The Internet has become a common means for the distribution of child pornography. Child pornography is illegal virtually everywhere in the world, and numerous law enforcement agencies have made it a priority. This means that cases are investigated and prosecuted aggressively. If you are facing charges related to possession, distribution or of child pornography, contact an attorney from Blanch Law Firm P.C. in New York, New york, who can advise you of your rights and options.
The Definition of Child Pornography
U.S. federal law defines child pornography as “any visual depiction” that “involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.” A minor is anyone under the age of 18 (even if the state’s age of consent for sexual activity is lower). Sexually explicit conduct includes “graphic or simulated lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person.” A visual depiction is what it sounds like — film, video or a photograph — but it is also information that can be converted into an image, such as undeveloped film or data stored on a computer.
Laws on Child Pornography
Unlike other forms of sexually explicit material, child pornography is banned whether or not it meets the legal definition of obscenity. There is no constitutional right to possess, distribute or produce child pornography. Child pornography is simply not tolerated.
Federal law applies any time that the transmission, sale, , distribution or possession of child pornography affects interstate or foreign commerce. This typically applies to images that are transported across state lines. It also applies when materials that have crossed state lines are used to produce child pornography.
In almost every case, federal law will apply to the situation. If a pornographic image is sent over the Internet to someone in another state, federal law will apply. If the image is sent to someone in the same state, but the Internet server is in another state, federal law will apply. In the rare case that federal law does not apply, state law will step in. Sometimes, prosecutors will file charges for violation of both state and federal law.
The prison sentences for selling, distribution, and possession of child pornography can be quite severe. In addition, property that relates to child pornography may be seized. This may include photographic equipment and computers. Convicted defendants may be required to register as sex offenders.
Defenses to Child Pornography Charges
Defenses to charges surrounding child pornography are available, depending on the facts and the applicable law. In some cases, the defendant may not have known what the image contained or may not have voluntarily accessed it. In other cases, the image may be a virtual image — that is, not involving a real person — or an image of someone 18 years old or older.
Contact a Lawyer
Child pornography is a crime that law enforcement, as well as the community at large, takes very seriously. Considerable time and resources are devoted to the investigation and prosecution of child pornography possessors and distributors. If you or someone you know is being investigated in connection with child pornography, it is important to obtain legal assistance. Speak with an experienced attorney from Blanch Law Firm P.C. in New York, New york, to learn your legal rights.
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