawsuit, your lawyer will be able to represent you during the court proceedings.