West Palm Beach Child Pornography Defense Lawyer

West Palm Beach Child Pornography Defense Lawyer

West Palm Beach FL Child Pornography Attorney

Criminal charges applicable to child pornography include possession, promotion, distribution, and creation. These crimes are taken incredibly seriously and are harshly prosecuted in both state and federal criminal courts. The legal, social, and professional consequences of facing these charges are significant and can forever alter the life of someone who is convicted. If you have been charged with these offenses, you need a skilled West Palm Beach child pornography defense lawyer.

Any sex crime charges can cause serious collateral harm in your life, and sex crimes relating to children carry an especially damaging stigma. This is why you must approach these charges with gravity immediately to better protect yourself and your way of life against these charges and potential conviction.

Conviction may result in years in prison, high fines, a criminal record, and registration as a sex offender. It is a mistake to think you can explain your way out of these charges. You need an experienced attorney to advocate for your interests in or out of court.

Diligent and Effective Child Pornography Criminal Defense in West Palm Beach

Charges for child pornography often result in stress, fear, and shame for those who are accused. It’s important that if you face these charges, you secure legal counsel who will provide you with the legal support you need. The right attorney will offer representation without judgment and with consideration for the difficult time you are going through.

At the Law Offices of Nellie L. King, our team provides you with compassionate legal representation. We work to understand your situation so that we can better safeguard your rights.

At our firm, we have worked for decades in criminal law and criminal defense. We understand the legal requirements for defending against these very serious charges. Nellie King has experience in both state and federal criminal courts, and she knows what it takes to defend your reputation and legal rights while you are facing sex crime charges.

Our team works diligently to protect your interests, ensuring aggressive defense while maintaining compassion for the situation you are in. We work to find the most beneficial outcome for your criminal case, looking to lower the impact on your day-to-day life and your professional and personal reputation and attempting to lower or mitigate the penalties.

Florida Legal Definition of Child Pornography

State statutes define child pornography as any image or media that depicts sexual acts by any child under the age of 18. Photos, videos, exhibitions, data, recordings, or any computer depiction fits this definition. Florida law outlaws the possession, promotion, creation, and transmission of these images or media. Florida statutes also outlaw the intentional viewing of child pornography.

What To Do If You Face Child Pornography Accusations in West Palm Beach

Cases for child pornography charges often start with an investigation, search warrant, or sting operation. Law enforcement typically has difficulty finding the source of the pornography and instead focuses on the individuals who access the sources. The creation and distribution of child pornography has a very real and serious negative impact on children, explaining why law enforcement and other governmental agencies take the crimes so seriously.

If an officer comes to your door, your home is searched due to a search warrant, or you are arrested and questioned, you should not say anything without an attorney. You should say nothing, whether you committed the crime or not. Even if you unintentionally accessed the data, you should not try to explain this. It may be used as evidence of guilt, and you could be charged with a felony. Law enforcement officers can lie to you and will use anything against you.

Officers must have probable cause to bring charges against someone. Find an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights while you are being questioned, arrested, or your home is being searched.

Is Viewing the Same as Possessing?

No, viewing is not the same as possessing child pornography, but intentional viewing is the same as possession. Under Florida statute, to intentionally view is defined as deliberate and voluntary viewing. This means there was viewing of more than one image, representation, or other piece of media over a period of time. Intentional viewing is one of the definitions of possession, but accidentally viewing illegal material and then taking steps to remove it may be a defense against certain criminal possession charges.

Sentencing and Penalties for Child Pornography Offenses

All child pornography offenses are charged as felonies, which means significant fines and years in prison if you are convicted.

When sentencing crimes in Florida, the judge is expected to consider the severity of the offense, the effect the crime had on the victim, the defendant’s criminal history, and other relevant circumstances. Under state statutes, each individual piece of media is charged as a separate offense, so you may be facing multiple types of charges at once. The types of charges and their penalties include:

  • Possession of child pornography: This is the knowing possession, control, or intentional viewing of any of this content. This is charged as a third-degree felony, resulting in up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Each individual piece of media and each individual child depicted is an additional charge. Possessing three or more images is considered evidence of intent to promote and is charged as a promotion.
  • Promotion of child pornography: Promotion, or intent to promote, is charged as a second-degree felony. Producing, directing, or promoting content with a sexual performance by a child is also charged until this law. Conviction results in up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
  • Production of child pornography: This is the crime of employing, authorizing, or inducing a child to engage in sexual conduct. It is also a crime for a parent or legal guardian to consent to their child’s performance. Conviction is charged as a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Penalties for these crimes may also include probation following a prison sentence. In addition to state penalties, you may also face federal penalties. Federal charges are often even harsher than state and may have mandatory minimum sentencing requirements.

These penalties are serious and are considered by many to be less serious than the social, personal, professional, and collateral consequences of a child pornography conviction.

Aggravating Factors in These Offenses

If there are aggravating factors present in child pornography charges, the charge may be elevated to the next level of felony charge. If the initial charge was a second-degree felony, it would change to a first-degree felony, resulting in up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Under state law, aggravating factors mean that the defendant possessed ten or more images of child pornography and at least one image included one of the following:

  • A child younger than five years old
  • Sexual battery of a child
  • A movie involving the child
  • Bestiality featuring a child
  • Sadomasochism with a child

Possession of this material would be moved from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony. When facing charges elevated by aggravating factors, it is in your interest to work with an experienced defense attorney.

Collateral Consequences

Conviction of possession, promotion, or production of child pornography has additional consequences beyond fines and prison time.

  • Conviction for Other Sex Crimes: Depending on the nature of child pornography charges you face, you may be facing other criminal sex charges, including sex crimes involving children. This may include sexual battery, statutory rape, showing pornography to a minor, and lascivious acts with a minor.
  • Involuntary Commitment: In some cases, the prosecutors for child pornography charges pursue commitment in a mental institution if the defendant is considered a sexual predator.
  • Immigration Impact: If you are a non-citizen, a conviction of sex crimes is grounds for deportation once your sentence has been served.
  • Employment Impact: Conviction of a sex crime like child pornography could result in the loss of your employment and affect your future ability to obtain employment.
  • Probation: Probation may be required once you have served a prison sentence, which may have many restrictions on your life. These restrictions include limiting where you go, when you can travel, and other hindering requirements. Additionally, you may be required to cease all contact with minors unless there is adult supervision and limitations on nearly all internet access. Probation requirements could also include mandatory sex offender classes.
  • Criminal Record: Conviction of any crime results in a criminal record. A criminal record comes with many consequences and limitations, as it shows up on background checks. It can limit educational opportunities, housing applications, job applications, and loan applications. You may also be unable to apply for certain types of jobs.
  • Sex Offender Registration: Conviction of child pornography charges results in required registration as a sex offender in Florida. This requirement may continue for the rest of your life. This registration limits where you can live and may further limit your job opportunities. The list of registered sex offenders is public information, which can follow your personal and social life indefinitely.

Avoiding these consequences means you need an effective attorney with a strong defense against your charges. Mitigating the consequences of a conviction or avoiding conviction altogether are the ideal options to avoid or prevent these effects on your life.

Possible Defenses to Child Pornography Charges

A strong criminal defense will vary based on factors such as what led to the crime occurring, the circumstances of your arrest, the severity of your charges, and other factors. A good defense is essential against these stigmatized charges, but each defense should be unique to the individual defendant’s needs. An attorney will review your case to evaluate what the ideal defense would be. Some common defenses in child pornography cases may include:

  • Lack of Intent: Often, child pornography charges are made when illegal media is found on the individual’s computer. One defense is that you did not intend to possess it. This may occur due to files downloading with a virus or downloads from other sources. If someone did not willingly view the material, they did not possess it.
  • Lack of Knowledge: You may not have known the media was on your computer, or you may not have known it was illegal. Another person may have used the computer to access the media, or you may have believed those in the media were of age. Prosecutors must prove that the media meets the definition of child pornography and that you possessed it with the knowledge that it was child pornography.
  • False Accusation: Charges of child pornography can be leveled based on individual testimony and not objective computer evidence, or there may be witness testimony backing up physical evidence. For example, witness testimony may claim you knew the material was there or that you knew it was illegal. It is possible that these statements are false accusations, and this may be an effective defense.
  • Entrapment: Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer uses unfair tactics to coerce a defendant into committing a crime they otherwise would not have committed. This is more likely when undercover or informant officers are part of the investigation.
  • Other Constitutional Violations: Regardless of the crimes that are suspected, police officers must abide by constitutional laws, including having probable cause for search and seizure, ensuring the secure chain of evidence, and reading an arrested suspect their rights. Failure to ensure the rights of a defendant may result in evidence being dismissed or even the entire case being dismissed.

Why Do I Need a Defense Attorney?

A defense attorney is the most effective way to combat the negative consequences of a conviction. Without an attorney, you are more likely to be convicted of a felony. You have the right to an attorney when you are accused of a crime, and it is important that you take advantage of that right.

An attorney helps create a strong defense for your situation, helps you understand the challenges you may face, negotiates with the prosecution outside of court, and advocates for you during litigation.

Criminal Defense in West Palm Beach

There are many assumptions made by the public when someone is accused of sex crimes relating to children. It’s essential that you find the right attorney who will treat you with understanding while diligently pursuing your defense. Contact the Law Offices of Nellie L. King today.

Speak with Attorney King today about your case by calling (561) 833-1084 or filling out this online form for a free initial consultation.

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