Today's world is complicated and things that were overlooked in earlier years, could now be a serious legal matter. Don't make a mistake that will limit your future. Get the facts about Tennessee Law for Teens here.
Think you can't get into serious trouble if you're under 18?
From expensive fines...to detention...to loss of school privileges...and loss of scholarships, getting into legal trouble can be REAL BAD!
Ever heard the saying "ignorance of the law is no excuse"? Well, it's not just a saying - IT'S A REAL FACT.
Most teens get into trouble because they simply don't realize that some things they do are illegal.
Today teens are always connected. They live out their lives online and in the public eye. They share photos on Instagram, tweet live from concerts, and message friends instead of calling. However, sometimes teens don't make wise choices about what they're posting, sharing, or texting. Unfortunately, one impulsive decision can affect their lives for years to come.
To some teens, sending sexually-explicit content is a normal way to interact with friends. They see nothing wrong with sexting, especially if “everyone is doing it.” Meanwhile, other teens sext because they view it as a joke or, some even feel pressured to do so.
Although statistics on sexting varies, reports reveal that at least 1 in 7 teens engages in sexting. Meanwhile, as many as 1 in 4 teens receive sexually-explicit texts and emails.
Teens don't realize that sexting has serious and legal consequences.
When nude pictures or partially nude pictures involve MINORS, it is considered child pornography. Exchanging nude photos of MINORS is also a felony—even when the photos were taken and shared are consensual.
In some cases, the teen taking or sharing the photo can be charged with DISSEMINATING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. Meanwhile, the teens receiving the photo can be charged with POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, even if they didn't request a copy of the photo.
What’s more, teens can be labeled SEX OFFENDERS for sending or possessing sexually-explicit photos of other teens. There have also been cases where teens were even charged with a crime when the photos in their possession were of themselves.
Yet as many as 61% of teens don't realize that sexting is considered CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. They said that if they'd known, they probably wouldn’t have done it.
Once a sext is in cyberspace, you lose all control over the image. People can share it, copy it, and use it to sexually bully you. One example of sexual bullying is known as slut-shaming. Teens make assumptions about your sexual activity and then bully you for it.
They also make assumptions about your reputation. Cyberbullies might even share the photo to embarrass and humiliate you. They might also use the photo to impersonate you.
There is no way to control who sees the photo once you send it. There are countless cases where a teen discovers that a private photo has been passed around and sometimes even shared online.
Once the photo is online, sexual predators may see it. This puts you at risk of being sexually exploited.
Sometimes when teens send a nude photo during an impulsive moment, they are later at risk for being blackmailed.
There have been cases where the recipient of the image threatens to shame the sender. Many teens who receive these types of threats give in to the blackmailer's demands.
Often, they are too embarrassed to ask for help and are at the mercy of the blackmailer for a long time.
Sometimes teens believe that photos sent through text message, email, or even on Snapchat will only be able to be viewed by the recipient. But once sent, these images are out of your control. They can be shared, copied, and re-posted.
Even images shared using Snapchat put a teen at risk. Teens have learned how to copy images and save them before the app deletes them. Lives have been ruined by photos sent via Snapchat.
Sending sexually-explicit messages to another person is never a good idea, no matter how serious the relationship. Photos like these can potentially damage or destroy reputations. For instance, the person receiving the photos might brag about them and show them to other people. Or they might share them after the two of them break up. This can be humiliating and embarrassing.
It also could lead to bullying, slut-shaming, and name-calling. These images can even ruin your online reputation. People may form opinions about your teen just by seeing the photos.
DON’T RISK YOUR SAFETY, WELL-BEING, AND REPUTATION – DON’T SEXT.
May is a time for graduations and celebrations. And, there’s no better time to inspire confidence in high school and middle school students than National Teen Self-Esteem Month. In May, we make an extra effort to counter self-worth and self-image problems teens may face. Join us in focusing on the importance of supporting teens—helping them voice their needs, share their perspectives, and build a healthy outlook of themselves.
There were nearly 23,000 speeding-related crashes in Tennessee from 2017 to 2019, according to Tennessee’s Integrated Traffic Analysis Network. The report stated 36 percent of those crashes involved drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 years old.
Distracted while driving is a big problem with teens and automobiles.
Check out this video to see the consequences of driving drunk or high.
3 OUT OF EVERY 5 TEENS ARE INVOLVED IN SOME SORT OF ILLEGAL ACTIVITY.
That statistic is disturbing and one that District Attorney Stowe wants to wipe out.
As a teenager, you may be tempted to push the limits on your independence from parents. But remember...rules are intended to keep you OUT of trouble. That's the goal.
Get the scoop here!
Gangs have become a real issue in rural West Tennessee. From illegal drug trade to human trafficking to targeted violence, gang involvement is a major concern for law enforcement and school authorities.
DRUNK DRIVING or STONED DRIVING are both considered "Driving Under the Influence." Any of the following could happen if you are found guilty:
Don’t get in a car with someone who’s stoned or drunk and don’t drive if you are intoxicated. While this may seem like common sense to some, a lot of teens don’t realize that just being with someone who's driving intoxicated can also get you in trouble.
The fastest growing problems with teens today involve phones and computers. While it may seem harmless, sexual photos of minors is a crime.
Sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexual photos or sexually suggestive messages through text message or email. Sexting has some serious consequences not only for the person taking and sending the photos but also for the person on the receiving end.
Find out what you need to know about the serious consequences.
Cyberbullying is a growing concern in every school and community. By using digital devices, like cell phones, computers, and tablets, it is easy for a bully post harmful, false, or intimidating content about someone else. This is often combined with ransom threats requesting money, sexual favors, or other acts. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.
The Internet can be a hazardous place for those who don't know how to protect themselves. Beware of gaming sites or other sites that offer free downloads. From simple computer viruses to ransomware that hijacks your computer info, it pays to be safe.
Child predators troll online sites to find victims by posing as other teens. These creeps may ask you for personal information or photos. Don't put all of your info online. Don't announce when you or your parents are home or not. Never agree to meet anyone without parents or your guardian.
Find out all about the Digital Dangers you could face.
Sneaking into an old abandoned house to ghost hunt may sound like innocent fun, but it could also be criminal trespassing.
The District Attorney, Law Enforcement and other authorities don't want to see YOU in trouble. Get the info on how to stay out of trouble and OUT OF JAIL.
Check out what's legal or illegal.
You may think that it’s only a problem if you get caught, but that’s not the case. Certain actions have serious consequences that could affect you for the rest of your life.
Control your actions and the company you keep. Don’t put your life in someone else’s hands. Don’t allow their bad choices to hurt you. Be responsible. Know the scene you are in and the people around you. THINK TWICE and be aware.
Matthew F. Stowe is the District Attorney General for the 24th Judicial District of Tennessee. The 24th consists of Benton, Carroll, Decatur, Hardin and Henry counties.
A District Attorney General is an elected position that represents the people of their District and the State. A DA is the head of his office and hires several other attorneys, or Assistant D.A.s, to work cases throughout the district. The main criminal office in District 24 is in Huntingdon, TN and there are county offices in each county seat.
General Stowe holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and earned his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School. He has practiced law for the past 24 years serving in various positions in private practice and government service.
He has the distinction of serving as law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and other regional and state courts. He has worked as the Deputy Solicitor General for the Attorney General of Texas. In addition to his legal practice Gen. Stowe has worked as a adjunct professor of law for Bethel University, assistant professor for Cornell Law School and teaching fellow at Harvard Law School.
"This site has been created to help teens and preteens throughout the district to better understand the law and how they can be affected by bad decisions. Our goal is to keep our youth on the right track. We want to help you to stay out of trouble and preserve your opportunities for a great future."