“Sexting” Can Lead to Juvenile Criminal Charges in Illinois
Preteens and teenagers often act before thinking about the consequences. In recent years, young couples have gotten into the trend of “sexting,” the act of texting nude or semi-nude photos of themselves without realizing that in doing so, they are distributing child pornography.
This is a felony offense that is mostly associated with adult sex offenders. However, according to a study from the Illinois Bar Association, one in five juveniles have sent sexually provocative images or videos. As a result, the ones who are caught may face felony charges as well, and they may be required to register as a sex offender.
What Kind of Actions Are Considered Child Pornography?
Child pornography involves the act of taking sexually explicit photographs and/or videos of minors under the age of 17 years old. Taking and distributing these images can result in a Class 1 felony, punishable by fines of $1,000 to $10,000 and/or jail time of four to 15 years.
Someone may break the Illinois laws regarding child pornography even if he or she is not the one who takes the images. Forwarding pictures or videos to other people is considered the distribution of child pornography. Other violations include:
Taking photos of yourself if you are under the age of 18;
Soliciting someone under 17 years old for nude photos or videos;
Knowingly possessing images and/or videos of minors in sexually explicit situations; and
Not reporting an act of child pornography.
A person of any age can be charged with offenses related to child pornography. The law does not discriminate and will require any person convicted of this crime to register as a sex offender on top of the fines and prison time that go along with such a conviction.
How is a Minor Affected by a Child Pornography Conviction?
Minors who take inappropriate photos and/or videos of themselves can face the same legal consequence as an adult perpetrator; they may be required to register as a sex offender, which can alter their social lives forever.
However, teenagers still in school may also have their academic and personal lives affected if they are convicted of a child pornography charge:
They may be suspended or even expelled from school.
They may be unable to participate in extracurricular activities.
They may be banned from owning a cell phone.
Teens also do not realize that when they are convicted of this type of crime early on, it follows them for the rest of their lives. Sex offenders stay on the registry for many years, and this will impact what kind of college the teens can attend or what kind of job they can obtain as adults.
Contact a St. Charles Criminal Defense Attorney
Texting explicit photos can be considered child pornography depending on the ages of those involved. If you or someone you know is facing any charge of child pornography, the penalties can be harsh in Illinois. The Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa will carefully review the details of your case to build a strong defense. To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Kane County child pornography lawyers, call our office today at 630-232-1780.