The production, distribution, or possession of child pornography is considered a serious crime in California, as well as at the federal level. One can be prosecuted for child pornography at federal level if one is seen to have distributed the contraband across state lines, including using the Internet.
According to the Department of Justice, child pornography is defined as a visual depiction of any minor (below the age of 18) engaged in explicit sexual activity. These can include photographs, video, or computer generated graphics, even when the latter does not involve an actual child. For material to be classified as child pornography, a depiction of a sexual act is not necessary. A naked child in a sexually suggestive or aggressive pose would be classified as child pornography.
Penalties for the production, distribution, selling, or possession of child pornography are severe, resulting in long jail sentences and heavy fines. The penalties increase if there are aggravating circumstances, including if the material is of a violent, sadistic, or masochistic nature, a child was sexually abused in the production of the pornography, or the offender has a prior conviction for child sexual exploitation. In those cases, a conviction can result in a life sentence.
There are some defenses in a child pornography possession case. For example, one can claim that the material, especially on a computer, does not belong to him. This may be a case in which someone else downloaded the material on the defendant's personal computer. One can claim that the material is not, in fact, child pornography under the definition of the law, but rather has some kind of scientific, educational, or artistic merit. One can claim that the material was illegally seized by law enforcement. Another defense is that the participants in the material are 18 or above. The defendant can claim entrapment. Finally a defense can be made if one maintains a lack of intent, accidentally logging onto a child porn website for example.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for production, distribution or possession of child pornography in the Riverside County cities of Temecula, Murrieta, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Menifee, Perris, Banning, Riverside or Corona, Winchester contact us immediately. We have been practicing criminal law since 1999 and we can help!