Accusations of creating, possessing, or distributing child pornography have severe and far-reaching consequences, even without a conviction. The accused can have their reputation, career, and family completely destroyed before setting foot in a courtroom. The lifelong implications make this one of the most emotionally-charged cases anyone can experience.
Child pornography is defined as pornographic activities of anyone under 18 years old and is not protected by First Amendment rights. Knowingly creating, owning, distributing, or selling any visual depiction of children involved in sexual acts is a criminal offense and can be prosecuted at the state or federal level. This usually constitutes photographs, videos, digital media, and even unprocessed film. The nature of the photos does not have to depict sexual acts in order to be considered pornographic. Provocative or sexually suggestive imagery of nude minors is considered child pornography. Examples of illegal activities involving pornographic material can include participation in creating pornography involving a child, transporting child pornography, promoting the sale of child pornography, and possessing child pornography on a personal device like a computer or smartphone.
Possession or distribution of child pornography involves possessing or distributing images or videos depicting children engaged in sexual acts. This offense is a third-degree felony, and the penalties can include imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Possession or distribution of child pornography with aggravating factors, such as possession of a large number of images or the involvement of a child under six years old, can result in enhanced penalties.
Child pornography charges can also be a federal crime with more severe penalties. For example, a first-time offender convicted of producing child pornography may face 15 to 30 years in prison. Previous convictions of a child pornography offense or if the imagery is considered violent or occurred in an aggravated situation may also increase the penalties. If convicted, the accused may face up to life imprisonment. It is possible to face both state and federal child pornography charges simultaneously, which makes working with an attorney who has defended clients in both state and federal courts especially important. For legal guidance regarding child pornography allegations, call (806) 372-5711.