NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 2nd October 2023, 05:31 pm
Child Pornography Lawyers in Los Angeles
Being charged with a child pornography crime can completely turn your life upside down. These allegations carry extremely serious penalties in both state and federal courts. If convicted, you could face years or even decades behind bars, massive fines, and a lifetime of restrictions and stigma as a registered sex offender. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to have an experienced Los Angeles child pornography defense attorney on your side from the very start of your case.
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of child pornography laws in California and federally, typical penalties, and the most effective defense strategies. We’ll also highlight some of the top-rated Los Angeles child pornography lawyers who can defend you against these life-altering charges.
California Child Pornography Laws
In California, the possession, distribution, and production of child pornography is primarily prosecuted under Penal Code 311 PC. This law makes it a felony crime to knowingly distribute, transport, produce, develop, duplicate, print, exchange, or possess any obscene material depicting a minor under 18 engaging in or simulating sexual conduct. The potential penalties depend on the specific charges, but can include:
- Up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine up to $2,000 for a misdemeanor possession conviction
- 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison and/or a fine up to $10,000 for a felony possession conviction
- 2, 4, or 6 years in state prison and/or a fine up to $100,000 for distribution/transportation convictions
- 3, 6, or 8 years in state prison for production/development convictions
In addition to jail or prison time, those convicted will also face mandatory sex offender registration under Penal Code 290 PC. This subjects them to a lifetime of restrictions on where they can live, work, and more. Failure to register can result in new criminal charges.
Federal Child Pornography Laws
Federal law also prohibits the production, distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2251-2252. Defendants face even harsher potential penalties in federal court, including:
- 5 to 20 years in federal prison for receipt or distribution
- 15 to 30 years in federal prison for production
- Up to 10 years in federal prison for possession
Those convicted will also face federal supervised release for at least 5 years up to life, along with sex offender registration. The most serious federal child pornography offenses carry mandatory minimum prison sentences, meaning judges cannot sentence defendants to less than the minimum even if they want to.
Defenses to Child Pornography Charges
Given the extreme consequences of a conviction, building an aggressive defense is critical. Here are some of the most common defenses Los Angeles child pornography lawyers may use:
You Didn’t “Knowingly” Possess It
All child pornography laws require prosecutors to prove you knowingly possessed the material. For example, if someone secretly plants child porn on your computer without your knowledge, you cannot be convicted. Your lawyer may argue the files were placed there by malware or computer viruses.
It’s Not You in the Images/Videos
If child porn was found on a computer or device you share with others, your attorney can argue there is reasonable doubt it belongs to someone else. This is especially true if multiple people have access or the device was not password protected.
The Material Does Not Meet the Legal Definition
Your lawyer can scrutinize the evidence to determine if it actually meets the legal definition of child pornography. For example, the children may be clothed or the material may not depict sexual conduct. Your lawyer may also argue the individuals are not minors or the evidence is digitally manipulated.
Illegal Search and Seizure
If police violated your 4th Amendment rights by searching your home or seizing your devices without a warrant or probable cause, your lawyer can file a suppression motion. If granted, all evidence obtained illegally must be excluded.
This defense applies if you were induced by law enforcement to obtain child porn. For example, if an undercover cop pretended to be a minor and convinced you to receive inappropriate images.
Finding the Best Los Angeles Child Pornography Lawyer for Your Case
If you are under investigation or have been arrested for any child pornography crime, it’s critical to consult with an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer immediately. Never attempt to handle these extremely complex cases alone.
When researching attorneys, be sure to choose someone who specializes in sex crimes and child pornography specifically. Look for lawyers with extensive trial experience and a proven track record of getting charges reduced or dismissed pre-trial.