Child Pornography Lawyer Protecting the Rights of Clients
Child pornography crimes are usually filed in federal court. Most child pornography is downloaded or purchased on the internet. Child pornography investigations usually involve sting operations where a federal agent is intercepting communications on the internet. Once suspected of child pornography offenses, a search warrant will be issued for your computer. Computer forensic experts then conduct a thorough investigation of the hard drive of your computer. These cases are severe and, although usually filed in federal court, also result in the requirement that the individual register as a sex offender pursuant to state law.
In order to be guilty of any crime involving alleged child pornography, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the images involved actual minors.
Child pornography is defined as any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. Child pornography may also include computer or digital visual depictions that are indistinguishable from pictures of actual minors. “Indistinguishable” means that an “ordinary person viewing the depiction would conclude that the depiction is of an actual minor.” Drawings, cartoons, sculptures, or paintings are specifically excluded.
There are serious mandatory minimum sentences in these cases when filed in federal court. There are a number of defenses to these cases.
Must You Register as a Sex Offender After Receiving Child Pornography Charges?
If you have faced accusations of some child pornography offense, your reputation is likely to take a hit regardless of the truth that is one day revealed. However, simply facing a child pornography charge does not render a person a sex offender for life.
If, after a trial in court, the prosecution wins their child pornography conviction, those found guilty of sex crimes will have to maintain regular sex offender registration. Failure to register with law enforcement officials every year and every time they move to a new location can result in criminal charges.
The lowest tier of sex offenders — those guilty of misdemeanor sexual battery, sex by fraud, misdemeanor sodomy, indecent exposure, and some other sex crimes — will require mandatory sex offender registration for ten years. Tier two has a 20-year registry for those guilty of a sex crime — with crimes like sexual activity with a minor, rape, and incest. Tier three offenders come with a mandatory lifetime sex offender status. Felony offenses that could land someone on tier three include sex crimes relating to the trafficking of children, sexual acts with a child under age ten, sexual abuse, taking a child with the intent to create obscene child pornography, and other illegal sexual conduct.
What Are the Limits of the Attorney-Client Relationship?
If you have been accused of a child pornography crime, it is important that you speak with criminal defense lawyers experienced with representing clients in felony child pornography cases. Bound by the attorney-client relationship, the details of your child pornography case are to be kept private and privileged information. Your criminal defense attorneys are there to help defend your rights and see to your best interests.
However, it is important to note that the attorney-client relationship does have its limits.
If you are speaking to a friend who happens to be a working or retired lawyer, that does not make what you say in communication any kind of confidential. A defense attorney needs to be working as your legal representation in order to be protected by attorney-client confidentiality.
Additionally, if you tell your lawyer of future crimes you intend to commit, then your lawyer may be compelled to break confidentiality, especially if the crime puts someone else in danger.
If, however, you are being charged for child pornography or some other type of past sexual exploitation, then your federal defense attorney may be able to help you in and out of court. With a successful defense, your legal representation may be able to help keep you out of county jail or state prison.
What Are the Penalties for Child Pornography Offenses?
Most child pornography charges can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Which way the district attorney decides to go may depend on the case they think they have, or the details of the crimes laid out before them. The difference between a misdemeanor and felony charges could be the difference between a fine and years of imprisonment.
A conviction for a misdemeanor child pornography offense can result in up to one year in county jail and/or a maximum fine of up to $2,500.
Felony child pornography cases can see the defendant locked away behind bars for three years in state prison. There are also immigration consequences. A non-US citizen could end up being deported back to their country of origin.
The inclusion of other charges relevant to your child pornography arrest could result in enhanced sentencing. For example, a defendant who is charged with the use of a deadly weapon or attempted murder may have additional judgments to worry about. Your child pornography defense may also be impacted by your previous criminal history.
If you have been accused, then it is important to begin building your child pornography defense right away with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Charges for running a child pornography website or making some commercial gain depicting minors in a sexual act can sometimes result in charges just as damning as those that fall on the individuals who made the pornographic materials in the first place.
Call the Law Office of Diane C. Bass to schedule your consultation where you and the attorney may discuss your legal issue and the best course of action going forward.
Call to Discuss Your Orange County, CA Case
If you have been charged with possession of pornographic material which appears to depict minors simulating sexual conduct, you could face harsh consequences if found guilty of child pornography crimes. However, an accusation is not the same thing as a conviction, and everyone has legal rights that deserve to be defended.
Whatever the particulars of your case may be, if you are charged with felonies or misdemeanors, your defense lawyer may be able to help provide a defense that establishes you did not knowingly possess or control illegal pornographic materials. Your legal representation may be able to show that you were falsely accused or that a police officer performed an illegal search without a proper search warrant. Or, with a successful plea bargain, could see a felony conviction bumped down to a misdemeanor.
To discuss your legal issue, please call the Law Office of Diane C. Bass to schedule a confidential consultation. Ms. Bass has a winning reputation with clients, law enforcement officials, and her fellow criminal defense lawyers. Call 949-577-8368 to schedule your consultation today.