Sexting and Child Pornography Laws in Virginia

The legislators in the Commonwealth of Virginia are known to be the toughest on people charged with sex offenses against minors, taking part in or facilitating the distribution, possession and reproduction of sexually explicit photographs or videos that involve a someone under the age of 18 is a Class 6 felony charge and comes with a prison sentence of up to 30 years. Doctors, Law Enforcement officers and other organizations who have the images as part of their professional duties are the only exception to this law.

Sexting and Child Pornography Laws in Virginia

A child pornography charge in Virginia can result from two things:

  • Possession and production of sexually provocative imagery or depictions of sexual activity involving a minor.
  • Underage sexting- sending indecent pictures, videos through messaging which is widespread among teenagers- is considered child pornography.

The statutes of Virginia state the legal definition of what is considered sexually explicit and define child pornography legally. It considers the production, possession, and distribution of the material as three different felonies.

Under the Va Code 18.2-374.1:1, a person can be charged with production of child pornography if:

  • Regardless of consent, a minor was solicited to be the subject of the porn. A teenager asking for illegal pictures through messaging and getting them is also considered a felony
  • There’s an attempt to produce an illegal picture or video of a minor.
  • They take part in or in any way, facilitate the production of child pornography
  • They support the production of child pornography financially

The Va Code of 18.2-374.1:1 defines possession of child pornography as being able to view the retained material in any way regardless of the intentions.

If the pornographic material, was deleted or not downloaded at all, you can still be charged with possession as a lot of people try to avoid conviction just by viewing illegal material online without knowing that the temporary files left on their browser’s cache are deemed as a possession.

The distribution of Child Pornography is almost always committed by people in possession and under the Va Code of 18.2-374.1:1, it refers to

  • Reproducing: emailing yourself a copy, printing the image
  • Selling: creating a website for child pornography and posting it there
  • Electronically transmitting: transferring a photo to your phone from your computer, forwarding it to a friend, emailing

The laws of Virginia charges the person per image or photo for the production, possession, and distribution of child pornography. For example: If a teenager asks for explicit pictures of another minor and gets three picture which he copies to his computer, he gets charged with three counts of production, six counts of possession and three counts of distribution. Each count for production of child pornography can lead up to twenty years in prison; possession can lead up to five years in prison and distribution can lead up to 20 years in prison in Virginia which means the teenager can get charged with sex offense against minors based on 12 counts felonies.

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