Child pornography-related criminal offenses are considered acts of child exploitation, and these cases are taken very seriously by the state of California. Being accused of possessing, producing or distributing child pornography can have a terrible impact on your life. Your employment, reputation and even your living situation could be affected by these charges even if a conviction isn’t made. If you would like to discuss your legal options with a child pornography defense lawyer, contact the attorneys at Okabe and Haushalter. We can help you become informed of your rights under the law.
Any materials—photos, videos, or digital media—that depict persons under the age of 18 engaged in sexual behavior are considered to be child pornography under Section 311 of the California Penal Code. Furthermore, even if the individual depicted is not engaged in actual sex acts, if the depiction is determined to be intended to lead to sexual gratification for the viewer, it could still be considered child pornography. The penalties for child pornography-related crimes vary depending on the specific offense.
There are different penalties that may be applied to child pornography-related crimes depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime itself. However, under California Penal Code Section 290, all people who are convicted of a crime involving child exploitation are required to register as sex offenders. They also may face jail or prison sentences and fines of varying amounts as outlined under Section 311 of the state penal code.
Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of 2,500 dollars if convicted. However, fines may be increased and the period of incarceration may be extended if the party in possession has previously been convicted of a similar crime.
Being charged with distribution or intent to distribute child pornography can result in a felony conviction and imprisonment for up to six years if the distribution is determined to have been for the purposes of commercial gain. In these cases, the fines could be up to 100,000 dollars.
People who are repeat offenders or those who possess large volumes of child pornography face longer prison terms and larger fines if convicted again for the same charges or related charges.
The types of defenses a Long Beach child pornography defense lawyer may use when defending clients accused of such crimes can vary depending upon the circumstances. The following are a few common examples:
Unintentional or Accidental Possession
It is extremely important to be entirely honest when discussing your case with our Long Beach child pornography defense attorneys. A lawyer can only provide you with the defense you need if they are accurately informed about the nature of your case.
That said, there are genuine instances when those accused of possessing child pornography did not mean to possess these materials. For example, some people share their computers with others. Someone may have child pornography on their computer because someone with whom they share the device put it there.
This often happens when the individual who actually downloaded the content had an agenda against the accused. For example, if a couple shared a computer and broke up, an angry ex might download child pornography onto the device in an effort to get their ex into legal trouble.
It’s also theoretically possible for child pornography to be downloaded to someone’s computer due to a virus, hacker, or other such factor. The fact that someone has child pornography on their computer does not guarantee they intended to download it.
Law enforcement sting operations sometimes involve implicating suspects in crimes by inducing them to commit crimes. Sometimes, this is done as a legitimate means to incriminate someone who may genuinely be guilty of crimes. The police simply might not have the proof they need to show this individual committed such crimes in the past.
However, although rare, there are instances when police induce individuals to commit crimes they would not have otherwise committed. Police might even suggest that an individual should download certain materials that are not clearly labeled as child pornography, only to then arrest them for having child pornography on their computer.
Again, these cases might not be common, but they are not unheard of. Your attorney will investigate this angle if it appears there is reason to believe you have been the victim of entrapment.
Not Child Pornography
Some forms of material that may be on an accused individual’s computer may not actually be child pornography. For example, it is possible that images or videos which someone might initially assume are child pornography are actually educational resources for medical professionals.
Proving that material which appears to be child phonography does not actually qualify as such under California law’s definition can be challenging to accomplish on your own. A qualified Long Beach child pornography defense lawyer can investigate the source of the content and, if it doesn’t meet the legal definition of child pornography, explain to the court why not.
Again, what’s most critical is that you remain honest. You may think you have a better chance of winning your case if you lie to your attorney, but deception will actually harm your chances of arriving at an ideal outcome.
If you need a child pornography defense lawyer in Long Beach, the attorneys at Okabe and Haushalter can help you. We are criminal law specialists, and we know the legal codes pertaining to child exploitation inside and out. We can put our legal know-how to work for you and can defend you against the charges you face in the court of law. Our defense tactics get results and have earned us a reputation for courtroom excellence. You deserve to have the best defense attorneys in L.A. by your side. Contact us today for a free consultation.