In Florida, child pornography charges can have long-term repercussions that can negatively impact both your profesional and personal life. Due to the severity of these offenses, charges carry severe punishments that include imprisonment and fines. If you are facing charges, consider enlisting the help of a Florida child pornography attorney.
Crimes against children are harshly persecuted and punished. As a result, a charge for possession of child pornography is a serious allegation that you should not take lightly. The criminal lawyers at Goldman Wetzel have extensive experience representing clients facing charges in Florida. Contact us for a free consultation.
What is Considered Child Pornography in Florida
Florida law defines child pornography as any image depicting a minor engaged in a sexual conduct. Based on this definition, Florida Statute § 827.071(5)(a) establishes that it is illegal to knowingly possess, control or view any form of child pornography. This crime is charged as a third-degree felony.
Under this definition, a minor is a child less than 18 years of age. Additionally, some examples of depiction that could be considered child pornography include:
- Shows and exhibitions
- Computer data files
- Streaming or downloaded video
- Any other images or video
In addition to possessing or viewing these types of depictions, there are other child pornography related-crimes that could result in harsher penalties. According to the same statute, a person also commits a crime if he or she:
- Employs, uses or authorizes a minor to engage or participate in a sexual performance.
- Possess child pornography with the intent to promote, give, transfer, distribute, or publish that depiction.
There are different laws in Florida that deal with child pornography charges as well as the penalties associated to these crimes. These statutes include:
- Florida Statute 847.0135: covers the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act which establishes and defines prohibited computer usage.
- Florida Statute 847.0138: discusses the unlawful transmission of images, information or any sort of data depicting sexual conduct to a minor.
- Florida Statute 827.071(5)(a): includes definitions for different types of sexual performance by children as well as their penalties.
In order to be convicted for possession or distribution of child pornography, the prosecutor needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant possessed, manufactured or distributed material depicting minors in a sexual performance.
Given the sensitive nature of sex crimes against children, proving your innocence on your own might be a challenging process if you are not familiar with Florida law and the justice system. The criminal defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel have experience handling child pornography cases and can provide you with the aggressive representation you need as well as the compassionate support and guidance you deserve.
Child Pornography Sentencing in Florida
In Florida, the penalties associated with child pornography offenses vary depending on the type of offense. Overall, these punishments for these offenses include imprisonment, fines, probation and registration as a sex offender.
A charge for possession of child pornography is charged as a third-degree felony. If convicted, the defendant could face up to 5 years imprisonment and a maximum $5,000 fine for each illegal material or minor that is depicted in the image, video, or data.
In other words, if law enforcement finds that you are in possession of one image with two minors or two different pornographic materials, you will face up to 10 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
On the other hand, manufacturing, promoting, or distributing child pornography is classified as a second-degree felony which is punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment and a maximum $10,000 fine. Additionally, if a legal guardian, employs, induces, or authorizes a minor to engage in a sexual performance, the offender will also be charged with a 2nd-degree felony.
Florida statute of limitations on child pornography cases
Crimes against children such as traveling to meet a minor or child pornography offenses have a statute of limitation of 3 years. In other words, these cases must be prosecuted 3 years after the crime was committed.
Federal charges for child pornography
Under federal law, possessing or distributing child pornography is illegal. Therefore, these offenses can be prosecuted under state laws in addition to, or instead of federal law. Like many other federal crimes, these offenses can result in harsher penalties if they are punished at the federal level.
First-time offenders accused of distributing or transporting child pornography face a statutory minimum of 5 years and up to 20 years imprisonment. Possessing this type of material could result in a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment for a first offense. Note that these penalties can increase if the offender has prior sex offense convictions.
Defense Against Child Pornography Charges
Due to their sensitive nature, child pornography cases require a strong and aggressive defense that convinces the judge of your innocence. There are different strategies that your attorney might use depending on your case. Some of the most common defenses that the child pornography lawyers at Goldman Wetzel use include:
- Lack of evidence: having a single image or video is not enough to prove that the defendant was intentionally engaging with this type of material. If this is your case, your lawyer might be able to prove that you did not have the intent to view or possess the material in question.
- The material was not yours: in some cases, defendants might find child pornography material in their devices or spam email. A Goldman Wetzel attorney might be able to find evidence that proves that you were not aware of this material and that you just came across it.
- Lack of intent: in some situations, a child pornography lawyer might be able to prove that the defendant did not intentionally view the images and that he or she came across the material by accident.
Even though these might be common defenses for a child pornography crime, there might be other avenues that are more suitable for your case. To discover the possible strategies for your case, speak to our criminal defense attorneys today.
How to Report Child Pornography
According to Florida § 847.0139, a person that reports child pornography to law enforcement is immune from being prosecuted. In other words, if you come across child porn and you report it, you will not face criminal charges.
In this context, reporting implies providing images, information, or data that the person believes to be evidence of possession or distribution of child pornography. In order to report child pornography, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement recommends contacting local law enforcement and provide the information that you have found.
Contact a Florida Child Pornography Attorney
Florida does not take child pornography offenses lightly. Given that these charges can result in severe consequences that include fines, imprisonment, probation, and sex offender registration, consider retaining the services of an experienced criminal attorney in Florida.
Goldman Wetzel represents clients facing serious criminal charges in Pinellas, Sarasota, Hillsborough, and Manatee County. If you are accused of possession or distribution of child pornography, contact our attorneys or call us at (727) 828-3900 to schedule a free consultation.