Child Pornography Sentencing Enhancements
Florida and other jurisdictions throughout the country punish certain criminal offenses more harshly than others. Some crimes are simply treated by society and by the government as reprehensible, no matter the life lived by the defendant or the story behind the offense. One of those categories of crimes is child pornography offenses. While there is plenty of societal backlash about marijuana and other drug charges, suspended license charges, and even prostitution, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who will openly contest governmental prohibition and punishment for the creation, distribution, or possession of child pornography materials.
A child pornography criminal conviction will invariably come with severe punishment and baggage. Along with facing probable prison time and lengthy terms of probation, child pornography offenders often end up on Florida’s lifetime sex offender registry and live with a “scarlet letter.” Florida’s legislature has never truly stopped piling on the penalties for child pornography offenders. Several laws have been passed that add insult to injury and significantly enhance the penalties of those convicted of certain child pornography crimes. If you have been charged with any child pornography offense, it is critical that you retain a skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer to achieve the best results in your case.Child Pornography Sentencing Enhancements
Not content with the already stiff sentences accompanying child pornography convictions, the lawmakers of our state have enacted laws that can significantly alter and increase those punishments under certain circumstances. Florida Statute Section 775.0847 lists many of the enhancements that are applicable. In order to apply a sentencing enhancement, the prosecution must first secure a conviction for sexual performance by a child, travelling to meet a minor, transmission of child pornography, or transmission of harmful materials to a minor. Next, the state must prove that the defendant possessed 10 or more mages in any form of child pornography. This type of enhancement is misleading in that it appears to target people who possess large amounts of child pornography materials. The reality of child pornography cases though, is that offenders routinely possess hundreds or thousands of images so this enhancement targets nearly all child pornography prosecutions. If you have found yourself facing such an enhancement, you should not hesitate to contact a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal lawyer to help build your defense.
Once the state has proven the possession of ten or more images, they must prove that at least one of the images depicted a particularly problematic image. The state can prove this element by showing that the images depict a child who is younger than age 5, sadomasochistic abuse involving a child, sexual battery involving a child, bestiality involving a child, or any movie of any kind. If these elements are all met, then the sentencing enhancement will apply. If the original offense was a third degree felony, it will be reclassified to a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. If the original offense was a second degree felony, it will be upgraded to a first degree felony punishable by up to thirty years. Due to the severity of these enhancements, you should not hesitate to retain a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer for your case.