Sex Crimes Child Pornography Defense

Several child pornography-related offenses are recognized and heavily penalized according to Florida’s legal code. Possession and transmission of child pornography are two offenses of which Floridians may find themselves accused despite lacking intent or even knowledge of possessing the prohibited material. These charges are serious felonies that carry well-defined maximum prison sentences for each count. Those accused of possession or transmission need the assistance of a skilled child pornography defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale or Naples.

Any image that depicts a person under the age of 18 engaged in any type of sexual activity is generally defined as child pornography in Florida. Sexual conduct includes deviate sexual intercourse, actual sexual intercourse, simulated sexual intercourse, sadomasochistic abuse, sexual beastiality, and masturbation. Florida law treats each illegal image possessed as a distinct count. Therefore, the judge who applies sentencing will generally do so for each count, which may result in very long prison sentences stemming from a single incident in which the child pornography was found. A person may be charged separately for having tens or even hundreds of prohibited images of children. Possession of Child Pornography is a Third Degree felony; an individual who is convicted may be sentenced to a maximum of five years imprisonment, five years on probation, and a $5,000 fine for each count of possession. Therefore, anyone who is wrongfully accused of possession of child pornography should immediately contact a child pornography defense attorney in Naples or Fort Lauderdale.

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Defenses against possession

There are cases in which child pornography may be found on an individual’s computer or digital device without the person’s knowledge that the prohibited material was present. In some cases, an person may have allowed a friend, family member, or neighbor borrow his or her computer, at which point, the explicit material depicting a child may have been downloaded. The owner may establish his or her innocence by proving he or she was not in possession of the computer at the time the pornographic file was accessed and downloaded. In other cases, a computer or device may be shared communally or otherwise located in an area to which multiple people have access. The state may have a much more difficult time establishing the accused person possessed the image if someone else also had free access to the computer when the image was downloaded. In other cases, someone may receive an illegal image in email spam or by clicking on a link without knowing the link will direct them to illegal pornography. Even if the individual attempts to delete the pornographic image in these situations, a thumbnail version may remain on the computer without the owner’s knowledge. Still, some people receive unsolicited illegal images from people they know. A knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale child pornography defense lawyer can help by enlisting experts to gather all the necessary evidence to help the accused present and establish his or her case in court.

Transmission of child pornography defenses

Distributing or transmitting child pornography is viewed as a severe offense and is sentenced accordingly. This offense is covered under Florida’s law against promoting a sexual performance by a child. To obtain a conviction, the state must prove:

  • The accused produced, directed, disbursed, or advertised any visual representation of available to be witnessed by spectators,
  • The visual representation depicted sexual activity by a child under the age of 18
  • The accused knew the visual representation constituted child pornography and still distributed it

Transmitting child pornography is also a third degree felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment, $5,000 fine, and five years probation per illicit image. However, if the accused is an authority figure at a school, and the pornographic image depicts a child who attends his or her school, the accused may face enhanced sentencing.

Transmission defenses

Although it may seem less plausible than accidentally clicking on a link that leads to a pornographic image, it is also possible to accidentally transmit images that depict child pornography. Similar to a wrongful accusation for child pornography possession, a wrongful accusation of transmission or distribution of sexual images of minors may also arise from the use of a public computer or cases in which the accused allowed someone to borrow his or her computer. An individual whose computer has been the target of hacking or a virus may also be accused if illegal images are sent from the computer while under control of the virus or hacker. An experienced Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer can help the accused party effectively raise the applicable defense and provide evidence that he or she did not knowingly distribute the illegal pornographic images.

Contact a lawyer as early as possible

Most people are aware that it is a good idea to hire an attorney for representation in court. However, contacting a lawyer even earlier can greatly reduce the risk of wrongful conviction. Individuals who are accused of child pornography-related offenses are often first contacted by law enforcement to meet for a voluntary interview. Contacting a lawyer prior to agreeing to participate in the interview can help the individual avoid self-incrimination and also ensure his or her constitutional rights will remain protected. Fort Lauderdale or Naples law enforcement officials may sometimes exercise bias or phrase questions in a manner that increase the person’s likelihood of unintentionally admitting guilt even if he or she did not commit the crime. Therefore, the stakes of child pornography cases are much too high for accused parties to face the investigative and criminal court process without a qualified attorney.