In Arizona and across the U.S., teens are inundated with material that might not be suitable for them at their impressionable age. Peer pressure, not understanding the law and how they can be impacted by long-term consequences by one mistake can cause major problems in a juvenile’s life. Sexting and other acts might not seem to be the basis for criminal charges to the juvenile, but if there are allegations of illegality with an underage person, it can be extensively problematic.

Using an electronic communication device unlawfully in this way is illegal. For those charged, it is imperative to have a strong defense from an attorney experienced on the juvenile law system. If a juvenile knowingly or intentionally uses any form of electronic communication device as a method for transmitting or displaying visual images of minors as part of sexual material, it is a legal violation. It is also illegal for the juvenile to possess these images that were transmitted via an electronic communication device.

Regarding possessing the material but not transmitting it, it will not be a violation if the juvenile was not found to have requested the depiction. It will not be a violation if the juvenile reasonably attempted to eliminate or destroy it or reported it to the parent, a guardian, an official at school or a member of law enforcement. For those who are charged with transmitting the material, it will be a petty offense if is sent to one other individual. It will be a Class 3 misdemeanor if it is sent to more than one individual. Violating the law for receiving the material will be a petty offense. If this occurs after there was adjudication for a previous violation of this law or the person took part and completed a diversionary program, the new charge will result in the case being referred or petitioned to be a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Juveniles make mistakes as they are growing up and many are simply part of life and do not cause long-term issues. Others can lead to criminal charges that can upend their schooling, career paths and even lead to incarceration. With charges related to explicit sexual material of an underage person, the juvenile must have a strong legal defense. Contacting a law firm that has experience in juvenile defense is the first step.