Child Pornography Immunity in Florida
Child pornography laws are some of the harshest and most punitive criminal laws in the State of Florida. Florida laws allow for prosecutors and police to charge child pornography offenders with sometimes hundreds of counts of possession of child pornography, resulting in artificially high bonds, and immense pressure to plead guilty in order to avoid lengthy mandatory prison sentences. Although possession, distribution, and creation of child pornography is not something that should be condoned, the sentences levied upon the nonviolent consumers of child pornography have increased to levels beyond what is needed to exact punishment in these types of cases. Because of the harshness of the punishment involved for those convicted of child pornography offenses, one should not hesitate to consult with a skilled Sarasota criminal defense lawyer if charged with such an offense.
The stigma associated with child pornography and the potentially harsh penalties that go along with prosecution and conviction are certainly more than enough to scare most people away from ever getting involved with child pornography. However, those same laws, and the fear created by those laws, can also have the result of victims or witnesses of child pornography offenses turning a blind eye to the crimes. People who are unwittingly exposed to child pornography may shy away from reporting it because of the fear of they themselves being prosecuted. And victims of child pornography, especially teens who are the subject of “revenge porn” or other modern internet crimes, may also fear going to law enforcement due to the stigma attached to child pornography.Child Pornography Immunity
What is important to understand about Florida law is that victims and witnesses who want to come forward regarding child pornography prosecutions are legally protected from prosecution. As a criminal defense firm, we also often represent both witnesses and victims who fear coming forward alone against their abusers. And a skilled Sarasota criminal lawyer can protect those victims by moving for injunctions and by utilizing Florida’s child pornography reporting immunity laws.
Under Florida Statute 827.017, possession of child pornography is prohibited and criminalized. The statute additionally lays out the serious punishment, including lengthy prison time and lifetime sex offender registration. Possession is defined under the criminal statute very liberally, as even the temporary viewing of child pornography materials may be labelled as possession. This means that a bad actor can send another person images of child pornography and the unwitting recipient might then become a perpetrator. The liberal definition of “possession” under the statute would be quite problematic but for other laws that have been passed to protect such witnesses. If you have found yourself in a similar circumstances, don’t hesitate to contact a Sarasota criminal lawyer immediately to find out your options.
Florid Statute 847.0139 creates an immunity from civil liability for the reporting of child pornography to law enforcement. Child pornography prosecutions with identifiable victims are often accompanied by civil lawsuits seeking monetary damages for the harm done by those who create, transmit, and distribute child pornography materials. However, a person who transmits such materials to law enforcement cannot be subject to such civil liability. And if such a witness or victim contacts an experienced lawyer to aid them in the reporting of such materials, it is highly unlikely that the state will pursue any sort of prosecution against the reporter.Speak to Our Lawyers Today
If you cone across what you believe to depict child pornography, if someone sends you child pornography, or if you are the victim of child pornography, an experienced Sarasota Criminal lawyer can help you safely report the crime to law enforcement and protect you from prosecution or liability. Don’t try to handle such a serious situation on your own, instead, rely on the experienced attorneys at Hanlon Law. Call us today for a consultation at 941.462.1789.