Child pornography-related allegations should not be taken lightly. In the state of Florida, a large number of child pornography related crimes are recognized and actively prosecuted at both state and federal levels. Federal agencies actively and aggressively pursue potential criminals in order to bring them to justice by whatever means necessary.

Related crimes carry serious felonies and severe, well-defined, penalties both federally and in Florida. From decades in prison and irreparable damage to an individual’s reputation to fines can that quickly reach numbers higher than $100,000; the consequences that often accompany charges are truly severe. Anyone who has been accused of possessing or transmitting child pornographic material should seek legal counsel immediately. Alternatively, individuals in Hillsborough County facing any child pornography-related allegations should contact an experienced Tampa child pornography defense lawyer to represent them in court.

What are considered to be child pornography crimes?

In today’s world of expanding technology, it can be confusing to understand what is and is not legal to do on the internet. Many people are surprised to find out that even being sent certain kinds of illegal imagery can carry severe penalties. Child pornography crimes are crimes which have to do with the sexual exploitation of minors via the production, possession, or transmission of sexually explicit media. This is a very broad definition that can encompass many different acts. Activities related to the viewing, sharing, ownership, or creation of either videos or images where minors are used for sexual stimulation may be considered to be child pornography crimes. This means that it is a criminal offense to possess sexually explicit pictures of minors under the age of 18.

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What are the most common charges?

Knowing what crimes are most commonly prosecuted in the state of Florida can help you properly asses the gravity of your individual situation.

  • Possession: A Third Degree felony, being found in the possession of child pornography is no joking matter. In the state of Florida, possessing even one single sexually explicit image of a minor is considered to be child pornography crime. Each image found on the possession of the accused may be accompanied by one distinct criminal count and a fine of $5,000. Each criminal count may constitute an imposed prison sentence of 5 years in prison and 5 years of probation. Judges generally begin adding each possession count from the beginning of a case. For example, if an individual were found to be in possession of five sexually explicit/pornographic images of a 16-year old minor (because in the state of Florida, minors are defined as anyone under 18 years of age), a judge would most likely decide to count each image as a single distinct count. The accused would probably face up to 25 years in prison and be fined up to $25,000. Consequences increase in severity as material becomes more explicit, heinous, or detailed (multiple images, longer, video clips, etc.). The amount of material in your possession and the circumstances surrounding your individual situation may be considered by the courts. For this reason, having an experienced federal criminal defense attorney on your side is critical.
  • Transmission: Child pornography transmission is defined as a criminal act which promotes or helps to perpetuate the sharing of media that sexually depicts minors for stimulatory purposes. Distributing or transmitting child pornography, even accidentally, in any way, is a severe offense in Florida. It falls under laws pertaining to the promotion of sexual performance by a child. Convictions stem from charges in which the accused either directed, transmitted, advertised, produced or otherwise perpetuated the visual representation of sexually explicit conduct by children for the viewing purposes of others.
  • Production can be defined as knowingly or unknowingly aiding in the manufacture, creation, perpetuation, production, direction, or solicitation of material or assistance from minors or adults in order to create sexually explicit content that exploits minors for the purpose of viewing by third-party sources. Creating, helping anyone create, or even knowing about the creation of sexually explicit material involving minors can be counted as a child pornography production crime. Production crimes carry the steepest possible penalties and are oftentimes also accompanied by transmission and possession charges. Charges may also be counted distinctly and separately. Individuals accused of federal sex crimes of child pornography are not protected from double jeopardy. This means that if a case falls under federal jurisdiction, each count may be used against the accused twice. Each child pornography manufacturing/production charge can carry a minimum prison sentence of 20 years and a steep five-figure fine.

What defenses are possible?

Child pornography is a severe crime that should always be taken seriously. That being said, our law firm knows that sometimes, the accused are innocent. In other situations, ignorance may lead to charges or allegations that are unfounded.

  • Possession defense: In some situations, possession of child pornography is due to ignorance on the part of the accused. In other situations, an individual may have unknowingly clicked on an image that that did not know was exploitative to children. Even still, some individuals have been found in possession of illegal pornographic material that they did not know was there. Situations where someone purchases a used computer, for instance with a hard drive that had not been wiped.
  • Transmission defenses: There are some situations where people accused of the distribution of child pornography are, in fact, innocent or have been involved in distribution without their consent or knowledge. Situations such as this usually involve a third-party using an individual to unknowingly transmit material online. While it is unlikely, there have been situations in which the accused have unknowingly shared pornographic material of this nature. In cases like this, images were encoded within a program or download and were then sent as viral attachments that were then opened by a third-party source. Our attorneys also know that extenuating circumstances deserve to be considered when applicable.
  • Production defenses: While it is even more rare to be accidentally or unknowingly be involved in the production or manufacture of child pornography, it isn’t unheard of. With federal agents actively and aggressively pursuing potential perpetrators, innocent victims have been ensnared before. Here’s an example: An individual was hired to build digital graphics and web coding for a group that manufactured and promoted child pornography. Said individual had no idea that their graphics and source coding would be used for pornographic videos of any kind. The group of individuals who hired the designer was known to actively manufacture pornographic material that exploited minors. They were a part of a pornographic ring that was being watched actively by federal agents. When the ring was finally brought to justice, many people faced child pornography production charges, including the designer. Thankfully, this designer chose to hire an experienced federal defense attorney and was eventually acquitted of most charges. Each criminal case is unique. That’s exactly why having a highly-skilled federal sex crime defense attorney can be so critical to the outcome of your situation.

When should I contact a lawyer?

If you’re a resident of Hillsborough County, Florida or live in the surrounding areas have been accused of any federal sex crime, including the transmission, possession, or production of child pornography, don’t wait. Contact an experienced federal sex crime defense attorney now. At Joffe Law, P.A., your rights matter. Our Tampa child pornography attorneys have decades of experience protecting the constitutional rights and freedoms of our clients.