When teen fun turns into child pornography

The stories from Hollywood about teen pop sensations who send each other nude photos of themselves are all too familiar. Unfortunately, this also happens close to home, and few teens realize the lifelong repercussions of such conduct. In North Carolina, sending or possessing sexually explicit images of minors is child pornography — whether you are an adult or a minor.

Clifford & Harris, PLLC is a leader in sex crimes and cybercrimes defense. We understand what is at stake for adults and teens accused of sexting and how best to protect them in a criminal prosecution.

Sexting is child pornography

North Carolina does not have an anti-sexting statute. Therefore, the law that applies is the child pornography statute. The penalties for conviction are stiff and usually include jail time and lifetime registration as a sex offender. There are no exceptions for minors who text or possess illicit photos of minors.

If a teen takes a sexually explicit photo or video of himself or herself, or of a minor friend, the law considers that producing child pornography. Likewise, sending, receiving or forwarding such images could be considered distribution of child pornography. Needless to say, simply possessing such an image could be considered illegal under state pornography laws.

Sexting penalties

Adults and minors are at risk of arrest if they sext, and children 16 years and older can be charged as an adult in North Carolina. Charges and penalties for sexting include:

  • First-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (production of pornography) — a Class C felony with a sentence ranging from 44 to 92 months for a first offense
  • Second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (copying or distributing) — a Class E felony with a sentence of 15 to 31 months for a first offense
  • Third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (possession) — a Class H felony with a first-offense penalty of four to eight months in prison

A federal felony may also be charged. It carries a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Greensboro attorneys work hard to beat sexting charges

Adults and teens who face child pornography charges that stem from sexting should immediately contact an attorney at Clifford & Harris, PLLC. We protect your rights and endeavor to preserve teens’ and adults’ reputations and futures. Contact us at 336-574-2788 or online for a free consultation.