Although the Internet has brought unprecedented access to information, it has also catered to people's sexual interests, and a substantial percentage of Internet traffic relates to pornography. Viewing or transmitting child pornography is punished harshly. However, it is easy for mistakes to be made and for people to view child pornography without knowing it. If you are charged with a child pornography offense, you need to contact an experienced Sarasota child pornography lawyer right away. At Hanlon Law, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused.Child Pornography Offenses in Florida
Under Florida Statute section 847.001(3), child pornography includes any images showing a minor who is involved in sexual conduct. A minor is anyone who is under 18 years old. Sexual conduct is defined broadly and can include both actual and simulated sexual intercourse, as well as bestiality, masturbation, S&M, lewd exhibition of genitals, touching, sexual battery, or showing female breasts with the intent to arouse or gratify a person's sexual desire.
Florida Statute section 827.071(5) criminalizes possession of child pornography. To secure a conviction for child pornography possession, the prosecutor needs to show that you knowingly possessed, controlled, or intentionally viewed an image, motion picture, computer depiction, data, show, exhibition, photograph, or other presentation that you knew involved sexual conduct by a child. You can be charged separately for intentional control, possession, or viewings of each item of child pornography. When the pornography includes sexual conduct by more than one kid, each kid gives rise to a separate offense.
Possession is a third-degree felony. This means that you face the possibility of imprisonment for five years, probation for five years, and a $5,000 fine, if convicted. However, a child pornography attorney can help Sarasota residents try to avoid or minimize these penalties when possible.
Producing or promoting child pornography is an even more serious offense. Using a minor in a sexual performance, knowing the character and content of it, is a second-degree felony. You can be convicted of promoting a child's sexual performance if you produce, direct, or promote any performance that includes sexual activity by a minor. This is a second-degree felony. Possessing three or more copies of pornography is evidence of intent to promote. Second-degree felony convictions involve 15 years’ imprisonment, 15 years’ probation, and a $10,000 fine.
Child pornography-related convictions usually require the defendant to register as a sex offender. Registration is public, which means that anybody in the future can see that you were convicted of a sex crime. Additionally, having a sex crime on your criminal record has a greater stigma than many other types of crimes. It can affect your ability to get a job, live in a particular neighborhood, or obtain a professional license.
Judges take child pornography convictions very seriously when determining a sentence. However, you should not assume that you are doomed if law enforcement officers are investigating you for child pornography on your computer. There are various defense strategies that a Sarasota child pornography attorney may be able to raise for you.
Sometimes it is possible to defend against a child pornography charge based on constitutional or procedural violations. To search your computer, law enforcement officers need a search warrant. Sometimes the warrants are not based on probable cause because they are based on nothing more specific than unverified reports that someone has child pornography on their computer.
Child pornography can be on your computer without your knowledge. A key element of a child pornography possession charge is that you possessed the pornography "knowingly." In some cases, a virus downloads images onto a computer. In other cases, someone else uses the computer to download images. However, lack of knowledge that someone was a child is no defense to a child pornography promotion charge.Consult an Experienced Child Pornography Lawyer in the Sarasota Area
If you are being investigated for child pornography, it can be helpful to hire an attorney even before formal charges are filed. This allows us to get your version of what happened in front of the prosecutor as soon as possible. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation since 1994. We are dedicated to guarding the rights of the accused. Call Hanlon Law at 941-462-1789 or use our online form.