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How California Handles Child Pornography Charges

February 12, 2019

The penalties for child pornography offenses are severe

How California Handles Child Pornography Charges

In California, there are a variety of laws that address child pornography. The Legislature has determined that it is a priority to punish those who make, send, exchange, possess or advertise child pornography. The result is that if you are charged with an offense related to child pornography, you may be facing severe consequences.

There are a range of consequences for violating California’s child pornography laws. The penalties largely depend on the law that you are alleged to have violated. For example, a misdemeanor child pornography conviction will result in a maximum of one year in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000. A felony conviction may lead to a sentence of up to eight years in state prison and a fine of up to $100,000. However, regardless of the type of offense you are alleged to have committed, if you are convicted of any level of child pornography offense, you will be required to register as a sex offender in California for life.

Under the law, child pornography is any matter or material depicting sexual conduct by a person under 18 years of age. Matter or material can include film or filmstrips, photographs, negatives or slides, photocopies, videotapes, CD-ROMs, data storage devices, or computer-generated images. In modern times, child pornography is most likely to be stored digitally, on computers, smart phones and tablets, and sent via the internet.

As a general rule, knowledge is required to be guilty of a child pornography offense. According to an Orange County criminal lawyer, a person must both be aware of the nature of the material in question, and know that the material showed a person under the age of 18 participating in sexual conduct.

According to a seasoned Orange County criminal lawyer, California law makes it illegal to produce and distribute child pornography within the state. That means that it is illegal to send it or cause it to be sent into the state; bring it or cause it to be brought into the state; possess it; prepare, publish or produce it; or develop, duplicate or print it. There are harsher penalties for individuals if the material in question is considered “obscene,” if it is intended to be distributed commercially, and if it was to be exhibited to a person under the age of 18.

The simple possession of child pornography is also a crime under California law. If a person knowingly possession or control of child pornography can lead to criminal charges — as long as the materials were made with a person under the age of 18. If, for example, defendant in a criminal case had cartoons that depicted minors engaged in sexual activity, that would not be a criminal offense. Because no actual children were involved in making the material, it is not a violation of the law.

Defending against child pornography charges can be challenging given the social stigma and the harsh penalties associated with these crimes. However, there are a number of possible defenses to these charges. For example, you may have been entrapped into downloading child pornography, or falsely accused. You may also not have had the required knowledge about the material that you possessed. Working with an aggressive Orange County criminal lawyer can help you fight back against these charges.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, the Chambers Law Firm can help. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or dchambers@clfca.com to schedule a free initial consultation.

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