It’s pretty difficult to find a teenager who is not addicted to their phone. They are always texting, tweeting, Snap Chatting, or finding another way to document each moment of their lives. The most advanced smart phones can take photographer-quality photos and videos and distribute this media quickly.
While these advances in technology are great. Many teenagers have landed themselves in hot water by distributing nude and semi-nude photographs of themselves and other minors. The Pennsylvania legislature enacted 18 Pa. C.S. §6321, a law prohibited the transmission of sexually explicit images by a minor, in 2012.
This statute makes it a criminal offense for a minor to:
- Knowingly transmit, distribute, publish, or disseminate an electronic communication of a sexually explicit image of himself or a minor 12 years of age of older;
- Knowingly possesses or views a sexually explicit image of a minor 12 years of age or older
- Make a visual depiction of a minor in a state of nudity without knowledge and consent of the depicted minor with the intent to coerce, intimidate, torment, harass or otherwise cause emotional distress to another minor; and
- Transmit, distribute, publish, or disseminate a visual depiction of any minor in a state of nudity without the knowledge and consent of the depicted minor with the intent to coerce, intimidate, torment, harass or otherwise cause emotional distress to another minor.
Essentially, a minor is prohibited by law from:
- Sending via text message, email, or social media posts a sexually explicit image of oneself or another minor;
- Knowingly or intentionally viewing sexually explicit images of another minor age 12 or older;
- Posting on social media, websites, or via text message a depiction of a minor in a state of nudity or exposing any “private parts” for the purpose of intimidating, humiliating, or bullying.
Because of the advances in technology and teenagers proneness to post all aspects of their lives, most teenagers post and share explicit photographs without realizing they have committed a criminal act. Unlawful transmission of sexually explicit images is an issue throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, including Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, and Lancaster County.
For example, in November of 2015 three Chester County, Pennsylvania middle school students were charged with transmission of sexually explicit images by a minor, unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of a communications facility after distributing pornographic pictures and videos of classmates.
In June of 2014 two Franklin County, Pennsylvania teenagers were charged with transmission of sexually explicit images by a minor. The male student charged sent a graphic photograph of himself to a female student. That female student then viewed and forwarded the photo. As a result both students were charged.
It is part of adolescence to make mistakes, however, these infractions can have devastating consequences for a middle or high school student. Depending on the facts of the case, a minor may be face summary offense, third-degree misdemeanor, or second-degree misdemeanor charges. This means, depending on the specific conduct, a minor can receive a fine only (summary offense) or face up to two years’ incarceration and/or no more than $5,000 in fines.
Should your minor child be faced with transmission of sexually explicit images by a minor charges in Pennsylvania, it is important to obtain experienced criminal defensive counsel immediately. The teams of attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices have extensive experience representing juveniles in criminal proceedings.
They will use the team approach to prepare the best defense against the criminal charges. The attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices have a proven track record of obtaining the best results based on your unique circumstances, including dismissals and diversion programs.
With locations in West Chester, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Kennett Square, Radnor, Plymouth Square, and Malvern, Ciccarelli Law Offices is prepared to defend your child against transmission of sexually explicit images charges. Call today at (610) 719-3200 to schedule a confidential attorney consultation.