Miami Child Pornography Lawyer
Possession and distribution of child pornography has become one of the most serious sex crime offenses in Florida today. And with the many technological advances in recent years, law enforcement officials can track child pornography to specific computer and IP addresses. Indeed, prosecution teams can locate your Internet history and can even discover links to websites or documents that you believe to have deleted.
If you have been accused of a state or federal sex crime, it’s very important to contact a Miami child pornography lawyer. You will need experienced legal counsel on your side at every stage of the investigation. If you are convicted of sex crimes involving child pornography, you can face extremely harsh criminal penalties, including thousands of dollars in fines and years of imprisonment. Contact the law office of Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today to learn more about our defense strategies.
What Constitutes Child Pornography in Florida?
Chapter 847 of the Florida Statutes governs obscenity law in our state, and § 847.001 defines child pornography. Under Florida law, child pornography means “any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct,” and a minor is anyone under the age of 18 years old. It’s illegal to possess, distribute, transmit, and manufacture any item of child pornography. These are felony offenses, and they can include substantial jail time. In other words, merely having a photo on your computer that constitutes child pornography is a violation of the law.
It’s important to note that “child erotica” is different from child pornography. While certain images of children may include nudity, those photographs or images may not meet the requirement of “sexual conduct” under Florida law. If these cases tend to turn on the definition of sexual conduct, how is it defined under the Florida statutes? In short, for the purposes of prosecuting the crime of child pornography, sexual conduct generally refers to one of the following acts:
- Actual sexual intercourse;
- Simulated sexual intercourse;
- Lewd exhibition of the genitals;
- Actual physical contact with a person’s clothed or unclothed genitals with the “intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of either party”; and
- Sexual battery.
18 U.S.C. § 2256 of the federal code defines child pornography as “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor.” Visual depictions include photos, videos, digital or computer generated images that are indistinguishable from an actual minor, and even undeveloped film or footage. Federal law prohibits the production, distribution, reception, and possession of child pornography. It applies whenever child pornography occurs in interstate commerce. This includes the following:
- Using the U.S. mail or common carrier to send or receive images across state borders
- Whenever the internet is used in child pornography
- If the materials such as the computer or CD rom used traveled across state borders
Any violation of a federal child pornography statute is a serious crime. Federal charges for child pornography can be included in addition to separate state charges for the same crime. If you are charged as a producer of child pornography, even as a first-time offender, there is a statutory minimum of fifteen years in prison and can be as much as thirty years for a single charge. If you are charged as a possessor or transporter of child pornography a minimum five year prison sentence is imposed and can be as much as twenty years. Fines are also imposed for all federal child pornography charges. If you have a history of prior criminal convictions or if the prosecutor believes that it was an aggravated situation the penalties can be even harsher.
Child pornography law is complex, and other acts may in fact rise to the level of sexual conduct as it’s defined by the Florida statutes. An experienced Miami criminal defense lawyer can take a look at your case today.
Defenses to Child Pornography Charges
Most Miami residents who have been charged with a sex offense related to child pornography will have been accused of one of the following incidents, many of which involve the use of the Internet or other new technologies:
- Downloading child pornography;
- Uploading and sharing child pornography;
- Possessing child pornography on your computer or smart phone;
- Creating DVDs of child pornography;
- Sending child pornography through text messaging on your smart phone;
- Using the Internet to solicit minors (e.g., in chat rooms, through instant messaging); or
- Meeting a minor on the Internet and physically traveling to meet the minor in person.
How can a Florida child pornography lawyer help with your defense? Given that computers and smart phones often are used by different people at work or at home, we can show how some of the following defenses can help your case:
- The defendant unknowingly downloaded the illegal images as the result of a computer virus, an Internet “pop-up,” by downloading large Zip files, downloading through file-sharing programs like Limewire, or by simply clicking on an unknown link; or
- The defendant wasn’t the sole user of the computer or smart phone on which the illegal images were discovered.
Contact a Miami Child Pornography Lawyer
Child pornography charges are extremely serious offenses, and both federal and state prosecutors have made convictions for these offenses a priority. If you were targeted in a child pornography investigation, it’s essential to hire a Miami child pornography lawyer who can assist with your case. Contact us today.