Transmission of Child Pornography Charges
People being investigated for child pornography charges sometimes do not realize how harsh the penalties are for any crime in this area. You should take it very seriously if you are contacted by law enforcement in connection with alleged child pornography. You should retain an attorney right away rather than provide statements in an informal interview. While the police officer may reassure you that it is just an investigation, statements that you make to the police can undercut defenses available to you. An experienced sex crime attorney can provide counsel about the investigation and intervene on your behalf with the prosecutor to try to secure a favorable outcome. At Hanlon Law, St. Petersburg child pornography lawyer Will Hanlon is dedicated to protecting the rights of people who are charged with transmission of child pornography.Transmission of Child Pornography
Transmission of child pornography is a third-degree felony. It can be charged under Florida Statutes sections 827.071, 847.0135, or 847.0137. Generally, the prosecutor will need to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you used an electronic device or equipment to send child pornography or cause it to be delivered. Child pornography is distinct from child erotica. The former is criminalized, while the latter is not. In child erotica, children are shown in various states of undress, but not necessarily for a sexual purpose. Child pornography involves images, information, or data about minors who are involved in any type of sex act, including exposing themselves for purposes of their own or another person's sexual gratification.
You can also be charged with a third-degree felony for promoting child pornography, which may involve transmission. You may also be charged with a third-degree felony if you transmit a notice of a minor's name, address, phone number, and other identifiers in order to facilitate, offer, encourage, or solicit minors for sex or in connection with visual depictions of sex with a minor. For example, if you are 20 years old and transmit sexual images of an underage ex-girlfriend for revenge, you could be charged with transmission of child pornography.
If you transmit child pornography to a minor by using electronic devices or equipment, you can be charged with a separate crime under section 847.0138. For this crime, there are enhanced penalties if you are considered an authority figure, and the victim was a student.
Third-degree felony convictions carry harsh sentences. You could be imprisoned for up to five years, put on probation for five years, or fined up to $5,000. You will likely need to register as a sex offender, and if you do not register as required, you face further penalties. Anyone can access the sex offender registry, which means that not only will it potentially affect your ability to get a job or go to a particular school, but it could also be accessed by neighbors who might not want you to live in their neighborhood.
There may be defenses available, depending on the circumstances. All crimes need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high burden. In some cases, an attorney’s goal will be to create a reasonable doubt about one or more elements of the crime. In other cases, it makes more sense to attack the evidence by showing that it was obtained in violation of your constitutional or procedural rights. For example, you have a Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The police must have probable cause to search your computer, and in some cases, the information received by the police that triggers an investigation is not enough to be considered probable cause. Certain situations also can give rise to an entrapment defense.Consult an Experienced St. Petersburg Attorney
If you are being investigated for transmission of child pornography, you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has represented criminal defendants since 1994. Call Hanlon Law at 727.289.0222 or complete our online form.