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Underage Sexting and Possession of Child Pornography

Sexting may be fun for teens, but it could also lead to child pornography charges.

Sexting has become so common among teens that the Marietta police have recently stated that one in five teenagers is engaging in the behavior. However, while teens may think it is fun to sext, it is important they understand they could face criminal charges for it. Even more so, anyone they send questionable texts to can also face criminal charges, based on Georgia’s child pornography laws. Anyone who is facing charges after sending or receiving what they thought were innocent texts must speak to a Georgia criminal defense attorney for help.

What is Sexting?

Sexting is the act of sharing nude or sexually explicit images with another person via a cell phone. The act has become extremely common today, as more and more people use cell phones. Teenagers in particular, are notorious for spending many hours of the day on their phones. Older, and sometimes even younger teens, are often tempted to create and share these sexually explicit images with their boyfriends or girlfriends.

In Georgia, this behavior is very risky for teens. While adults who consensually sext will not face any criminal charges, the same cannot be said for minors. Even when a teenager takes a picture of him or herself and sends it to someone else, that teen can be charged with a crime.

Georgia’s Laws on Sexting

Prior to 2013, sexting among teens was part of Georgia’s child pornography laws. A teen under the age of 18 who sent or received a sext could face felony charges, just like anyone else who created, distributed, or was in possession of child pornography. In 2013, that changed with House Bill 156, which introduced Romeo and Juliet laws in the state.

Under the new law, teens will no longer face felony charges if they are found to be sending or receiving sexually explicit images. However, they will still face misdemeanor charges in certain situations. These include:

● If the individual depicted in the image was older than 14 when the image was created,

● If the person in possession of the image is under 18 years old, and

● The person depicted in the image gave consent for both the creation and distribution of the image

When these circumstances are present, teens who either create or possess sexually explicit images can face penalties such as probation, fines, community service, or placement in a juvenile detention facility.

Under the new law, use of these images is also limited. The person in possession of the image cannot use it to harm the individual depicted, or for any commercial purpose.

Has Your Child been Charged with Sexting? Contact Our Georgia Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys Today

Although the penalties for sexting are less severe than they once were, teenagers in Georgia can still face serious consequences. To give your child the best defense, call our Atlanta juvenile criminal defense attorneys at Ghanayem & Rayasam today. We will review their case free of charge and create a solid defense to give them the best chance of success. Call us today at (404) 561-0202 so we can start reviewing your child’s case.