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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.
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.
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.
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.