Sexting is the transmission of nude or sexually explicit images electronically, such as through a text, email, or social media or chat board post. It is becoming a more common practice for teenagers, and some use it to bully other teens.
Unfortunately, one careless text or post could have dire consequences for a teenager. They could be charged with a child pornography offense for sexting in Virginia.
What Is Teen Sexting?
Under Virginia Code §18.2-374.1:1, it is illegal to possess, create, or distribute sexually explicit visual material of a minor, which is someone who is under 18 years old. Materials that are considered sexually explicit and child pornography include ones depicting sexual excitement, sexual conduction, or depictions of a person’s genitals, public area, buttocks, or a female’s breast in a lewd manner.
This law does not distinguish between a minor or adult who possesses, creates, or distributes child pornography in terms of the charges they would face. A teenager would be charged with the same felony offense as an adult.
Penalties Your Teen Faces If Convicted of Sexting
Child pornography crimes are serious felonies in Virginia. Your teenager could face these punishments if they are convicted:
- Possession. Possession of child pornography is a Class 6 felony. If convicted of this offense, your teen could be sentenced to a prison sentence of one to five years and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Distribution. Distributing or sharing child pornography is an unclassified felony that is punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison.
- Creating. Creation of child pornography is an even more serious felony offense in our state. If the minor depicted is 15 years old or older, your teen could be sentenced to 1 to 20 years in prison if convicted. The length of the prison sentence can be increased to 30 or 40 years if the minor who is the victim is less than 15 years old.
Was your teen charged with possessing, distributing, or creating child pornography due to their sexting in Virginia? Our experienced criminal defense lawyers can mount an aggressive defense that may result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense—even if they are guilty. To learn more about how we can help you and your teenager, call or Manassas office or start a live chat to schedule a free consultation today.