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Important points about sexting and related charges in Virginia

Virginia teens are constantly using their smartphones and other devices to communicate. While this can be used for positive means, there are also dangers. Some of these activities can result in being arrested and facing charges related to sexting. Sexting is when explicit images are taken and sent to another person. If juveniles take part in this, it can lead to child pornography charges. The number of teens who are taking part in this activity is rising, and it can have hefty consequences if there are criminal allegations.

It is against the law in the state to share, store or produce explicit or lewd images of a person who is under the age of 18. If there are child pornography charges lodged against an individual, it is a felony and can result in a prison sentence and the requirement to register as a sex offender for the rest of the person's life. Simply having the image, sharing it or taking an image - even if it was done voluntarily - can result in felony charges.

There can also be charges if the sexting is related to harassment and or bullying. These acts can also result in a suspension from school, an inability to get certain jobs or maintain a job, difficulty getting into a secondary school, and other problems. Possessing child pornography is a Class 6 felony. If there is a subsequent violation of the law with regard to possessing child pornography, it is a Class 5 felony. A person who operates a website to receive payment for child pornography will be charged with a Class 4 felony. Each of these carries increasingly severe penalties that can drastically affect an individual's life.

Even if the images in question were sent without malicious intent, there can still be charges related to sexting and, if there is a conviction, harsh penalties may be imposed. Regardless of how the charges came about and the circumstances surrounding them, it is imperative for accused individuals to formulate a strong defense from the time of the arrest through the case's resolution. Discussing the matter with a legal professional experienced in cases related to sexting is essential and should be done immediately.

Source: virginiarules.com, "Technology and You," accessed on July 29, 2017

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