Technology has come a long way in a few short years with many side-effects ranging from horrifying government surveillance to a level of connectedness that humanity never thought possible. Like most tools, the end use will depend on the wielder. Unfortunately, Kids and teens have to grow up without fully understanding the repercussions of their actions when using technology, which is still in its infancy. As a result, the issue of sexting among teenagers has gained prominence. Many parents, educators, and legal experts are left wondering about the laws in Texas surrounding sexting and teens. Understanding these laws is crucial for both teens and adults to navigate the complexities of this digital era.
One pressing question is whether teenagers or minors (individuals under 18 years of age), can be charged with a crime for sexting. The answer is not a straightforward yes or no but depends on various factors, including the specific circumstances and ages of those involved.
Harassment and Possession of Child Pornography
In Texas, certain aspects of sexting may fall under the umbrella of harassment or possession of child pornography, especially when it involves explicit images or videos. The severity of the charges can vary, but it is essential to recognize that even consensual sexting between two teenagers can have legal consequences.
One alarming facet of sexting is the sharing of explicit images without the consent of the person depicted, often referred to as revenge porn. In such cases, not only can the perpetrator face criminal charges related to harassment and child pornography, but also potential civil liability for damages inflicted on the victim.
Juvenile or Adult Charges
In the legal framework of many states, including Texas, there’s a stark difference between how juveniles and adults are prosecuted. When teenagers are charged as juveniles, the emphasis is often on rehabilitation rather than punishment. The juvenile system is designed to support and guide young offenders toward a constructive path, with the hope of preventing further missteps. This might involve counseling, community service, or educational programs tailored to address the root causes of their behavior. Conversely, when teenagers are tried as adults, the focus shifts towards punishment, mirroring the traditional criminal justice process. The consequences can be more severe, including lengthier incarceration periods and permanent criminal records.
The decision to charge a teen as a juvenile or an adult often rests on factors like the offense’s severity, the offender’s age, and their previous criminal record, if any. This crucial differentiation has long-term implications, potentially shaping a young individual’s life trajectory. For example, an intimate exchange between two or more minors could lead to one or all of them becoming registered sex offenders after everything is said and done.
Turning The Tides for Your Teen
Teens deserve to start their lives with the best possible chance at success. It’s essential to work with an attorney as soon as any situation involving underage sex and consent arises. This includes situations that start off as simple “conversations.” If accusations have not been made, do not allow law enforcement, government officials, or even other parents to collect information unfairly. Always use your right to remain silent and protect your best interests.
At Ryan Brown Attorney at Law, P.L.L.C., we are staunch advocates for the rights of the accused, combined with a focused and tailored approach to counseling. Our firm specializes in criminal defense at all levels, and we stand ready to fight for the rights of individuals facing legal challenges. With a career dedicated to criminal defense, we bring a wealth of experience to each case we handle. If you or your teenager are facing legal issues related to sexting or any criminal charges, call our office at (806) 372-5711 today.
Latest posts by Ryan Brown (see all)
- Holidays Are For Celebrating–Not Battling Prosecutors - December 6, 2023