Juvenile Sexting: When a Child Is Accused of Making or Distributing Child Pornography

The advent of the internet and mobile technology has served to connect us all, for better or worse. Unfortunately, while parents of juveniles may wonder who they are talking to while they stare at their phone, in some cases, they should be worrying about what they are sending out to other people in terms of digital media.

If it is nude photos of themselves, not only can a child be arrested for taking naked photos of themselves, but other juveniles can be arrested for simply receiving them. There is nothing more terrifying to a parent to find that their child is looking down the barrel of child pornography charges, the punishments of which could derail their whole lives.


Minnesota, as all states, takes child pornography very seriously, even if it was produced by children themselves. If a child takes a naked photo of another child, they can be charged for making child pornography. If a child receives nude pictures of another child, they can be charged for possessing child pornography. In some cases, the person posing and the person taking the photo or video can be one in the same and can face charges. As a child cannot consent, it doesn’t matter if they agreed to the photos either, it is still very much a crime. Due to the viral nature of the crime, it can be one that can have many juveniles examined under the eye of the law.


If your juvenile has been posing for, in possession of, or distributed child pornography, depending on the extent, they can face almost unfair punishments. Maximum charges for making child pornography include ten years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. Possession of child pornography has a lesser punishment of five years in prison and a fine of $5,000. Finally, distributing child pornography hits the middle ground with maximum punishments of seven years in prison and $10,000 in fines,

The real unfortunate punishment that juvenile child pornography charges come with is that if convicted they will need to register as a sex offender. Typically this may not be permanent for a juvenile offender in Minnesota, but it can still affect their future since it often comes at a decisive time in their life.

The good news is that the courts often realize that kids make mistakes, and this is one of the worst they can make. In this regard, a judge is more likely to choose limited and more rehabilitative punishments rather than to take the same harsh action as they would for an adult charged with the same crime. In these cases, it is best to prove the remorse of the teen and that they did not know that it was a necessarily a crime. Most courts are willing to acknowledge that children make mistakes, but will want to be sure that they learned from them. Unfortunately, if your child was engaged in the malicious distribution of lewd photos of another classmate, the law typically looks on this a little more harshly, but only in the most egregious cases will it result in some form of incarceration.

If you are the parent of a teen that has been involved in a matter of sexting what is technically child pornography, contact us today. The Speas Law Firm can help you come to the defense of your child to make sure their bright future isn’t thrown off track by what is a huge mistake. Let us help you make sure your child learns their lesson, but doesn’t suffer the unfair punishments.