CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES

SACRAMENTO CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

Sacramento Criminal Defense Attorney

Being falsely accused of child pornography can ruin lives and professional careers.

The consequences for possessing, selling, or distributing child pornography can be severe. In today’s information age, most child pornography offenses occur on the Internet, which crosses state lines. Early in 2013, suspects from California were among 245 individuals (both male and female) who were arrested in “Operation Sunflower” a federal sweep of people believed to be traders, producers, or owners of child pornography. The sweep was dubbed Operation Sunflower to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the rescue of an eleven-year-old in Kansas that resulted from the identification of a sunflower-shaped highway road sign. In another early 2013 federal case, a man was sentenced to 135 months in prison for transportation of child pornography.

Child pornography offenses can usually be prosecuted in either state or federal court, but the consequences imposed in federal court are generally more severe than in state court. A conviction for a child pornography offense such as possession or distribution has consequences that go beyond the legal penalties described below—it can also lead to social stigma. As soon as you become aware that you are being investigated for a child pornography offense, you should consult a knowledgeable Sacramento criminal defense attorney with experience handling child pornography charges, so that he can help steer the case toward a better outcome.

What is Child Pornography Under the Law?

The California Penal Code defines child pornography as material that depicts people under age 18 engaging in or simulating sexual conduct. It does not include drawings, statues, or those films that are rated by the Motion Picture Association of America, nor live or recorded telephone messages when they are transmitted, disseminated, or distributed as part of a commercial transaction.

Federal law has a different definition for child pornography. The federal PROTECT Act of 2003 criminalized visual pornographic objects such as a “drawing, cartoon, sculpture or painting … that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in … sexual intercourse … and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” The impact of these definitions comes through in the sentencing guidelines, which differentiate between whether the pornography is produced, distributed, purchased, or received, and also vary the severity of the punishments based on how young the child is.

Whether you or a loved one is facing charges or being investigated for a child pornography offense, contact the knowledgeable Sacramento criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Alin Cintean for a vigorous defense in either state or federal court. Call us at (916) 441-3500 for a consultation or contact us online.

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY SACRAMENTO

WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN INVESTIGATION AND TRIAL FOR CHILD PORNOGRAPHY?

Your first realization that you are being investigated for child pornography may be when the police present you with a search warrant for your premises and electronic devices such as your computer. The police will perform a forensic examination on anything it seizes. If the police arrest you, the prosecutor determines whether your case should be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The more photos or videos on your computer, including any photographs or videos in its memory, the more likely you will be charged with a felony.

These elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you of possession of child pornography:

  • You possessed obscene materials;
  • When you possessed them, you knew what they were—child pornography; and
  • When you possessed them, you knew the pornography depicted a minor participating in or simulating sexual conduct.

Negation of one of these elements can lead to a favorable result for you. For example, you may not have known you possessed pornographic material because you inadvertently surfed a web page that included it or because you couldn’t have known that children were depicted in the pornographic images. Other defenses an attorney experienced in these types of charges can raise are mistake, innocence, or entrapment.

SACRAMENTO CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

THE PENALTIES FOR CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CONVICTION

Sentencing for a child pornography offense may include incarceration for three years, and sex offender registration, among other things. As noted above, the penalties vary depending on the type of offense. Your criminal record may also impact your sentencing.

Possession of child pornography is probably the most common offense. It may be punished by county jail time, a $2,500 fine, and mandatory sex offender registration. However, the other offenses, such as advertising, distributing or selling child pornography have more severe punishments, such as a fine of up to $10,000, jail time, and mandatory registration as a sex offender. A new bill in California, SB 145, has been proposed. If it passes, the penalties for child pornography may be increased. For example, a defendant’s potential sentence under SB 145 would be seven years of incarceration. Also, judges may have more discretion in determining sentencing.

In federal court, a defendant convicted of possession will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years. A defendant convicted of distribution of child pornography faces ten years in prison. A skillful Sacramento criminal lawyer with particular knowledge of child pornography offenses, such as that at the Law Offices of Alin Cintean, may be able to negotiate a reduction in penalties.

Whether you or a loved one is facing charges or being investigated for a child pornography offense, contact the knowledgeable Sacramento criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Alin Cintean for a vigorous defense in either state or federal court. Call us at (916) 441-3500 for a consultation or contact us online.