Could Your Teen Be Accused of Child Pornography Charges For Swapping Nude Selfies With Friends?

juvenile crime, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois juvenile crime lawyer, A “selfie” is a digital self-portrait taken with a smart phone or other mobile device and distributed digitally online, usually by and through social media. While the technology is not really new, its use is; it is being adapted to fit a world where pictures often say more than tens of thousands of words. That said, like many aspects of the ongoing digital revolution, which has continued apace for the last 20 years, the first wide spread adopters of such technology and techniques are those within younger generations – in this case teenagers.

And unfortunately, youthful curiosity mixed with technology can and increasingly does lead to legal trouble, sometimes of the federal kind. When selfies are taken by and shared with others (even other minors) that contain any kind of nudity or sexually explicit content, they potentially can violate child pornography laws – which is a criminal and, in some cases, federal liability.

Definition of Child Pornography

In this realm, like no other, technology has outpaced legislation. As a result, “crimes” committed by and with social media are often defined by and prosecuted with existing statutes. Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of a sexual image involving a minor. The U.S. Department of Justice may prosecute offenses across state, national, and international borders, and anything involving the internet. A child who sends a picture that even someone else deems inappropriate over a social media network like Viber, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to a friend from out of state could, in more than theory, be prosecuted under federal law.

Federal Law Is Not The Only Problem

In the state of Illinois, child pornography offenses are Class 1 felonies, which can result in imprisonment (even in some cases of juveniles) of between four and 15 years.  Additional fines can run as high as $100,000. State law also generally requires that anyone convicted of child pornography become a registered “sex offender” in the state.

Class X Felony

Illinois state law also requires that aggravated child pornography cases (to which teens in particular are very vulnerable) are prosecuted as a so-called Class X Felony (the most serious form of crime). Punishment for a Class X Felony can result in imprisonment of between six and 30 years, and the state can pursue an increased sentence for “habitual” offenders – a term that begins to lose all modern relevance, where a single picture can be shared with potentially millions of viewers with the push of several link buttons.

If your child has been accused of this kind of crime, it is imperative that you do not take the situation lightly. It is imperative that you seek legal counsel immediately from an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney. Reach out to us today at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel today. We will zealously advocate on your behalf and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire process.

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