Pornography law in North Carolina

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Pornography law in North Carolina: In North Carolina, teen sexting is not illegal. Instead, teenagers who are guilty of sharing unsuitable information can be sued for solicitation, harassment, broadcasting material detrimental to children, exploitation of a minor/child or child pornography-related offense, unlawful publication of inappropriate photos, and other offenses. Many of these offenses are felonies with lasting repercussions like a criminal record and sex offender registration.

Prosecutors frequently substitute child pornography and obscenity laws for North Carolina sexting laws.

What exactly is child pornography?

State and federal laws in North Carolina both consider child pornography to be a severe offense. Federal law considers any visual representation of sexually explicit activities involving a minor as child sexual (a person under 18 years old).

Federal law prohibits the creation, reception, distribution, importation, or possession of photos showing a minor participating in sexually explicit behavior. Such images may be photographs, movies, digital or computer-generated images that are identical to real minors, images made to represent real minors, as well as unprocessed film, videotapes, and electronically stored data.

Pornography law in North Carolina: Is child pornography a federal or state offense?

Both. Both North Carolina and the federal courts cover child pornography violations by a multitude of laws in both North Carolina and the federal courts. Because of this, a person found with these kinds of pictures may face charges in both state and federal courts, or sometimes both. 

The investigation of child pornography cases is the responsibility of the Internet crime and child exploitation departments within both state and federal agencies. Both state and federal courts may hear criminal cases brought by these entities. “Sexual Exploitation of a Minor” is the legal term that describes offenses involving child pornography in North Carolina. First, second, and third are the three levels of sexual exploitation of a minor. First, sexual exploitation—the most serious case—involves the creation or production of child porn. Third sexual exploitation makes it illegal to simply possess child pornography, while second sexual exploitation covers both the giving and receiving of child porn. The three levels of sexual exploitation of minors are all serious offenses that, if guilty, necessitate registration as a sex offender and carry potential jail sentences.

Pornography law in North Carolina: Crime Age

As of April 2016, only North Carolina and New York continued to treat 16-year-olds who were facing criminal charges as adults. Some states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Mississippi, and Rhode Island, have raised the age at which the criminal justice system automatically recognizes a person as an adult to 18 in recent years. Several “holdout” states, like South Carolina, maintain a 17-year-old criminal adulthood threshold.

Several studies show that the brain regions necessary for making rational decisions do not fully mature until the mid-20s. While imprisoned in adult jails, adolescents are also particularly vulnerable to maltreatment.

Nonetheless, it is significantly more expensive to keep a child in a juvenile facility than an adult one since children have legal rights to programs like education and treatment that are not necessary for adults. For instance, a report ordered by the Texas Legislature in 2015 found that housing a child in a juvenile detention center costs more than $367 a day, compared to just $40 for an adult prisoner.

Sexting laws and the distribution of content that is detrimental to children?

Any media that depicts sexual activity is context specific and harmful to minors under North Carolina law. For instance, emailing a teenager a photo of an adult’s genitalia falls under the category of spreading harmful content to minors.

Age deception or error is not a defense under California Code 14-190.15, “Disseminating Harmful Material to Minors: Displaying Hazardous Performances to Minors.” The law makes it illegal to provide, sell, distribute, or permit children to see or browse harmful content.

Pornography law in North Carolina: Something to keep in mind:

An adult who communicates damaging material to a minor under the age of 16 commits a felony.

It is a crime to provide damaging content to a youngster older than 16.

Federal law may apply if the conduct takes place between states or across international borders. Soliciting a child’s sexual activity or exposing a child to dangerous material is against federal law.

Some FAQs about the pornography law in North Carolina

The following are some FAQs concerning the pornography law in North Carolina:-

What if I unintentionally view or download child porn?

You should get in touch with a lawyer right away if you unintentionally watched or downloaded child porn. There are some specific, limited situations when self-reporting is not unlawful under state or federal laws that criminalize child pornography.

What should I do if the police get in touch with me over claims of child porn?

Be courteous, but refuse to provide any information. Never consent to a search of your home or your electronic devices of your own free will. Respectfully request the investigators’ names and phone numbers, and then immediately call a lawyer with experience handling cases similar to this.

What must I do in the event that the cops grab my computer?

Executing a search warrant is frequently the first step in investigations into child pornography. If law enforcement contacts you, you should speak with a lawyer right away. Do not respond to any inquiries or offer any statements. Request a copy of the search warrant formally. The officers will start carrying out the search warrant by gathering and taking away any equipment or other items important to the warrant for better examination further.  

You should hire a lawyer even if you think your computer or other electronic devices don’t have any proof of illicit photos. Typically, a computer system containing child pornography will be subject to a digital forensic investigation, which can result in the destruction of the system.  

Do I have to register as a sex offender if I’m found guilty of a child porn offense?

If found guilty of a child pornography crime, whether it be sexual exploitation of a minor in North Carolina courts or a federal child pornography crime, the offender must register as a sex offender. If found guilty of possessing or receiving child pornography, the first period of registration under the present sex offender registration legislation is 30 years.

What do the sexting laws and revenge porn in North Carolina mean?

When someone wants to denigrate, humiliate, coerce, or inflict emotional, psychological, or financial harm on someone, they are in violation of North Carolina’s GS-14-190 revenge porn law. Without permission, the person distributes or shares any sexually explicit material that features an identifiable third party. Sharing pictures taken in situations where the subject had a reasonable expectation of privacy, then, is a class H felony.

The images are thought to be obscene or sexual; the subject did not consent, and the accused intentionally and consciously released them. The legislation operates under the premise that the accused intended to injure the victim in some way.

What about unwelcome nudity?

Obscenity or harassment may be done by sending indecent sexual photographs or engaging in non-consensual sexting. What charges are brought depends on the information provided. However, anyone who has been the target of cyberbullying, phone harassment, or other related civil offenses may file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation.

What sanctions apply to child porn?

Whether a case is brought before a state or federal court has a significant impact on the potential penalties for child porn charges. Probation may be the punishment if found guilty of second or third sexual exploitation of a minor under North Carolina law. The penalty grows significantly heavier if a child pornography case is chosen for federal prosecution, though. The typical minimum term in federal proceedings is five years in jail, while much greater sentences are possible. 

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