From e-mail and social media to entertainment and news outlets, we rely on the internet to communicate, work, learn, and stay connected with loved ones and the world. However, the internet is also used to commit various sex crimes, especially against minors under 18 years of age.
The following are the four most common types of internet sex crimes and the associated penalties in North Carolina:
- Sexting – Sexting means sending illicit messages and sharing nude or sexually explicit images by cell phone or computer. Although North Carolina does not have any laws regarding sexting among minors, certain criminal laws may apply to minors accused of sending sexually charged texts and messages. For example, intentionally possessing, receiving, distributing, or producing material depicting sexual activity is considered “obscenity,” which is a Class I felony.
- Child pornography – Possession of an image or video recording of a minor performing a sexual act is a Class H felony, while distributing or recording child pornography is a Class E felony. Enticing a child to make child pornography is a Class C felony.
- Online solicitation – Using online forums and other messaging services to attract, entice, or coerce minors in order to meet up with them and engage in sexual activity, which is a Class H felony. If the meeting took place, then it is a Class G felony.
- Sex trafficking – Considered a subset of human trafficking, this sex crime involves commercial sex acts using force, fraud, or coercion, and can come in the form of an underground prostitution ring or massage parlor that is a cover for the illegal sex trade. Since sex trafficking generally involves multiple states and countries, it is often handled by federal authorities and punishable by federal charges, including a lengthy federal prison sentence.
Unfortunately, many innocent people facing internet sex crime charges after accidentally clicking on a forbidden link, making a Google search, or talking to someone who you believed was of age but is actually a minor. If you have been charged with an internet sex crime in Charlotte, Jetton & Meredith, PLLC is committed to helping you avoid criminal penalties and clear your name.
Do not hesitate to contact us today at (704) 931-5535 and schedule an initial consultation to learn about your legal options.