The accusation of having or distributing child pornography is among the most serious a person may face. There are laws against child pornography at both the state and federal level, and punishment is severe. In this brief article, a child pornography attorney in Tampa discusses what child pornography is and what to do if you have been accused of having, creating, or distributing child pornography.
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.
As defined by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, child pornography is “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. If you are accused of child pornography, a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa will review all of the applicable statutes and charges that may be associated with it on both the state and federal level.
In Florida, the age of consent for sexual acts is 18 years old. However, under Florida Statute 943.04354, the “Romeo and Juliet” provision allows a minor who is age 16 or 17 to legally consent to sexual activity with someone between the ages of 16 and 23. Despite the allowance of older minors to engage in sexual activity with adults under 24, if an adult between 18 and 23 engages in sexting with a minor and receives nude or sexual photos, it can be considered possession of child pornography. Federal law considers child pornography anything below the age of 18, regardless of the age of consent in any given state. Additionally, the transmission of sexually explicit images sent between minors may also qualify as child pornography, although it may be punishable by a lesser sentence.
Having as few as one photo or file of child pornography is a punishable offense. Further, photos that you have deleted from a computer or smartphone may be recovered and used against you in a court of law. If convicted of charges of child pornography, you may be punished on both the state and federal level. Convictions on charges of possession of child pornography when you are in possession of fewer 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 and fines of up to $10,000. Any person convicted of child pornography or related sex crimes charges like child molestation or statutory rape must also register in the Florida Sex Offender Database. In the federal system, a first-time offender charged with transmission of child pornography faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in prison. A person convicted of production of child pornography faces a mandatory fifteen years in prison.
If you have been accused or charged with having, distributing, or creating child pornography, you should contact a criminal defense law firm in Tampa right away. There are several defenses that we can utilize to fight your case.
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.