South Jersey Juvenile Sexting Defense Lawyers
Sexting Defense Lawyers Advocate for Clients in Camden County, Burlington County and Throughout New Jersey
Everyone understands that child pornography is a serious criminal offense. Even possessing sexually explicit images of a child under age 18 can lead to felony conviction. But what happens when the person accused of possessing the image is also under age 18? What if the person who sent the image was under 18? The ubiquity of smart phones, social media communication and Internet access has created an emerging area of law to address the offense of sexting in New Jersey.
Yes, your child can be charged with a crime for possessing or distributing sexually explicit images or videos of someone under age 18 in New Jersey. And you need a defense lawyer who knows how to handle these cases. At Gelman Law, LLC, our respected criminal defense lawyers pride ourselves on keeping up with technological developments and forming new and innovative defense strategies to match the evolving criminal law.
“Sexting” is essentially sending nude or sexually explicit photos via text, the Internet or any electronic means. Punishments to address sexting were developed in response to cases where teenagers and young adults were being charged under New Jersey’s strict child pornography laws.
If you or your child are in a situation where you have been accused of sexting, speaking with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer should be your first step. Our lawyers are knowledgeable about the new diversionary programs that can be used to escape prosecution for child pornography. To schedule a completely confidential consultation with our experienced sexting defense lawyers, you can call our office or fill out this online contact form.
What is Sexting in New Jersey?
Most teenagers are now connected to their peers via the Internet and phones 24/7. Texting and various social media platforms have become a principal mode of communicating. While many teens think that sending or posting nude or sexually suggestive photos is harmless fun, in reality it could subject them to serious felony child pornography charges under New Jersey laws.
Unfortunately, seemingly innocent sexting among teens can have serious and long-term consequences both for the victim and the perpetrator—who, in many cases, may be the same person. An all-too-common chain of events may involve the following scenario:
- Amy, age 15, texts a sexually suggestive photo of herself to her boyfriend, Tom, who is 16.
- Tom texts the photo to several of his teenage friends.
- One of those friends posts the photo on social media.
- Amy is subject to bullying and harassment by her peers—and potential criminal charges because she is technically also the person who distributed the image (which qualifies as child pornography under New Jersey law) in the first place.
Under old laws, this scenario could subject several parties to prosecution for child pornography, which carries prison time and potential lifelong sex offender registry requirements under Megan’s Law. Sexting laws provide an alternative in certain situations. At Gelman Law, LLC, our experienced defense lawyers can help you understand the new sexting diversion program and fight to help you avoid criminal prosecution.
Respected Former Burlington County Prosecutor Helps Clients Navigate the New Jersey Sexting Diversion Program for Teens
New Jersey’s teen “sexting” laws recognize that most of these teenagers don’t deserve to be criminally punished for sending sexually suggestive images under laws designed to protect them against predatory adults. At Gelman Law, LLC, our respected lawyers are here to fight to protect your teen’s future.
Specifically, the sexting diversion program may be available if:
- The person who created, distributed and/or possessed the child pornography was under age 18,
- The teen participates in counseling and education programs designed to promote awareness of the serious nature of sexting,
- The judge determines that, in his or her discretion, the diversionary program is an appropriate alternative to criminal prosecution based upon the defendant’s level of culpability.
Importantly, participation in the diversion program is not automatic. If the judge determines that the teen exhibited a greater degree of culpability, the teen can be prosecuted under the child pornography law.
Successful completion of the court-ordered sexting diversionary program can, however, help non-culpable teens avoid formal criminal prosecution altogether. We know that you cannot constantly monitor your teen’s use of technology in this day and age—and one youthful mistake should not cloud your child’s future. Call us today to learn more about how we can help if your child has been accused of sexting in New Jersey.
Schedule a Free and Confidential Consultation with Our Experienced Sexting Defense Lawyers in South Jersey
Parents do everything they can to protect their children—but most would find it impossible to monitor a teenager’s phone and Internet use 24 hours a day. If your child has been accused of sexting, speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is critical. Our experienced lawyers at Gelman Law, LLC can help you explore the possibility of using New Jersey’s diversionary program for teenagers accused of sexting to protect your teen’s future.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation and tell us what happened, call or contact our office online today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sexting Charges in New Jersey
Technically, the illegal action is possession or distribution of child pornography. The fact is, the law generally considers minors to be incapable of consenting to this type of action. When considered as a whole, sexting can carry a host of unintended consequences—most of which the teen may not have considered. Third parties may gain access to the images and make them public. The recipients themselves may make the images public. The emotional and reputational damage to the teen can be extreme. Like child pornography laws, punishment for sexting is meant to be protective of minors.
Yes. Take a situation where a teacher notices the photo, for example. The photo was never distributed, and the subject of the photo was never subject to humiliation, bullying or the need to explain the photo to a college admissions officer. Even assuming that the subject of the photo took and sent the photo willingly, your teen’s possession of the photo is enough to support the sexting charge.
The judge has discretion to consider a range of factors. For example, the defendant’s age in relation to the subject of the image’s age is important. The judge will consider what the defendant did with the image in question highly relevant. The impact of the victim and the relationship between the defendant and the victim can be important.