For most of us, it’s hard to imagine that technology has evolved to a point where we have to ask questions like this, but many parents are now struggling to figure out how to deal with concerns about teen sexting trends. At the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A., we understand that when families are facing serious charges against a teenager or minor child, it can be a confusing and terrifying scenario. Our office compassionately works to help families determine the right approach to defending against such charges.
There are indeed situations where a minor child could potentially face serious criminal charges for possession and distribution of child pornography. Here are some of the key points for parents to keep in mind.
Under Section 11-207 of the Maryland Criminal Code, a person commits the crime of child pornography when they participate in any way in the production, gathering, or distribution of lewd or obscene images of a minor. While this may seem straightforward, it can be very complicated in the context of modern technology, such as texting, Snapchat, Instagram, and social media platforms.
While no parent wants to think about a 14- or 15-year-old engaging in sexual behavior, it happens very frequently, even without parents having any idea. With cell phones and social media, this conduct can be even more latent and instantaneous. The moment a photo is sent, it becomes part of the public domain, and you lose control over what others may do with it.
Consider two 14-year-old students who begin texting photos back and forth of themselves in inappropriate ways. Both are technically guilty of distributing child pornography, and under Maryland law, they can both be charged. Though most responsible prosecutors will use discretion and avoid prosecuting acts that were done without malice, it can become very serious.
Imagine now that one of the teens decides to post the images on social media or share them with others, an aggressive prosecutor would likely see this as a problem and pursue charges – even against a very young child.
Teens as young as 15 or 16 have been convicted and sentenced to years in jail, and in some rare cases, minors have been charged with child pornography for transmitting images of themselves. Maryland law imposes up to 10 years of prison time for those convicted of a first offense. Not to mention, someone who is convicted of child pornography in Maryland or pleads guilty will be placed on a sex offender registry, which will forever impact their future.
If you have a minor child who has been accused of child pornography or related sex offenses in Maryland, you cannot afford to let them speak to prosecutors and police. Refuse any offers to discuss the matter, and contact the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. today. It’s your responsibility as a parent to assert the child’s rights under Miranda and demand an attorney be present for any questioning or interrogation. The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin building a defense to protect your child from a lifetime of consequences.
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