There is no Statute of Limitations on felony crimes in North Carolina which this would be treated as under the law. North Carolina teens may be found in violation of the very laws that were written to protect them. Since North Carolina's sentencing statute generally treats 16-year-olds as adults, the child pornography laws that were designed to protect children from predators could be invoked to sentence those same children to more than a decade in prison.
In fact, the potentially lengthy prison sentences may not even be the end for teenagers convicted of sexting-related crimes in North Carolina. Under the state's Sex Offender and Public Protection Registration Program, anyone convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor is obligated to register as a sex offender.
Depending on the nature of the crime, someone found guilty of a sexting-related crime could be required to maintain this registration for ten years — or for the rest of his or her life. Job opportunities, college applications, career choices — all could be endangered by one irresponsible, teenage act.
I would strongly suggest for this friend to consult with an experienced local criminal defense attorney before doing anything and not to discuss this matter with anyone before consulting with this local attorney and to have this attorney present during any questioning by the law enforcement about the matter.
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