The unusual stories that occasionally play out on scripted court dramas where a teen faces sex offender charges for his or her own pictures actually do have a basis in reality. New Jersey residents might be interested in the latest story of a North Carolina teenager who was found with a cellphone containing his own nude selfies and charged with sexual exploitation.
The 17-year-old Fayetteville boy agreed to a plea deal to avoid a conviction, which could have led to being a registered sex offender and as much as 10 years in prison. The boy took the pictures of himself at age 16, and the teen was suspended from his school's football team after an unrelated search of his phone revealed the photos. There was no warrant for the initial search of the boy's phone, but he was still charged with possessing child pornography of himself and of having a nude selfie of his 16-year-old girlfriend.
This case was puzzling to some as the boy and his girlfriend's photos were deemed child pornography even though 16 is the age of consent in North Carolina. Since North Carolina deems those 16-years-old as adults, both teens faced adult criminal charges for sexually exploiting minors. The teen couple both accepted one year of probation, and the boy's deal involved agreeing to random police searches without a warrant.
While this case is certainly odd and may seem laughable to some, the potential consequences involved show how serious being charged with a sex crime can be. Whether accused of having child pornography, sexual assault or lewdness or indecency, people who are in this situation may wish to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to develop a strategy to use before at or before trial. A conviction could result in the defendant having to become a registered sex offender, which can have lifelong repercussions. Accordingly, the attorney may choose to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor which would involve a plea of guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduction in penalties.