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As federal law enforcement officials have continued to cast an increasingly wider net designed to catch individuals involved in child pornography, many people have been inadvertently swept up in that net.

When an offense charged as child pornography involves crossing state lines or international borders, even if only through the Internet, federal charges may result. The consequences of a conviction on federal child pornography charges are often severe.

If you have been accused of a crime involving child pornography at the federal level, contacting a Jefferson County federal child pornography lawyer may be the first step to clearing your name and preserving your job and family. A well-practiced federal criminal attorney could examine your case and build a defense to disprove any allegations.

Defining Child Pornography

18 U.S. Code § 2256 defines child pornography as any visual image, whether real or computer-generated, of sexually explicit conduct if it involves or appears to be a minor engaging in such conduct.

This definition could be sufficiently broad enough to cover photos and videos of minors involved in sexually explicit conduct. Images of minors involved in this conduct that were created or modified using computer imagery may also fall in this category. There is no requirement that the image must depict a child be actually engaging in sexually explicit conduct, but only that the child appears to be sufficiently sexually suggestive.

Pursuant to 18 U.S. Code § 2251, it is illegal to convince or force a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purposes of creating visual images of the conduct, which is commonly referred to as sexual exploitation of children. It is prohibited under 18 U.S. Code § 2252 to produce, distribute, or possess images of child pornography using or implicating any means of interstate or foreign commerce.

This could include transporting the images via U.S., mail or common carriers, or transmitting the images via the internet across state lines or international borders. 18 U.S. Code § 2260 also makes it illegal to knowingly create, obtain, or disseminate child pornography with the intent to bring it into the United States.

A Jefferson County federal child pornography lawyer could help an accused person learn more about their charges and what legal recourse may be available to them.

Potential Penalties for Violating Federal laws

The potential penalties for being convicted of federal child pornography charges could be extremely serious. Individuals who are first-time offenders may face a federal prison sentence ranging from 15 to 30 years.

A second conviction might result in a sentence of incarceration ranging from 25 to 50 years, and a third or subsequent conviction might result in a sentence of 35 years to life in federal prison. Those individuals who are convicted of this crime also may be ordered to pay very steep fines.

Violations of 18 U.S. Code § 2252 may be very harsh. Individuals convicted of this crime could face fines and imprisonment for a period not to exceed ten years, but if the images depicted a child under the age of 12, the potential sentence increases to 20 years.

If convicted, a person could also appeal the charge with the help of a Jefferson County federal child pornography attorney.

Affirmative Defense

A defendant could have an affirmative defense to child pornography charges if:

  • They possessed fewer than three images
  • The person immediately took rational steps to destroy the images or report and turn over the images to a law enforcement agency without retaining the images or allowing any other person to access them, other than law enforcement officers

Contact a Jefferson County Federal Child Pornography Lawyer

Child pornography charges can be life-altering, in that they can adversely affect your career, your relationships, your reputation, and, ultimately, your freedom. Do not allow these accusations to impact your life in this manner. Contact a Jefferson County federal child pornography lawyer today and learn what defense strategies may be available to you.

Jefferson County Federal Criminal Lawyer