A nationwide consensus indicates kids today are on the cutting edge of technology; from comprehending the latest videogame systems, navigating the latest smartphones, or even teaching mom and dad how to run the DVD payer. However, this cutting edge knowledge also puts kids on the forefront of technology related “crimes.”
The latest technology to put teens in a compromising position-the cell phone. Mobile phones have become an integral part of society. Whether we are making calls, sending text messages, checking e-mails, browsing the web or taking pictures; we just can’t seem to put these indispensable devices away.
Culprits like built-in cameras and keyboards located on the latest smartphone have landed numerous teens in hot water. “Sexting,” as it’s known, is the latest teen craze. Teens are using their cell phones to send others explicit text messages or nude photos.
Prosecutors acknowledge the wrongness of the act because the messages and images depicted involved minors. But what are the teens to be charged with? According to Troy Rawlings, Davis County Attorney, everything from considering the teen offenders as child pornographers to ignoring the issue was put forth.
Utah Authorities Determine Applicable Law for Sexting Charges
Rawlings noted that when sexting came to the spotlight, authorities could charge teens under two Utah statutes, 1) sexual exploitation of a minor and, 2) dealing in harmful materials to a minor – both felonies at the time. Ultimately, the laws were changed to add misdemeanor charges for both statutes.
Now, if a 16 or 17-year-old is found in violation of either statute, he or she could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If the teen 15-years-old or younger is found in violation of either statute, he or she could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.
Alternatively, according to Rawlings, Davis County created an innovative solution for accused sextors. Teens can enter into an agreement with the juvenile court and their parents and can include such requirements as abstention of cell phone use, limited use of the cell phone and/or community service. If the teen successfully abides by the agreement, the activity is labeled as simply an “incident” on the teen’s record rather than mentioning the specific activities.
Contact an Experienced Juvenile Defense Attorney
If your teen has been accused of sexting or any other juvenile crime it is important to speak with an attorney experienced in handle juvenile matters as soon as possible. A defense attorney can protect your teen’s rights and help safeguard his or her future.