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A Look in Your Teen's Phone: Your Teen May Be Facing a Felony Charge

No Criminal Record. No Jail Time.
mother looking at phone shocked

At this point, many people have no doubt taken sexy photos of themselves and shared them since technology has made it possible to send and receive picture messages. While adults are able to send sexually explicit images to their significant other without any legal ramifications, the same cannot be said for teens who do that. Unless they are 17 years old, teens are still considered children, which can result in a serious charge of child pornography, a felony.

Georgia lawmakers have adopted stringent laws relating to teens and sexting. While these penalties are generally less strict than those for child pornographers, they are still serious. Some teens, depending on certain factors, can also still receive a charge of child pornography in this situation. In 2013, the state created laws relevant to this topic. It’s important to know what can happen if your teen is found with sexually explicit images on his or her smartphone.

Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the state of Georgia, a teen can be found guilty of a misdemeanor if they take or possess a nude or sexually explicit image of themselves if the following is true:

• They are at least 14 years old

• The person in the photo is younger than 17

• The person in the photo consented to it being taken and distributed

If these factors are missing, the sexting would be charged as a felony.

Sending Sexually Explicit Material to Other Minors

If a teen has sexually explicit material on their smartphone and send it to other minors, it is considered a misdemeanor if the following factors are in place:

• The teen receiving the material is 14 or older

• The person receiving the material consenting to it

• The teen sending the material is younger than 18

If these factors are missing, then the teen can receive a charge of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

Penalties for Sexting in Georgia

The penalties a teen who is convicted of sexting in the state of Georgia receives depends on a few factors. In general, aspects such as the crime itself and whether the teen has a prior criminal history will play a part in determining the penalties. Overall, however, teens receive less strict penalties and may receive probation, community service, fines and being placed in juvenile detention.

Sexting and Federal Law

It’s important to know that sexting can also be charged as a federal crime under the law. Whether it is a federal crime depends on the specific circumstances. The Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003, also known simply as PROTECT, makes it illegal to produce, distribute, possess or receive sexually explicit material of a minor. It is also a crime to make a minor partake in such material. As a result, parents who permit such behavior can be prosecuted.

As per federal law, teens who are found sexting are generally not prosecuted. They are prosecuted by the state and not federal courts.

If your teen has been charged with sexting, especially if it is a potential felony charge, you should retain a skilled Atlanta criminal defense attorney. Contact the ABT Law Firm immediately to discuss your case. The ABT Law Firm will be able to assist you with an attorney who will begin building a strong defense for your teen's case.

Call (678) 582-2272 today to schedule your free evaluation.