Teenage Couple Prosecuted for Making “Child Porn”

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Typing messages on a smartphone.Two North Carolina students from Douglas Byrd High School were accused last year of making and distributing child pornography for taking nude pictures of themselves and exchanging the pictures with one another. Although both teens took plea deals and pled to misdemeanor criminal charges, they originally stood charged with several felonies each and could have faced up to 10 years in prison on the most serious charges. In addition to this, each teen could have been required to register as a sex offender for life.

Two Teens Caught in a Legal Conundrum

The child pornography case against these two teens drew significant criticism from legal scholars and others far and wide in part because of the way the child pornography law operated. Under North Carolina law, a juvenile who is at least 16 years of age is tried as an adult; however, under the child pornography laws, a person must be at least 18 years of age before sending or receiving sexually explicit material. Each teen, therefore, was being tried as an adult for taking sexually explicit pictures of themselves (child pornography) and then disseminating this material to one another.

“Sexting” in South Carolina is Somewhat Different

Each of the two teens in this North Carolina case were engaging in an activity known as “sexting.” This occurs when a teenager or young adult takes a sexually explicit photograph or video of him- or herself (usually in some manner of undress) and then sends the picture to another child. Authorities in South Carolina and elsewhere have struggled to curb and punish this behavior through existing child pornography laws. The problem with this approach (as evidenced in the North Carolina teens’ case) is that child pornography laws are meant to protect children from sexual exploitation at the hands of an adult against the child’s will or when the child is so young he or she cannot give informed consent to the activity. They are not equipped for handling young adults who voluntarily take nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves and then voluntarily and willingly share those pictures with others.

Why You Need a Greenville Criminal Defense Attorney

If your child engages in sexting and is criminally charged, you need aggressive and skilled criminal defense counsel right away. Your child may be facing serious consequences, especially if he or she is over the age of 18 years old and sent or received nude pictures from a minor. Your child can be sentenced to years in prison and be ordered to register as a sex offender. There are a variety of defenses that may be available to defeat such charges without necessitating a plea to any criminal conduct; however, you must first contact a South Carolina criminal defense attorney and have your case and its circumstances evaluated.
Greenville attorney David R. Price represents the legal interests of individuals throughout South Carolina who have been charged with criminal activity. Contact his office today by calling (864) 271-2636 today.

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