Crimes involving exploiting and abusing children can result in some of the harshest penalties in California. Even if you are acquitted, an arrest for child pornography accusations can cause devastating lifelong consequences.
Child pornography is one of the most common sex offenses in the state, and California Penal Code 311 outlines violations. It’s crucial to understand that videos or pictures do not have to include sexual activity to result in criminal charges.
Penalties for child pornography convictions
Individuals producing, possessing, distributing or transporting content deemed sexually suggestive can face charges. These offenses are considered “wobblers” in California, meaning they can be misdemeanors or felonies. Those convicted or pleading guilty must register as sex offenders for a minimum of 10 years. Punishment can be severe, including:
- Felonies: Up to six years in prison and fines potentially reaching $100,000.
- Misdemeanors: Maximum fines of $2,500 and up to one year in county lockup.
California Penal Code 311 defines pornographic and obscene material as content depicting sexual activity in a “patently offensive way” lacking artistic, literary, scientific or political value. Charges are often judgment calls by prosecutors, who aggressively try child pornography cases.
Common defenses for child pornography charges
It is crucial to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to defend against the complex laws regarding sex crimes. Prosecutors must show that you understood that you were breaking the law. Successful defenses can result for defendants who:
- Viewed pornography of individuals they believed to be over 18 years old
- Mistakenly click on links leading to illegal material
- Download malware that transferred obscene content to their computer
- Have their constitutional search and seizure rights violated by law enforcement
A knowledgeable attorney will scrutinize the evidence and circumstances related to your case.
Protect your reputation and future
Time is of the essence to seek legal guidance if you are charged or become aware of an investigation against you. Even if you are not convicted, child pornography allegations and arrests can have devastating repercussions. Accusations often destroy families and careers as well as housing and educational opportunities.
Working with an attorney as soon as possible can result in charges being avoided or dismissed. If charges are filed, it is also crucial to avoid incarceration, if possible, while your case makes its way through the legal process. An experienced criminal defense attorney will work in your best interests by aggressively defending your rights and working for the best outcome possible.