Texting-Related Crimes and Juveniles
Juvenile Defense Attorney in Virginia Beach
Texting is part of life for most teens, and the vast majority of the time text messages are a convenient form of communication for all ages. However, there are times when texting is not a good idea for juveniles, and there can be serious consequences
Too often minors, and even parents, don’t realize that texts and photos can cause trouble with the law, often in unexpected ways. Even worse, some violations can be treated as felonies that can have long-lasting impacts on a child’s future
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Some of the more common text-related criminal charges in Virginia include:
- Computer harassment and cyber bullying — Class 1 misdemeanor. This includes making threats online or via text, creating harassing images and publishing jokes about another person (Code of Virginia: 18.2-152.7:1).
- Sexting – Felony child pornography. Simply having an explicit or lewd photo on an electronic device is against the law, including on a cell phone. Sharing the photos with others is a serious crime. Multiple laws come into play, including if photos are shared between a minor and adult, or if bullying is involved (Code of Virginia: 18.2-374.1 and 18.2-374.1:1).
- Prank calls and texts – Class 3 misdemeanor. This charge involves texts sent to another person with the intent to annoy or harass. If the pranks are directed to emergency response numbers the charge becomes a Class 1 misdemeanor (Code of Virginia: 18.2-427 and 18.2-429).
- Extortion – Class 5 felony. Texted threats of violence or other criminal means to obtain money or property is extortion (Code of Virginia: 18.2-59).
- Conviction for serious charges can result in suspension from school, being fired from jobs or banned from organizations, and possibly being denied admission to college. Too often texts are meant as a joke between teens, but criminal charges can still apply.
Other texting-related criminal charges against juveniles in Virginia arise from motor vehicle laws, including texting while driving, which is a primary offense and carries of fine of $125 for the first offense and $250 for subsequent offenses (Code of Virginia: 46.2-1078.1).
Social Media & Internet-Related Crimes
We live in an age where social media has become a large part of how teenagers and even adults communicate with each other. Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are just a few outlets where individuals may slip and say the wrong thing or send the wrong picture - and end up being charged with a crime. For minors in particular, cyberbullying, sexting nude pictures, harassment, intimidation, or use of threatening language can lead to trouble with the law. These crimes are taken seriously by law enforcement officials and can result in criminal penalties.
Consult an Experienced Virginia Beach Juvenile Defense Lawyer
If your child or a minor has been involved with texting activity that is a concern, don’t wait until the police are involved. Contact lawyer experienced with juvenile criminal defense, like Jerrell R. Johnson of JRLaw, PLC, and get legal advice immediately. Texting-related crimes have serious consequences, but most teens and many parents don’t realize what is considered a crime, and how quickly things can go wrong.
If you are not sure if your child needs an attorney, call us today at (757) 447-0080 for a free, no-obligation conversation. Texting crimes don’t go away, and the evidence can easily be used against you, so it’s important to get answers now.
We can defend you in Newport News, Hampton, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, and Norfolk or a surrounding area. Put over a decade of experience on your side today by contacting us online.
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