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Felonies could be filed against sexting teens

Sexting among teens has become a nationwide concern, prompting some Colorado lawmakers to consider a bill that would lower the criminal consequences for teenagers mutually exchanging nude pictures. Soon after that bill was defeated, police launched an investigation against multiple teenagers who were allegedly sending explicit pictures of themselves. Since the bill addressing teen sexting penalties failed to pass, the middle and high school students who are being investigated could be charged with felonies.

A Colorado Springs school resource officer at an area high school first launched the investigation, although it is not clear how officials first became aware of the students' apparent activities. A nearby middle school is also being investigated. Police have stated that the number of students involved is not very high, but they have not disclosed the number of pictures that are involved.

One of the investigators noted that all of the pictures being investigated appear to have been sent and received voluntarily. An officer also commented that the teenagers were likely unaware of the possible criminal consequences that can be associated with sending sexually explicit pictures at their ages. No charges have been filed as of yet, and that decision will ultimately be left with the Colorado district attorney who must first review the investigative reports before coming to any conclusion on the matter.

Potentially facing felony charges at such a young age can be especially disheartening. Felonies tend to have harsher penalties -- such as longer jail sentences and steep fines -- than misdemeanors or petty offenses. Even if no charges have been filed, it is typically well-advised for individuals who are the subject of criminal investigations to begin considering possible defense strategies in as timely a manner as possible. This is especially true for younger defendants who still have the rest of their lives ahead.

Source: kktv.com, "CSPD Investigates Sexting At Two Colorado Springs Schools", Alyssa Chin, April 11, 2016

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