It’s always been difficult to keep teens safe, but with the advent of social media and cellphone technology, it’s particularly challenging for parents to keep kids out of trouble. A charge of sexting is a serious crime. If your teen has been accused of sexting, he or she will need the help of a child pornography defense attorney. You can turn to a defense attorney for guidance with regard to the potential penalties your child may be facing and how to help him or her stay out of trouble.
Understanding the Laws
Far too many teens engage in sexting because they fail to understand that their actions have serious, far-reaching consequences. Sexting is broadly defined as taking, sending, displaying, or receiving nude images. It typically applies to cellphone usage, but it may also involve any type of online communication, including blogs and e-mail. If prosecutors follow the letter of the law, they can charge a young person with child pornography for taking a sexualized image of him or herself, even if that image was never transmitted to anyone. Teens can also be charged with receiving and forwarding sexualized images.
Identifying Potential Penalties
Prosecutors in Ohio can charge sexting with two felony charges. A charge of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor is a fourth-degree felony. A charge of the illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material may be a fourth-degree or fifth-degree felony. Additionally, some sexting incidents are charged as second-degree felonies. As your criminal defense lawyer in Columbus can explain to you, these felony charges carry the possibility of time behind bars and substantial fines. Additionally, teens may be required to register as sex offenders.
Getting Help for Your Child
Parents are advised to take proactive measures by discussing the dangers of sexting with their kids. You can discuss the potential legal penalties with your child and explain how once an image is digitally transmitted, it can never be truly erased. Ask your child to think about how one simple act could change his or her life forever. If your child has already been charged with sexting, it’s imperative to contact a sexual assault attorney as soon as possible and arrange for aggressive legal representation.