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Virginia Senate passes bill addressing sexting penalties

Being accused of a crime is difficult, but facing criminal allegations when you are a juvenile could be life-altering. While juveniles typically face penalties that are not as harsh when compared to adult offenders, the consequences could hinder a juvenile's ability to get an education or obtain a job in the career field that they want. Because of this, the penalties for some crimes can alter over time.

This is what is going on with the Virginia Senate. According to reports, the Senate just passed a bill that is intended to keep certain teenagers from facing felony charges. Currently, when teenagers share sexually explicit images with one another, this is charged as a felony, causing the offender to be branded a sex offender.

This new bill would give prosecutors the option to charge a sexting offense among minors as a misdemeanor. The current law views this offense as disseminating and possessing child pornography. This means that prosecutors are able to bring a felony charge, or do nothing.

But, this new bill would lead to some middle ground in the matter. It would bring penalties for the act, but not such extreme ones as is currently in place in the law. With regards to sexting among teens, a felony conviction does not seem to fit the crime; therefore, passing this bill would allow for appropriate punishments for this crime.

While the penalties may not be as harsh due to this new bill, facing criminal consequences can still impact a person's life significantly. It is still important to understand the criminal defense options available to you, potentially helping you reduce or dismiss the charges against you.

Source: The Washington Post, "'Sexting' teens could avoid felony charges under bill that clears Va. Senate," Laura Vozella, Feb. 5, 2018

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