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Criminal defense for juvenile sexting would change with new law

| Mar 31, 2021 | sex crimes |

Being charged with sex offenses in Glen Burnie and across Maryland can be one of the most difficult categories of crimes a person can face. It is especially problematic for teens. Because any charge labeled as a “sex crime” will automatically be framed in a negative light regardless of the circumstances, those who are confronted with this issue should be aware of how it can harm their future. A fundamental aspect of that is understanding the law as it stands and potential changes that might come. With teen sexting, avoiding being labeled a sex offender is key.

Proposed law changes the penalties teens may face for sexting

A recently passed bill would alter the definition of teen sexting in Maryland. It passed overwhelmingly and while it would not make it legal for teens to sext, it will not be classified as child pornography. It also avoids the need for the juvenile to be brought into custody in any case but those in which extraordinary circumstances are in place. Importantly, the juvenile would not be a registered sex offender.

With the ubiquitous use of cellphones with cameras and video-taking capabilities, sexting has become commonplace. That has resulted in people sending images and clips of themselves involved in sexual conduct or titillating material. It can be sent over a computer or other device. The bill specifies that the sexting must be consensual. If there are threats issued to coerce a person to take part in the behavior and the age disparity is more than four years, it would still be classified under the previous law with the same consequences. The goal is to understand that teens may send these images to one another and, while it could be frowned upon by adults, it is not necessarily a crime so severe that it should put them in a category with those accused of child pornography.

For sex offenses, qualified assistance can be address the charges

As technology advances, legislators and law enforcement are still adapting to its use. This directly impacts how sex offenses are prosecuted and the possible penalties a person might face. For teens who are accused of sexting, there could still be extensive challenges in the future. As with any sex-related offense, it is imperative to have legal assistance from the start. A conviction could lead to jail time, fines and being required to register as a sex offender. This can cause problems getting certain jobs, being admitted to schools, entering the military and more. For help with a defense, an aggressive defense that fights for a client’s rights can be critical.

 

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