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Sex Crimes-Sexting teens could face child pornography charges

Many teenagers today spend a lot of time on their mobile devices. After all, these devices are often used as the primary mode of communication among young people. At the same time, teens are subject to peer pressure and may not always use clear judgment when using their cell phones. Sex crimes charges can happen much more quickly than one could possibly imagine.

Recently, Georgia law enforcement officials noted a trend: Many young people are sending sexually explicit images to each other with their mobile devices. What they might not know, however, is that "sexting" could yield charges for sex crimes.

According to Georgia state laws, it is illegal for anyone to create or distribute explicit images of a minor. This means that a minor teen who sends an explicit picture to another teenager is technically in violation of child pornography laws.

Further complicating this matter is the range of ages in high schools. After all, there are typically a large number of 18 year olds in high school. Even though a person is considered a legal adult at age 18, they often interact with minors. Knowing this, an 18-year-old high school student who engages in "sexting" with a younger classmate could face even more serious charges for creating or possessing explicit images of a minor as a legal adult.

The reality of this situation is that a teenager could unknowingly jeopardize their future with a youthful mistake. As such, it may be helpful for young people to understand the law and potential ramifications for producing or sending explicit text messages.

At the same time, young people who are caught in the difficult situation of facing sex crime charges are likely to benefit from a vigorous criminal defense. When a person is in his or her teenage years, critical thinking and decision skills may not be fully developed. Facing a lifetime of consequences seems like a very high price to pay for a decision made in the heat of the moment or without a full understanding of the law.

Source: AccessNorthGA.com, "Gwinnett Police: "Sexting" a growing threat among teens," Bryan Pirkle, Jan. 8, 2014

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