What Parents Need to Know About Congress' New Sexting Laws

Phone with SEXT text and silhouette of a girlIf your teenager is facing sexting charges, don’t wait to act. Due to new legislation, the sum of all consequences of a sexting conviction for your child could be devastating for the whole family. Don’t proceed alone—get in touch with one of our juvenile defense attorneys immediately.

In June of 2017, the United States Congress passed H.R. 1761, “Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017.” The bill is intended to disambiguate child pornography and sexting law in the U.S., get rid of loopholes therein, and increases the breadth of culpability for perpetrators, extending to child perpetrators and their guardians. The bill’s new provisions, which are highly significant for parents of teens facing charges sexting, include the following:

“(1) that the person knows or has reason to know that such visual depiction will be (A) transported or transmitted using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce; (B) transported or transmitted in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce; or (C) mailed;

“(2) the visual depiction was produced or transmitted using materials that have been mailed, or shipped or transported in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer;

“(3) such visual depiction has actually been (A) transported or transmitted using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce; (B) transported or transmitted in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce; or (C) mailed; or

“(4) any part of the offense occurred in a territory or possession of the United States or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

These new laws undeniably sweep sexting into the category of child pornography. As a result, they impose heavy penalties for perpetrators, including minors who engage in sexting with other minors. One of the most important implications of this new law is that teens could be convicted of a sex crime, forced to register as a lifetime sex offender, and further penalized with 15 years in prison for merely attempting to send or receive sexually explicit content. Parents and guardians can also face criminal charges on the basis of collaboration, facilitation, or knowledgeable consent to criminal behavior.

For help educating your teen on the consequences of sexting, read more of our blog. However, if your child is currently facing sexting charges, their future is in serious jeopardy—and so is yours. Don’t wait to call our aggressive juvenile defense lawyers at Scaringi Law. Our experienced team is prepared to take on your case and do whatever it takes to protect you and your family.

Call us today at (717) 775-7195 or tell us a little about yourselfto receive a free, confidential case evaluation.

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