Teen sexting – sending nude, partially nude or sexually explicit pictures via cell phones – has become more and more common as prevalence of cell phones has grown. Many teens are unaware of the long-term criminal implications their photos may have and may not take warnings seriously. For any teen or young adult who has found his or herself in the middle of a sexting case, realizing the implications can be quite frightful.
Charges a Teen May Face
May people do not realize that sexting may fall under sexual offense laws in many states and if they do, the person or people involved may have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his or her life. This would have to be reported on job applications or to current employers and may affect his or her freedoms long after the problem has been resolved. If you or your teen is involved in a case where sexually explicit photos are involved, it is vital to speak with Fairfax criminal defense lawyers immediately.
In Virginia, teen sexting is punished the same as child pornography. The child pornography law makes it illegal for anyone to distribute, possess, create, send, and resend any sexually explicit email via text. Although there is no distinction between adults and juveniles, juveniles will be tried in juvenile court in most cases.
Depending on the specifics of a case, sexting may also be prosecuted federally. Parents who allow this may be held responsible, although most juveniles will not face federal charges.
Creating, sending, possessing and distributing sexual images of any juvenile is a class 6 felony, carrying a minimum of five years in prison, although a person may receive up to five years in prison. Future violations will face stiffer penalties.
An adult (anyone considered an adult in the eyes of the law) who is convicted of such a crime may be required to register as a sex offender. In some cases, a juvenile may have to face the same requirements.