Individuals arrested for the possession or transmission of child pornography, whether in the State court or federal court, find themselves in an emotional period of time that is both devastating and embarrassing.
We understand both the embarrassment and the fear that accompanies this experience as we have extensive experience representing clients charged with both possession of child pornography and other sex related offenses. We provide a zealous representation for our clients in both State and Federal courts. We have an established record of successfully helping those charged with sex crimes defend themselves and mitigate their damages. We have also assisted clients in avoiding the sexual offender registration and there are yet others who have had their charges dismissed completely. Like any other crime of a sexual nature, it is of utmost importance to hire an experienced criminal attorney who is well versed in all facets of defending sex crime allegations.
If you are accused of a child pornography crime in Florida, you could be facing charges from both the State of Florida and the federal government. Charges can be brought for mere possession, sale or distribution. Having just one picture in your possession or on your computer can result in serious criminal charges. Each image brings a separate charge, for example, if five pictures were found, then five charges can be prosecuted.
Both the State of Florida and the federal government aggressively prosecute child pornography crimes. The zealousness of such prosecutions is almost analogous to the “Salem Witch Hunt.” Prosecutors and courts alike are eager to mete out extremely harsh sentences: prison time, fines and, worst of all, forcing you to register as a sex offender – for life!
A registered sex offender in Florida faces a lifetime of severe restrictions and limitations, such as restrictions upon where they live and prohibitions upon contact with minors. Then there are life registration requirements requiring one to timely register each new address with both the sheriff of their county and with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Failure to timely register is a crime and those convicted of failure to register often receive harsh prison sentences. Local law enforcement officials often spot check compliance with registration requirements by making home visits at inconvenient times, often late at night, and suffice it to say that law enforcement officers tend to treat registered sex offenders with disdain and callous indifference.
Penalties – Child Pornography
Florida Statute 827.071 makes it a felony to possess any photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, or other presentation, which, in whole or in part, includes any sexual conduct by a child. “Sexual conduct” is defined in Florida Statute 827.071(1)(h) to mean actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, or sadomasochistic abuse; actual lewd exhibition of the genitals; physical contact with one’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.
Each individual picture, exhibition, show, representation or presentation possessed by an individual will lead to a separate charge. Thus, if someone had two different pictures depicting sexual conduct by a child, they would face two separate third degree felony counts of possession of child pornography. Each count is punishable by up to five years in the Florida Department of Corrections, possibly to run consecutively, and up to a $5,000 fine for each count. Additionally, and arguably the most stigmatizing consequence of this crime is the mandatory sexual offender registration, regardless of whether the court withholds adjudication pursuant to a plea bargain.
Individuals who possess three or more duplicate copies of any photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, or other presentation which, in whole or in part, includes any sexual conduct by a child, can be charged with the second degree felony of promoting child pornography. It is clear that legislature views duplicate copies as evidence of the intent to promote or distribute such illegal depictions. Also, the mere possession of ten or more images will result in a second-degree felony charge.
Often those charged with the possession or promotion of child pornography charges learn that their arrest was the result of a large sting operation performed by either the local authorities or the Federal government. Typically the individual is shown to have downloaded and/or distributed images of children. Depending upon the circumstances of the investigation, law enforcement investigators may wait until more and more images are downloaded and distributed in order to build a more serious case against the individual. When the authorities have completed their investigation they usually petition either a State or Federal Judge for a search warrant to search your computer and generally your entire home for other evidence of the crime of possession or transmission of child pornography. Of course the authorities will want you to provide a statement. Don’t be tricked into giving a statement to the authorities without consulting a lawyer! Law enforcement office will promise you leniency or try many deceptive tactics to solicit admission from you. Do not be fooled!
Several studies have been conducted on the harsh sentences given to child pornography cases. One such study conducted by the U.S. Sentencing Commission discovered that only murderers and kidnappers receive harsher sentences than those who are charged with child pornography.
DISCLAIMER: THE HIRING OF A LAWYER IS AN IMPORTANT DECISION THAT SHOULD NOT BE BASED SOLELY UPON ADVERTISEMENTS. BEFORE YOU DECIDE, ASK US TO SEND YOU FREE WRITTEN INFORMATION QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE. EVERY LEGAL MATTER IS DIFFERENT. THE OUTCOME OF EACH LEGAL CASE DEPENDS UPON MANY FACTORS, INCLUDING THE FACTS OF THE CASE.