What Does It Mean to Distribute Child Pornography?

Crimes involving children, especially charges involving child pornography, are very serious. But, you might be wondering, in the instance of child pornography, is it worse to consume it vs. distribute it? In this brief article, a child pornography attorney in Tampa with our team at The Rickman Law Firm shares what you need to know about what it means to distribute child pornography and what the penalties for distribution of child pornography include. 

Remember, if you are accused of any sex crime with children, you’ll need the top criminal attorneys in Tampa. The Rickman Law Firm can help, no matter what type of sex crime you are facing.

What is Distribution of Child Pornography?

When we talk about the distribution of child pornography, it’s important that we understand the entire scope of the law and what distribution actually entails. 

Possessing, distributing, transmitting and manufacturing child pornography are all illegal in the State of Florida and are third degree felonies covered under Florida Statutes 847.0135, 847.0138 and 827.071. Additionally, the possession, distribution, transmission and manufacturing of child pornography are also federal offenses. 

But what is child pornography itself? You may be wondering if child pornography is simply photos of a child without clothes on, and it’s important to know that it goes deeper than that. 

Under both state and federal law, any visual portrayals of sexually explicit behavior involving a minor are considered child pornography. This includes drawings or animations of minors in a sexually explicit nature. Children photographed either nude or partially nude in a manner that doesn’t fit the definition of “sexual conduct” is not illegal. This type of content is referred to as “child erotica” and while it is certainly a moral gray area it’s not necessarily illegal.  

It’s important to note that a child is defined as any person under 18 years of age. So, if you have a teen who has sent you a sexually explicit photo of themselves, you are technically in possession of child pornography. 

You might think you would never be guilty of distribution of child pornography, but consider the following scenario. Let’s imagine that you are 18 years old and are dating a 17 year old who sends a nude photo of themselves. You forward or screenshot the photo and send it to a friend. You’re now guilty of distributing child pornography. You may not see it this way, but in the eyes of the law you have committed a very serious crime. 

For another scenario, consider a similar instance where a teenage girlfriend shares explicit photos of herself, and you sell those photos after you break up. Even if you are a minor or are protected under Romeo and Juliet laws against statutory rape, you can still be facing allegations of distribution of child pornography. 

A final scenario might be that you have drawn sexually explicit artwork of a child engaging in sex acts. If you give away or sell this artwork, you may be charged with distribution of child pornography.

What are the Penalties for Distribution of Child Pornography?

The penalties for distribution of child pornography are serious. The sentence for the transmission or distribution of child pornography in Florida includes a maximum of 15 years in prison and mandatory registration as a sex offender in the National Sex Offender Registry. This can stick with you for the rest of your life and negatively impact your ability to find work, participate in activities near children, or even have your own children live in your home.  

If you’ve been accused of transmitting child pornography, contact a child pornography attorney in Tampa as soon as possible. Call The Rickman Law Firm today.

For a free consultation with the top criminal attorneys in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Who To Call if Falsely Accused

If you’ve been accused of having even one image of child pornography on your devices or in your home, you’ll need to speak with an experienced sexual battery attorney in Tampa as soon as possible. Call The Rickman Law Firm today if you’re facing charges against you so that you can defend yourself well from the start. 

For a free consultation with a sexual assault defense attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

What are the Penalties for Child Pornography?

Child pornography charges are very serious and can result in major damage to your reputation, family, career, and life in general. Unfortunately, you may be wrongfully accused of having child pornography, even if the images you viewed were downloaded by mistake or were sent to you by someone else. To help you understand what to do in the event of a child pornography allegation, it’s important to know what you may be facing. 

If you’ve been accused of having child pornography, its crucial that you contact a sexual assault defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm immediately to begin working on your case. You will need to prove your innocence, which a public defender simply may not have the time to do.

What Qualifies as Child Pornography?

To start, let’s cover what type of crime child pornography is and what that term actually means. 

Child pornography is both a federal and statutory offense, and each carries an equally serious punishment. Under federal law, any visual portrayals of sexually explicit behavior involving a minor are considered child pornography. This includes drawings or animations of minors in a sexually-explicit nature. For example, any hand-drawn images of minors engaging in a sexual act is illegal, even if the image was not based on an actual person. 

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement defines child pornography as “any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct,” including photographs, videos, and computer files, among other forms of content involving a person under the age of 18 engaged in any form of sexual conduct. 

Let’s dig into that a little bit deeper and look at what the state means by “sexual conduct”. After all, does a naked photo of your child in the bathtub mean you accidentally have child pornography on your camera?

Florida Statute 827.071 defines sexual conduct as “actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, or sadomasochistic abuse; actual lewd exhibition of the genitals; actual physical contact with a person’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if such person is a female, breast, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of either party; or any act or conduct which constitutes sexual battery or simulates that sexual battery is being or will be committed.” 

Children photographed either nude or partially nude in a manner that doesn’t fit the definition of “sexual conduct” is not illegal. This type of content is referred to as “child erotica.” 

It is important to note that having only one photo on your computer that is deemed child pornography is a violation of the law. Also photos, images, or videos that have been deleted from your computer may be recovered and used against you in a criminal case. Possession, distribution, transmission or manufacturing child pornography is a serious felony offense in Florida and possibly in our Federal Court System. If you have been accused in State or Federal Court of a crime related to child pornography, don’t delay contact Anthony Rickman for a free consultation.

What are the Penalties for Child Pornography?

Now that we’ve discussed what child pornography is, we can talk about the possible penalties. Convictions on charges of possession of child pornography when you are in possession of less than 10 images is a third degree felony which is punishable up to 5 years in prison as well as fines not exceeding $5,000. 

If you are convicted of having more than 10 images you could be charged with a second degree felony with a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison with fines of up to $10,000. Any person convicted of child pornography or related sex crimes charge like child molestation or statutory rape must also register in the Florida Sex Offender Database. 

There may be additional federal punishments as well, including prison time and hefty fines.

Who To Call if Falsely Accused

If you’ve been accused of having even one image of child pornography on your devices or in your home, you’ll need to speak with an experienced sexual battery attorney in Tampa as soon as possible. Call The Rickman Law Firm today if you’re facing charges against you so that you can defend yourself well from the start. 

For a free consultation with a sexual assault defense attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Understanding the Statutes of Limitations for Sex Crimes

The statute of limitations, or the amount of time between when a crime is committed and when a case can be opened, is often a murky area to understand. From state to state, the statute of limitations on sex crimes can vary, and if you’ve been involved in a possible sex crime you’re likely wondering how long you have until you can no longer be accused or charged. 

In this brief article, a Tampa lewd or lascivious attorney with The Rickman Law Firm shares a few important facts about statutes of limitations for sex crimes in Florida.

Statute of Limitations for Sex Crimes

As a refresher, the statute of limitations, or SOL, is “a statute prescribing a period of limitation for the bringing of certain kinds of legal action.” In layman’s terms, the SOL is the maximum amount of time between when a crime occurred and when someone can formally come forward to file charges against another person. Some crimes, like murder, have no SOL and can be pursued decades later. 

The statute of limitations varies depending on the crime. These are not the same time limits as in civil cases, and even if the SOL for the crime has passed the victim may still have time to sue the perpetrator for damages. The following list includes statutes of limitations in Florida for sex crimes, as of March 2020: 

  • Statutory Rape: 3 years
  • Serious felony sex offense: 10 years or less (depending on the crime) 
  • Sexual assault: 4 years (on average)

It’s important to note that if the sexual abuse resulted in the someone’s death, or if it occurred in such a circumstance that the abuser could face life imprisonment, the statute of limitation does not apply.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?

There are instances when the statute of limitations does not apply. These include: 

  • Any sex crime involving a minor aged 12 years or under; or if the victim was under age 12 and has familial or custodial ties to the perpetrator
  • A crime involving the use of force or a deadly weapon, or a credible threat of a use of force
  • Cases when the victim is under 18 and suffered a first-degree felony sexual molestation
  • A first or second-degree felony sexual battery reported to law enforcement within 72 hours of its commission
  • A first or second-degree felony sexual battery suffered by a victim below 18 years and reported to law enforcement within 72 hours after its commission
  • A life felony lewd or lascivious molestation of a child under 12 years by an abuser who is 18 years or older
  • Sexual battery or an attempt to commit sexual battery that injures the victim, and the offense was committed when the victim was 16 years or younger

If you’ve been accused of a sex crime, whether within or outside of the SOL, you’ll need a lewd and lascivious lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm to help defend you as soon as possible. Public defenders simply don’t have the time or resources needed to fight for your rights. 

For a free consultation with a lewd and lascivious lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Can Consensual Sex be a Crime?

If you are involved in a sex act with another person who gave their consent, you might think you’re in the clear and aren’t engaging in any illegal activities. Unfortunately, you might be surprised to learn that there are instances when consensual sex is a crime in the state of Florida. 

In this brief article, a Tampa criminal defense attorney with our team at The Rickman Law Firm has shared an important overview on sex crimes in Florida and instances when consent is not necessarily legal. 

Sex with a Minor

Imagine this scenario: a 17-year-old girl engages in a sexual act with a 25-year-old boyfriend. You might think this is covered under so-called “Romeo and Juliet” laws, but you’d be wrong because the 17-year-old cannot legally give consent, even if they verbally give it. 

In Florida, the age of consent for any sex act is 18. More specifically, if the person is legally below the age of consent (18 in Florida, but lower in some other states) he or she is not capable of giving permission to have any sexual contact with an adult. 

But, back to the “Romeo and Juliet” law. What if it’s a sex act between two minors or a minor and an adult who is just a few years older in age? After all, if a teen begins dating a senior during their freshman year of high school and they continue the relationship for a few years, does that mean the older of the two is guilty of statutory rape? 

The “Romeo and Juliet” law was created for scenarios like that one and removes the requirement of registry as a sex offender or sexual predator in certain situations, primarily when the victim and perpetrator are close in age. Furthermore, this applies when:  

  • The victim is between the ages of 14 and 17 
  • The victim was no more than four years younger than the offender
  • The perpetrator is not older than 24 years old
  • The victim must have been a willing participant in the sexual activity
  • The offender does not have any previous sex crimes on their record

In short, a person over 25 should not have sex with anyone under 18 because they are not protected by the “Romeo and Juliet” law and the minor cannot legally give their consent.  

Incest

When we think of incest, we often think of people who are enduring abuse or who are from areas where there aren’t many people. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, two people may not know that they are related and may decide to continue their relationship even after learning that information. But, even if both parties are consenting to the relationship, incest is illegal and punishable by law in Florida. 

For example, let’s consider two cousins who didn’t know they were related but decided to continue their relationship. They’re technically in violation of the law. 

It’s important to note, incest involving a minor is a serious crime and consent is not possible. This is a crime punishable to the fullest extent of the law.

Solicitation or Prostitution

In Florida, it’s illegal to solicit or coerce someone into performing a sex act. Solicitation means bribing, coercing, or commanding another person to commit a crime or engage in sexual activity. The obvious example of this is in prostitution, where both the person performing the sex act and the person paying are technically consenting, but the act is still illegal. 

Solicitation is also a gray area when it comes to consent because it’s hard to prove that the person performed the act because they wanted to instead of feeling pressured to. For that reason, it’s a crime. 

If you’re being accused of committing a sex crime, you need the best felony defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm. Don’t hesitate to call our team to discuss how to protect your rights. 

For a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Is it Statutory Rape When Two Minors Are Involved?

It’s an age-old question that comes around every few years: If two lovestruck teens engage in sexual activity, is it statutory rape? What about if one party is just a few years older than the other and over the course of dating, one party is over 18 while the other is under 18? 

A federal defense lawyer in Tampa with our team at The Rickman Law Firm shares in this brief article the answers to the questions posed above and has advice on what to do if you’re arrested, accused, or charged with statutory rape.

Statutory Rape Definition

Before we can answer the question of whether or not statutory rape was committed, we must first take a look at the legal definiion of statutory rape. Florida Statute Chapter 794 defines statutory rape as: 

“Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors.—

(1) A person 24 years of age or older who engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. As used in this section, “sexual activity” means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual activity does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.

(2) The provisions of this section do not apply to a person 16 or 17 years of age who has had the disabilities of nonage removed under chapter 743.

(3) The victim’s prior sexual conduct is not a relevant issue in a prosecution under this section.

(4) If an offense under this section directly results in the victim giving birth to a child, paternity of that child shall be established as described in chapter 742. If it is determined that the offender is the father of the child, the offender must pay child support pursuant to the child support guidelines described in chapter 61.”

Can Two Minors Consent?

You’ll notice, the definition of statutory rape isn’t necessarily prohibiting any two people under 18 to engage in sexual activity. It is often, incorrectly, thought that any act with anyone under 18 is statutory rape, but there are certain allowances if the parties are both minors, or if they’re close in age. 

In Florida, the age of consent for any sex act is 18, which means that technically, two minors can’t legally consent to sex with each other. But, because of so-called “Romeo and Juliet” laws, two minors can engage in sexual acts without the requirement of registry as a sex offender or sexual predator, primarily when the victim and perpetrator are close in age.

What to Do if Accused of Statutory Rape

If you’ve been accused of statutory rape, regardless of your age, you may be facing both state and federal charges. It’s important to contact an attorney who specializes in cases like yours in order to protect yourself and your future. 

If you’re being accused of a sex crime of any type, you need the best federal criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, with The Rickman Law Firm. Call us today. 

For a free consultation with a federal defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Can Statutory Rape Charges Arise After the Victim is 18 in Florida?

If you’ve engaged in sexual activity with someone under the age of 18, you may be concerned about being accused of statutory rape after the relationship ends. When feelings are hurt, you may worry (rightfully so) that the other person or their parents might file charges against you in anger. Once they turn 18, you might think you are in the clear regarding any possible charges, but unfortunately that may not be the case. 

In this brief article, a St. Petersburg federal defense lawyer with The Rickman Law Firm shares what you need to know about when a victim can bring charges against you. Remember, if you stand accused of any crime against a minor you’ll need an experienced attorney who will have your back. Contact The Rickman Law Firm as soon as possible.

When Can Statutory Rape Charges Be Filed?

Statutory rape, also called lewd and lascivious battery, is defined by Florida Statute 800.04 which states that the crime of lewd and lascivious battery is committed when a person engages “in sexual activity with a person 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age” or “encourages, forces, or entices any person less than 16 years of age to engage in sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or any other act involving sexual activity.” 

 

The statute of limitations (the time limit between when a crime is allegedly committed and when a case can be opened) on statutory rape in Florida is 3 years. However, this is not the case if the victim is younger than 12 at the time of the incident or if the incidents in question were connected to a family member or custodian. 


But when the person turns 18, does the possibility of charges disappear? The short answer is no. Even though they turned 18, they still will have at least 3 years to bring charges against you. That can be anxiety-inducing for young adults who engaged in sexual activity but ended their relationship poorly, which is why you need a federal criminal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm.

Possible Penalties for Statutory Rape

If you find yourself in the worst case scenario and have been charged with statutory rape after  the other person is no longer a minor, you are probably wondering what your penalties might be. 

Lewd and lascivious battery is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to 15 years of probation. If the victim is under the age of 12, a conviction can result in a minimum prison sentence of 30 years. For defendants under the age of 18, lewd and lascivious battery is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Repeat offenders are committing a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. 

If you stand accused of statutory rape, don’t trust your fate to a public defender who has too many cases to focus on yours. You’ll need a St. Petersburg federal defense lawyer with The Rickman Law Firm to help defend you as soon as possible.

For a free consultation with a St. Petersburg federal defense lawyer, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

For a free consultation with a sex crime defense attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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