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Child Pornography Defense Lawyers | Child Pornography Lawyers

By Spodek Law Group | January 22, 2023

Child Pornography Lawyers

Possession and distribution of child pornography is a sex crime, which is punishable by state and federal laws. This is a type of crime which occurs over the internet, or because you downloaded files from the internet which contains illegal images. Sometimes, files can be mislabeled, or individuals might be redirected to websites they didn’t intend to visit. As a result, incorrect claims can be made against innocent individuals. It’s important to understand the various elements of child pornography crimes, and potential defenses.

What is Child Pornography

Child pornography is any depiction of a minor, or an individual, who appears to be a minor, who is engaged in sexual – or sexually related content. This can be pictures, videos, or computer generated content. If you alter an image, or video, so it appears to be a minor – this too can be considered child pornography. One important exception to the category of child pornography is artistic renderings, or depictions, that have scientific, political, or artistic value. For example, if you have an anatomy book that explains the anatomy of a child – this is exempt from child pornography categorization.

Intent: this is critical when it comes to prosecuting child pornography cases. In order to face charges, it requires knowledge and intent

In order to be charged with a crime related to child porn, you have to knowingly either possess, distribute, or receive, child pornography. This crime requires knowledge and intent on the part of the defendant. If you accidentally stumble upon child pornography, this is not enough to be convicted of a child pornography crime. Internet investigators sometimes are simply looking at who is accessing child pornography websites or downloading pornographic materials – it is difficult for them to ascertain who is intentionally accessing the material, and it is difficult for them to figure out whether or not a mistake has occurred. When someone is downloading hundreds of images or repeatedly accessing an illegal website on the internet – then the intent is VERY obvious to investigators. In isolated circumstances, it is difficult to determine whether the person is actually committing a crime or not. In situations like this, it’s crucial to hire a child pornography lawyer who can help you understand your potential culpability.
If you’re accused of child pornography crimes, below are some of the US penal codes that could be used to prosecute you.

18 U.S.C. § 2251- Sexual Exploitation of Children
(Production of child pornography)
18 U.S.C. § 2251A- Selling and Buying of Children
18 U.S.C. § 2252- Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors
(Possession, distribution and receipt of child pornography)
18 U.S.C. § 2252A- certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography
18 U.S.C. § 2256- Definitions
18 U.S.C. § 2260- Production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States

Pornographic images of children are not protected under first amendment rights, and are illegal. Section 2256, of Title 18, defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. Visual depictions can include photographs, videos, digital or computer images that are indistinguishable from an actual minor, in addition to images that are created/adapted/modified, but appear to depict an actual minor. Undeveloped film, or videotapes, that can store/be illegally converted into a visual image of child porn are also deemed illegal.
Under federal law, there is a prohibition on the production, distribution, possession, of child pornography. Section 2251 makes it illegal to persuade, entice, coerce, or entice, a minor to engage in explicit content for purposes of producing visual depiction of sexual conduct amongst minors. Anyone who attempts, or conspires, to commit a child pornography offense is subject to prosecution under federal law.

Defenses to Child Pornography Charges With Help From Child Porn Lawyers

One of the most obvious and important defenses is that the defendant didn’t know he/she downloaded the child porn. Many people accidentally come into possession of child porn, not intentionally. Possession of adult child pornography is legal, individuals however may not know they were looking at child pornography, or they might be download child pornography when they thought they were downloading adult pornography. In circumstances like this, the best defense is that the fundamental elements of the crime are not met – because there is no necessary state of mind.
Another possible defense is that although the material was on their computers – they didn’t download it. For example, if a computer has multiple users – such as in a work setting, one party might illegally download the porn – but then the child porn is attributed to another party. Bottom line, hiring a child pornography defense lawyer is crucial in situations like this.
Probable cause: Another defense to child porn charges could be the fourth amendment probable cause challenge. Defendants could raise procedural challenges to the charges that have been brought against them. Police have to have probable cause in order to search someone’s computer, or home, for illegal content. If a search was done without probable cause, and without a warrant, the items obtained during the search could be inadmissible during a trial.

Punishments for Child Pornography Possession or Distribution

Child porn charges can be prosecuted by federal and state courts. They carry significant criminal punishments. First time offenses can result in 15-20 years in prison, in addition to extended time in supervised sex offender release programs. When you’re charged with possession of child porn, it’ll require you to be registered in a sex offender database too.

What Counts as Possession of Child Pornography?

If law enforcement finds child pornographic material on your computer, the first step towards prosecution will be proving possession of the computer. The next step, is proving the person knew they were in possession of the file in question. Many factors come into play when law enforcement agents are going to try and establish purposeful possession of child pornography. Criminal charges involving child pornography shouldn’t be taken seriously, and you should hire a child pornography defense attorney to help you.

What Factors Determine How Child Pornography is Prosecuted?

It is illegal to create, receive, distribute or possess child pornography. The penalties for breaking child pornography laws are severe. State laws set forth consequences for perpetrators, which include prison time and hefty fines. If the U.S. government also presses charges, the offender is also subject to prosecution under federal law. The following factors influence the way that child pornography is prosecuted.

Federal vs. State Prosecution of Child Pornography

In general, child pornography becomes a federal case when it involves interstate or international commerce. If the images crossed state lines or national borders, the U.S. government becomes involved.
This is obviously relevant if the USPS is involved in transporting material between states or countries. Federal prosecution is also applicable to situations that involve the internet. It’s fairly easy to track the dissemination of child pornography over the internet using IP addresses. Most internet content originates from servers that are in a different location than the viewers.
18 U.S. Code § 2252 provides details about child pornography laws. This section defines child pornography offenses and sets forth guidelines for prosecution.

Other federal codes set forth guidelines for prosecuting other types of crimes involving sexually explicit depictions of children. For example, statute 18 U.S.C. §2252A has to do with the sexual exploitation of minors. Statute 18 U.S.C. §1466A involves obscene representations of sexual abuse of minors.

Was It Done Knowingly?

Child pornography is a sex crime. To be charged with a child pornography offense, someone must knowingly watch, disseminate or own a visual representation of a minor participating in sexually related conduct. Most nudity qualifies as child pornography if it involves a minor. This is true even if the nudity is not inherently sexual.

The defendant must demonstrate that the crime was committed intentionally. In some cases, such as those in which a defendant downloads several incriminating videos or visits an illegal website more than once, intent is evident.

In other cases, however, it’s more difficult to prove whether the defendant knew about the images. For example, someone working on a shared computer that contains questionable files could claim that someone else downloaded the media. A shady link could redirect you to a child pornography site without your knowledge.

Disproving Child Pornography Accusations

An individual who commits a child porn crime can be prosecuted. Anyone who attempts or conspires to commit a child pornography offense is also subject to prosecution. But individuals may also be falsely accused.

Some defenses that can prevent prosecution include:
• Mistaken identity – Someone else downloaded, watched, received or distributed child porn on your computer or stole your IP address by changing the VPN.
• No criminal intent – The creator of the material stated that participants were 18 or older, and you had no reason to believe otherwise.
• No knowledge – You didn’t know that you possessed any child porn content.
However, committing child pornography crimes is serious. In many cases, declaring that you viewed questionable materials but weren’t aware of the age of the individuals involved is not a solid defense.
Child pornography is a serious offense. If the crime attracts federal attention, it could lead to decades of jail time, fines and a lifetime on the sex offender registry. If you have been accused of a crime that involves child pornography, contact a child porn lawyer immediately. Authorities will use anything that you say against you. Protect yourself by working with an experienced attorney.

Child Pornography FAQ

Does watching child pornography count as possessing child porn?
There is a legal ambigiuity when it comes to possessing and viewing anything on the internet. If you are accused of possessing, or distributing, child pornography, you should hire a skilled child pornography defense attorney who can defend your rights and present a strong criminal defense case on your behalf. When it comes to child porn, it’s often assumed that viewing is same as possessing. There is a gray area when it comes to things like streaming and possessing links, which your child pornography defense attorney can use to challenge culpability. Certain acts are 100% considered receiving, distributing, and possessing child porn. Consult with an experience lawyer who can examine your case, and discuss your legal options.

Federal Child Porn Lawyers

A visual depiction of a minor, or someone who looks like a minor, engaging in conduct that is sexually explicit is committing the crime of child pornography. A minor is considered someone under the age of 18, and “sexually explicit conduct” is described as a depiction of sexual intercourse that is actual or simulated; masturbation; and abuse or lewd exhibition of a minor’s genitals or pubic area. The fairly recent explosion of camera phones and digital cameras has also created an explosion of opportunities for many people to produce self-portraits and to share them with the world. Sometimes this sense of freedom and fun can lead to criminal activity by some. With the ever-growing use of and growth of the internet, which is able to send images across the world, these kinds of crimes easily grow larger. They are spread with the use of films and photographs, video, digital- and computer-generated images or pictures, drawings, and animations, among others. This act may also be a crime if the face of a minor that is edited onto the body of an adult is shown in a sexual manner.

Child pornography is prohibited in all 50 U.S. states under several federal and state laws. Federal law U.S.C. Chapter 110, Sexual Exploitation and Other Abuse of Children, prohibits child pornography. Such federal and state laws cover the sexual exploitation of children; selling and buying of children; possession, distribution, and receipt of child pornography; activities that use material constituting or containing child pornography;. and the production of sexually explicit images of a minor to be used to import to the United States. A first-time conviction for child pornography may mean 15-20 years in prison in addition to fines, and these trials may be held in federal or state courts or both.

Individuals with federal child pornography charges have a tough road ahead of them, as these cases are some of the absolute hardest to defend. Individuals who are indicted with this charge are often publicly humiliated as well, even if they were falsely accused or set up. Federal child pornography offenses apply to anyone who possessed, received, viewed or distributed sexually-graphic visual depictions of a minor, meaning even accidentally viewing it could mean serious consequences. Charges can even apply in situations where a minor is depicted through CG imagery, an image of an adult actress is manipulated to look like a minor and/or with sexually-explicit drawings of minors.

The digital age has, unfortunately, made this charge significantly more common. It’s easier than ever to share images online, which is doubly true for child pornography. Individuals could find themselves accidentally viewing or receiving it without any intention to do so. federal courts don’t differentiate accidents and intentional viewings of images depicting child pornography though, meaning people can be hit with the full brunt of the law for a simple accident or misunderstanding; This is why retaining an experienced criminal-defense attorney to defend someone against child pornography charges is essential
There’s also the fact that some people are simply stuck in a dark part of their life and develop dangerous habits on the internet. This doesn’t mean it’s legal to pursue these habits, but it’s important for courts to understand situations where a mentally-ill individual may have the charges, but also pose almost no threat to children. These people can be highly-professional and/or successful individuals who made a mistake and a court won’t always understand that either; To take it further, courts don’t realize that simply indicting someone with these charges could ruin the rest of someone’s professional and personal life with prospective employers and family and friends. Having a knowledgeable attorney on the defense, however, can help explain how an individual is a productive or professional individual irregardless of the charges brought against them.

What Penalties One Could Face If They’re Convicted of Federal Child Pornography Charges, Why Do You Need a Child Pornography Lawyer

There are US sentencing guidelines that federal courts will strictly follow for child pornography charges; They specifically apply to cases involving possessing, receiving and/or distributing child pornography. The sentencing follows a very specific system that will affect how long a prison sentence is, but all prison sentences will start a mandatory minimum of five years, with a maximum of 20; Sentencing becomes much more strict if the individual was involved in the production of the work, as the mandatory minimum jumps to 15 years with a 30 year maximum. To make matters worse, offenders will also be fined and could be tried before both state and federal courts, which can double the charges and increase a prison sentence. Courts will enforce harsher penalties if the images depicting child pornography feature sexual abuse, sadistic or masochistic acts and/or the individual accused has prior convictions; These factors can cause an individual to face a lifetime of imprisonment. Every person convicted of this offense will also have a dent on their criminal record that prevents them from pursuing worthwhile careers; They will also have to register as a sex offender, which makes living in any area incredibly difficult.

How a Child Porn Lawyer Can Fight Unfair or Unjust Child Pornography Charges

federal cases involving child pornography can be very difficult; This is because one will only be indicted if the court has highly specific forensic evidence linking a computer to the person accused and/or links the individual’s computer to a server that has distributed child pornography. That’s why people need an experienced attorney in situations like this, as evidence can be planted against them. An attorney can also work on dismissing and disputing the case so that charges can be dropped or a hefty sentence can be lessened. Attorneys will also be able to help individuals realize what is and isn’t a defense for the case and will develop a strategic plan to work on defending them. Lastly, a knowledgeable attorney will be able to determine if law enforcement overstepped their boundaries and violated an individual’s rights and/or planted evidence on an individual.
If an individual is facing a child pornography charge, a determined prosecutor will already be building a case against them and they’ll have to experience public humiliation. This is why an attorney is absolutely necessary, as they can starting building a case for an individual instead of against them. They’ll work hard to disprove evidence and stand with their client every step of the way. Specifically, our firm can greatly help falsely-accused individuals and reformed offenders determine the best course of action with a quick consultation.

What Legally Makes It Child Pornography?

Child porn is a crime which deals with some of the harshest punishment under the law, that a person can face. Regardless of the event, or material involved, the first offense is met with a VERY heavy punishment. Subsequent offenses result in even harsher criminal sentences. There are two types of materials considered child porn: simulated, and porn produced with direct involvement of the minor. With the production of child porn, there could be other charges includes, like child abuse, and many many other laws.
Pictures of child porn are not secure under First Amendment rights – they are unlawful under federal law. Under federal law, any visual portrayal of sexually explicit minor can be considered child pornography. Sexual activity is not needed in the image to be considered child porn. The images that contain a nude picture of a child that is deemed sexually suggestive is enough to be considered illegal. Child porn under federal law is when you disregard the age of the subject, who is involved in sexual activity. Some states consider age of consent to be younger than 18 years old, but when child pornography is concerned – any depiction of a minor under 18 is unlawful.

Sex offenders must register at an appropriate law enforcement agency once they are released into the public. Registration aims to protect communities, help apprehend suspects and discourage further criminal acts. Although each state has a separate registry procedure, failing to register is a federal offense.

History of Sex Offender Registration Laws

Congress began to focus heavily on sex offender registration laws in 1994. The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, passed in that year, established standards for state registration of sex offenders. Several other bills were passed throughout the next decade, including Megan’s Law.
The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, or SORNA, was passed in 2006, establishing a federal standard for registering sex offenders. The bill classifies sexual offenses in different tiers, which are based on a number of factors. Each tier has different reporting requirements, as follows:
• Tier III – Lifetime reporting requirement
• Tier II – 25-year reporting requirement
• Tier I – 10 to 15-year reporting requirement

Although registration and notification are managed through individual systems in each state, they’re standardized and monitored by the federal government. This allows for continuity of tracking if registrants move among jurisdictions.

Sex offender registration is required in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, some Native American tribal jurisdictions and the five principal U.S. territories. Sex offender registration details and legislation differs from state to state.

Jurisdictions must maintain a minimum standard, however. That means that they can enact more stringent laws than the federal standard, but they can’t ask for less than what SORNA requires. Therefore, local sex offender laws and penalties may be more stringent than federal ones.

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