Federal Child Pornography Lawyer
Assisting Individuals Facing Child Pornography Charges with Defending their Federal Criminal Cases in Court
Pornographic materials that involve children are subject to being transferred between states – as well as over the internet. Consequently, in many instances, federal courts have jurisdiction over criminal matters that involve child pornography. Beating a federal charge for possessing or distributing child pornography is never easy. In many cases, individuals who have been charged with a federal offense enter a guilty plea. Taking a case to trial in the federal system can also be risky and could result in a conviction.
If you are convicted, you could be subject to criminal penalties, including fines, prison time, and mandatory sex offender registration. This is because when issuing a sentence, federal judges are required to abide by mandatory United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Moreover, your life will never be the same, and you could suffer damage to both your personal and professional reputations.
If you are facing federal child pornography charges, you need a lawyer on your side who will advocate for you every step of the way and assert a good legal defense on your behalf. The federal defense lawyers at the Joslyn Law Firm can meet with you to discuss your charge and how it came about. Our team can work with you to prepare a defense to assert in the courtroom. Call us today at 614-444-1900 or contact us online to discover how we could help you with defending your criminal legal matter today.
Defining Child Pornography
Child pornography is a very serious criminal offense at the federal or state level. It refers to a visual depiction of a minor involving conduct that is sexually explicit in nature. Visual depictions of a child or children that might qualify as child pornography include any of the following:
- Images that are computer-generated and that appear to realistically portray an actual person
- Images that are modified to some extent but still appear to show a minor
- Electronic data and film that is undeveloped but that a person could convert to an actual image and that depicts a child or children engaged in sexually explicit activities
For an image to constitute child pornography, it does not necessarily need to portray minors engaging in some sort of sexual activity. So long as the image is sexually suggestive or simulates sexual conduct, the image may constitute child pornography under the law.
Federal Criminal Charges
In the majority of cases, child pornography offenses are charged at the federal level, rather than at the state level. This is because child pornography often falls within the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. The Commerce Clause grants the federal government jurisdiction over issues that are part of interstate or foreign commerce. This can apply to child pornography because pornographic materials frequently cross state lines when they are widely disseminated via the internet. Even if the child pornographic materials themselves do not cross state lines, the materials that are used to store pornographic images of children could be part of commerce between the states.
Specific Types of Child Pornography Offenses
Child pornography offenses under federal law are wide-ranging. Common federal offenses that involve child pornography include the following:
- Producing child pornography – Producing child pornography is illegal because it involves sexually exploiting a minor child or children. The law makes it illegal to entice, induce, persuade, or coerce a minor child to take part in any conduct that is sexually explicit, in order to produce some sort of visual or video depiction of said conduct. It is also illegal for a minor child’s parent or parents to allow a minor child to participate in these kinds of activities. Finally, it is against the law to advertise materials that depict children engaging in sexual activities. Sexual exploitation of a minor child carries harsh penalties upon conviction, including between 15 and 30 years in jail for a first-time criminal offender. Repeat offenders could receive even harsher sentences and penalties.
- Distributing and selling child pornographic materials – Knowingly distributing, transporting, or selling materials that involve children – and that are pornographic in nature – is a crime at the federal level. An individual who is convicted of distributing and/or selling child pornographic materials could be sentenced to between five and 20 years in jail, with harsher criminal penalties for subsequent offense
- Possessing Child Pornographic Materials – Knowingly accessing via the internet a periodical, magazine, book, or film that contains an image of child pornography – or that shows one or more minors engaging in sexual activity – could lead to a charge for possessing child pornographic materials. A conviction could lead to fines and a maximum of ten years in jail. Moreover, if the visual depiction in question shows a child under 12 years of age, the accused could be sentenced to 20 years of jail time. Again, these penalties could be increased if the accused is a repeat offender.
Defending against Child Pornography Charges
Fortunately, if you are faced with a child pornography charge, an experienced federal child pornography attorney could assist you with developing a strong legal defense to your charge. For instance, you might be able to raise a defense if you possessed under three items of child pornography, and you then did one or both of the following:
- Made a reasonable attempt to destroy the pornographic materials
- Promptly reported the matter to law enforcement
This particular defense is an affirmative defense to a child pornography charge. This means that on successfully asserting it, you could be acquitted of your charge and your federal criminal case could be dismissed. Many defenses may also involve Fourth Amendment violations and proving lack of intent or knowledge of the pornographic materials.
Speak with a Federal Child Pornography Attorney Today About Your Case
If you have sustained a child pornography charge at the federal level, you should seek experienced legal counsel as soon as you can. The Joslyn Law Firm can help you safeguard your rights, defend your charge, and help you to minimize any consequences associated with a conviction. To schedule a free legal consultation and case evaluation with an experienced federal child pornography attorney, call us today at 614-444-1900 or contact us online to learn how we could help.