Florida Child Pornography Lawyer
Child pornography is one of the most serious offenses a person can face. From possession of child pornography to the mere allegation of distributing, a defendant can face lengthy prison sentences, registration as a sex offender for life and a tarnished reputation and career. Actual sentences vary based on the quantities of material in question as well as the nature of the accused crime. The most pertinent thing one can do to preserve their rights and safeguard their future is to call an experienced Florida child pornography lawyer. With eight different offices statewide, our firm can help you reclaim your rights. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation.
Elements of a Child Pornography Crime
There are three elements to a child pornography crime that, if present, may lead the person accused to be convicted of a third degree felony.
- Defendant knowingly possessed material featuring a child compromised
- The media in possession illustrates sexual conduct of a child younger than 18 years old
- Defendant knew the media in possession contained sexual conduct of a child
There are circumstances such as the child in question appears to be of age or the media being only a software file where an expert witness testimony would be required. Generally, possession of child pornography has a maximum sentence of five years, but there are no minimum mandatory sentences. This offense does grant the accused a pretrial release.
Understanding Child Pornography Distribution and Transmission Charges
Distributing and transmitting child pornography is viewed as one of the most severe offenses in Florida. It is highly important that if you are contacted by authorities, taken into custody or if a warrant has been issued to search your premises that you do not speak to law enforcement without an attorney present. Most cases start with a law officer contacting the accused and setting up a voluntary interview. More often than not people speak to the agents or officers without a lawyer, which can be a huge mistake. Don’t let fear or ignorance bully you out of your rights. If you or a loved one has been accused of distributing or transmitting child pornography, contact our firm to speak with an experienced Florida child pornography lawyer right away for a complimentary and completely confidential consultation.
The transmission or distribution of child pornography falls under the Florida statute promoting a sexual performance by a child. The elements to validate these cases are the following:
- The accused produced, directed, disbursed or advertised any visual representation available to be witnessed by spectators
- The visual representation depicted some type of sexual activity by a child under the age of 18 years old
- The accused knew what the visual representation of the child was and still distributed it
To prove these elements, expert testimony is often needed. The maximum prison time for this crime is 15 years and registration as a sexual offender, predator or both.
Sexting and Sex Crimes Involving Juveniles in Florida
Sexting is a relatively new term that has risen with the advent of the smartphone. It refers to the sending, receiving or otherwise sharing of sexually explicit images, usually by text message.
When the messages are sent between an adult and a minor, it is considered child pornography and may be charged as such. Sexting between teens raises other, more difficult legal questions. A teen who receives an unsolicited “sext” and takes reasonable steps to report and discard it can avoid criminal prosecution. Contact a Florida child pornography lawyer today to discuss the specifics of your situation.
Defenses in Florida Child Pornography Cases
It is important for anyone charged with a crime in Florida to understand that the burden is at all times on prosecutors to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not enough for them to show that you probably committed the crime.
In child pornography cases, that means proving intent. A person cannot be convicted of possessing child pornography, for example, unless prosecutors can show that he or she knowing possessed the illicit material. Getting inside the mind of any person at any given time is not easy. That’s why prosecutors often rely on circumstantial evidence, as well as statements from witnesses and the person charged with the crime to try to establish intent.
There are a number of specific defenses that a skilled Florida child pornography lawyer can raise in child pornography and other sex crimes cases, including:
- Age: It is on prosecutors to prove that the person depicted in the image was under the age of 18 at the time the image was captured.
- Entrapment: This defense typically arises in cases in which Florida law enforcement use confidential informants or undercover police officers to investigate possible criminal activity. That includes situations where informants or undercover officers look to trade pornographic material though internet chatrooms and other online venues. Florida law bans entrapment, which generally occurs when an officer or informant tries to induce someone into committing a crime in situations where that person would not have otherwise engaged in the criminal offense.
- Hearsay: This is not a full defense to a criminal charge, but it can be helpful in keeping certain testimony out of court. The rule against hearsay generally bans one person from testifying in court about what another person, like a witness or victim, said outside of court, if it’s being used to prove a fact. That may include trying to prove that a person charged with possessing child pornography knew actually knew that he or she had the illicit material.
- Double Jeopardy: In Florida, a person generally cannot be charged with the same crime twice.
- Statute of Limitations: State law requires prosecutors to charge a person suspected of a child pornography offense within three years of the date of the offense. The date of the offense may continue, however, if the person continues to possess the pornographic material in question.
It is important that a person charged with – or even suspected of – a child pornography crime seek the advice of an experienced Florida child pornography lawyer. An attorney can give you an honest assessment of the case against you and help build the strongest possible defense
Contact a Florida Child Pornography Attorney
The attorney you choose affects how your proceedings go inside and outside the courtroom. You will need an attorney that will provide investigators and experts to scrutinize any and all evidence to work in your favor. You need an experienced attorney to help you avoid maximum penalties and other life-shattering consequences. Our firm can provide you with top-notch service throughout the state.
Do not delay. If you or someone you know is facing possession of child pornography charges, call our firm at 866-608-5529 or contact us online to speak with a knowledgeable Florida child pornography lawyer and get your case underway.