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What are child pornography charges?

There is little doubt that you are aware that child pornography charges are serious criminal charges but you may wonder exactly what they refer to and what the potential penalties are. Under both federal and state laws it is crime to possess, produce, distribute or sell pornographic materials that exploit or portray minors. Minors are considered children under the age of 18. Child pornography can include serious potential criminal penalties, as well as personal and social consequences, that the accused individual should be aware of.

Child pornography laws are being used increasingly to punish the use of computer technology and the Internet related to obtaining, sharing and distributing pornographic material that involves children which may include pornographic images or films. Individuals accused of committing child pornography-related crimes can face both or either federal and state laws and the stiff penalties that accompany each.

Accused individuals facing first-time federal criminal charges of producing child pornography face potential fines and between 15 to 30 years in prison. Federal laws typically apply when the possession, manufacture or distribution of the child pornography crosses state lines such as through the mail or Internet. Accused individuals may also be prosecuted at the state level. Both federal and state child pornography convictions likely include the requirement that the accused individual register as a sex offender on either or both a federal or state sex offender registries.

In total, individuals who have been accused of child pornography-related crimes face potential incarceration and the loss of their freedom; steep fines; and the requirement that they register as a sex offender which can all impact their professional, education and housing opportunities as well. Because of the vast potential negative consequences associated with sex crimes and child pornography charges, it is important that accused individuals are familiar with their criminal defense rights and options and how they apply to the situation they are facing.

Source: Criminal.findlaw.com, "Child Pornography," Accessed May 17, 2018

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