What Is Possession of Child Pornography?
Child pornography is defined as any visual imagery that is sexually explicit and shows children who are under 18 years old. This includes pictures or videos of minors actually engaging in sexual activities or being nude.
The possession of child pornography also includes the possession of any imagery or media that depicts minors engaging in a sexual act or any other sexually explicit conduct.
The possession of child pornography is an extremely serious crime, and it is important to have experienced counsel on your side. If you are being investigated for federal child pornography possession, it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney immediately.
What Are the Different Acts That Lead to Possession of Child Pornography Charges?
There are several acts related to the possession of child pornographic material that are prohibited by federal law under Title 18 USC § 2252. These acts include:
- The willful possession of child pornographic material
- The willful creation of child pornographic material
- The willful distribution of child pornographic material
- The willful transportation of child pornographic material
Once state lines are crossed in the commission of any type of child pornography through the acts listed above, then federal charges can result. If the acts alleged all occurred within a state and there is no activity that includes interstate commerce of any kind, then the respective state where the alleged acts occurred would handle the prosecution of any individuals involved, not the federal government. Interstate activity can happen electronically through email or peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, for example.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Federal Possession of Child Pornography?
Convictions under 18 USC § 2252 can result in significant federal prison time depending on the type of activity alleged to have taken place. A conviction under parts 1, 2, and 3 of subsection (a) of the statute results in a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of up to 20 years. If the individual convicted has a prior conviction for a similar offense, then the mandatory minimum is increased to 15 years in prison and the maximum is increased to 40 years.
Simple possession of child pornography under 18 USC § 2252 can result in a maximum federal prison sentence of 10 years. If the child depicted in the pornographic material is less than the age of 12, then the maximum possible prison sentence is increased to 20 years. A prior conviction for a similar offense results in a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison with a maximum of 20 years.
What Are Some Common Defenses to a Possession of Child Pornography Charge?
To obtain a conviction for possession of child pornography, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you willfully possessed child pornographic material that falls under federal jurisdiction and enforcement. There are several defenses that may be available to you, including:
False accusation – If you are being falsely accused of possession of child pornography, then you can show evidence to demonstrate that you are not the perpetrator. This can include not being the owner or having control over the alleged child pornographic material.
Lack of evidence – If there is a lack of evidence to connect you to the alleged activity, then this can be used as a defense.
Not a minor – if the individual depicted in the alleged child pornographic material is not a minor and is not portrayed as a minor, then this can be used to defend against a charge of child pornography.
Constitutional violations – If the police violate your Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches or improper questioning without an attorney, then you can file a motion to have the evidence they found removed from the case.
If you are charged with a crime, then speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to determine the best and most appropriate defense(s) you have. The facts and circumstances of your case will dictate what the best potential defenses are, as no two cases are identical. Make sure you act quickly if you are facing prosecution.
In What Court Will Your Case Be Heard?
Federal criminal cases in New Jersey are handled in the United States District Court, which has the appropriate jurisdiction. There is one federal district in New Jersey and three court locations. If you do not agree with a decision or outcome in a federal district court, then you can file an appeal with the appropriate federal court of appeals. New Jersey Federal District Court cases are appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The only remaining appellate court after the Circuit Court is the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court chooses the case it wants to decide on.
How Hiring an Experienced Attorney Can Help
If you are charged with a federal crime, then make sure you have a criminal defense attorney helping you that has federal court experience. This experience is vital in helping you understand your case and explaining your options. An attorney can negotiate a plea or take your case to trial if it is your wish. Remember, it is always your choice whether to accept a plea or take a case to trial, but your attorney can advise you on what they believe to be in your best interests. Contact us today for help!
Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm Is the Right Choice
If you are being prosecuted federally for the possession of child pornography, then make sure that you speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped people defend countless criminal charges in several jurisdictions. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring Joseph D. Lento is the right choice for you.