According to the FBI, there has been a 2,500% increase in child pornography arrests over the past decade. Child pornography charges should be taken very seriously. Even an accusation that you possessed or produced child pornography can be stigmatizing and come with serious consequences. It is important to retain an experienced sex crime attorney once you realize that you are being investigated by law enforcement for a child pornography crime. St. Petersburg child pornography lawyer Will Hanlon is dedicated to protecting the rights of people accused of transmitting or viewing child pornography, and he has decades of experience handling these high-stakes cases.Fighting a Child Pornography Charge
Child pornography includes any images, movies, presentations, or data that show someone under the age of 18 involved in sexual activities. Sexual activities that can constitute pornography include intercourse, bestiality, S&M, masturbation, lewd exhibition of genitals, sexual battery, and showing genitals or private areas in order to arouse or gratify a person's sexual desire. A mother breastfeeding a child, however, is never considered child pornography.
Possession of child pornography is a third-degree felony. The potential punishment is five years in prison, five years’ probation, and $5,000 in fines. A prosecutor bringing possession charges must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly possessed, controlled, or intentionally looked at images, representations, presentations, or motion pictures showing a child's sexual acts. Intentionally looking at the image includes any deliberate, voluntary, and purposeful viewing.
Viewing, controlling, or possessing each of these images is a separate crime. This means that, for example, if you have five images that include a child involved in sexual activity on your computer, you can face five child pornography charges. When there is more than one child involved, each child in the image that is viewed, controlled, or possessed is a separate crime. Therefore, for example, if you have five images, each of which includes three different children, you could be charged with 15 offenses. A child pornography attorney in the St. Petersburg area can advise you on the types of charges that you may be facing.
Making child pornography or promoting child pornography is punished even more harshly. For example, if you are accused of videotaping a child who is engaged in a sexual performance, you can be charged with a second-degree felony. Sexual performances are any performances that include a child's sexual conduct. There is a distinction, however, between child erotica and child pornography. Erotica includes photographs of children who are photographed naked or partially naked. However, they are posed in such a way that they are not considered to be engaged in the "sexual conduct" that is essential to a child pornography charge.
If you possess three or more pieces of child pornography, this is considered prima facie evidence of intent to promote. Promotion of child pornography is a second-degree felony. You can face up to $10,000 in fines, 15 years in prison, or 15 years’ probation for promotion of child pornography. Transmitting, distributing, and manufacturing child pornography are also illegal and charged as third-degree felonies. Another type of offense that is often charged is transmitting child pornography to a minor, which also can result in significant penalties.
Our St. Petersburg child pornography attorney will look into every available defense if we handle your case. In some cases, it is possible to show insufficient evidence to meet the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. For example, when defending against a child pornography possession charge, we may be able to plausibly argue that the images wound up on your computer through a virus or through the actions of another person. The element of "knowingly" must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If we can show that you inadvertently had child pornography on your computer, it should raise a sufficient doubt to get the charges dismissed or reduced for a plea deal, or to obtain an acquittal at trial.Seek Assistance from a Child Pornography Lawyer in the St. Petersburg Area
If you are being investigated for child pornography, you should retain a St. Petersburg criminal attorney right away, even before charges are filed if possible. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation since 1994. We are dedicated to guarding the rights of the accused. You can call Hanlon Law at 727.897.5413 or complete our online form.