In Virginia, it is illegal to possess, distribute, or create Child Pornography (Virginia Code §18.2-374.1:1). This is true for both adults and minors. In many cases, someone who has downloaded illegal material is unwittingly reuploading it to others through a bit torrent service or on the dark web. They may then find themselves charged with multiple counts of distribution. Possession is punishable by up to five years in prison, while distribution is punishable by 5 to 20 years. Challenges to the prosecution’s case using the Defendant’s own computer forensic experts as well as mental health experts can be crucial and require an experienced defense counsel.
A common, yet unexpected form of child pornography these days comes in the form of a juvenile taking, possessing, or sending a nude picture of themselves or a significant other via an application on their phone or another Internet medium. This form of “sexting” is still considered possession, distribution, or creation of child pornography in Virginia, and carries the same penalties as with an adult.