Being accused of a crime involving child pornography in California may have profound implications beyond fines and imprisonment. A conviction of a child pornography crime may have lifelong consequences that influence where you are permitted to live and work. Even if you’re found not guilty, the effects of the trial may negatively impact your reputation within your personal and professional life. In California’s judicial system, sex crimes, particularly involving children, are aggressively pursued.
If you’re under investigation for or charged with a child pornography offense, it is essential to retain a skilled sex crimes defense lawyer to defend you against these charges. Contact the Santa Barbara child pornography lawyers at the Aron Law Firm to discuss a solid strategy in your case.
Child Pornography Defined under California LawAccording to California Penal Code Section 311, child pornography is any image, video, or visual depiction of a minor under 18 engaging in or simulating sexual conduct. This law makes it illegal to knowingly distribute, possess, produce, publish, duplicate, sell, or print any form of child pornography. To garner a conviction in a Santa Barbara child pornography case, the prosecution must prove the following:
- You knowingly committed the offense, and
- When you committed the crime, you knew that the material displayed a person under 18 taking part in or simulating sexual acts.
What Types of Child Pornography Crimes Might I Be Charged With?Under California law, potential child pornography offenses include:
- Possession of child pornography (P.C. 311.11)
- Distribution of child pornography (P.C. 311.1(a))
- Sending, distributing, or producing child pornography (P.C. 311.2(a))
- Advertising child pornography (P.C. 311.10)
Potential Penalties for Child Pornography Charges in CaliforniaIn California, there are several different charges you may face for crimes involving child pornography. The penalties imposed for each child pornography conviction largely depend on the circumstances of each case and whether you have prior convictions on your record. Regardless of the sentence imposed, if you are convicted of child pornography, California law requires you to register as a lifetime sex offender, which influences where you are allowed to live and work for the rest of your life. An experienced sex offender defense lawyer may explain the potential consequences you may face based on your case’s details and how they may defend you against these serious allegations.
Child Pornography PossessionAccording to California Penal Code Section 311.11, possession of child pornography is a wobbler offense, meaning that it may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. The prosecution typically considers the number of images you’re suspected of having, the age range of children depicted, and whether you have a criminal record. The maximum penalty for felony possession of child pornography includes up to three years in state prison.
Distribution of Child PornographyDistribution of child pornography under California Penal Code Section 311.1(a) is also a wobbler offense that may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony. The penalty for a misdemeanor distribution of child pornography charge includes up to $2,500 fines and up to one year in jail. In contrast, penalties for a felony conviction include up to $2,500 in fines and up to three years of imprisonment.
Sending, Distributing, or Producing Child PornographyPer California Penal Code Section 311.2(a), any person who sends, brings into the state, possesses, or produces pornographic material involving minors with the intent to distribute it to others has committed a misdemeanor. If you are convicted, you may face up to one year in jail and fines up to $50,000.
Advertising Child PornographyUnder California Penal Code 311.10, advertising the sale or distribution of child pornography is a felony offense. If you’re found guilty of this crime, you may face penalties that include up to four years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
What Defenses May Be Used against Charges for Child Pornography?Suppose you’re accused of a crime involving child pornography in Santa Barbara. In that case, it is essential to consult an experienced sex crimes defense attorney from the Aron Law Firm to understand your potential avenues for legal defense. Our seasoned lawyers may examine your case and build a robust defense strategy so that you secure the best possible outcome in your case. Potential defense strategies for your child pornography case may include:
- Entrapment: Did an undercover government agent coerce you into possessing, distributing, or downloading child pornography when you would not have typically done so?
- Knowledge of contraband: Did someone else have access to your computer and download child pornographic images without your consent?
- Knowledge of age: Were you not aware that the individuals depicted in the pornography were minors under the age of 18?
- Knowledge of obscene matter: Were you not aware that the images or videos you were viewing were not inherently pornographic?
- Possession: Did you lack legal possession of child pornography due to the pornographic images being deleted from your computer’s web browser? This defense demonstrates you only viewed the material online without downloading it.
- Legitimate purpose: Was the child pornographic material downloaded for educational or technical purposes?
- Illegal search and seizure: Did law enforcement illegally search and seize child pornography without a legitimate search warrant?