Being charged with any crime related to child pornography, whether at the State or Federal level, is both devastating and embarrassing. The shockwave from an allegation of this kind affects not only the person accused, but their entire family as they attempt to cope with the circumstances related to the allegation. The criminal attorneys at The Mayberry Law Firm are experienced in representing people of all walks of life against all kinds of these charges. Our attorneys have enjoyed great success helping those charged with sex crimes mitigate their damages as much as possible and often have avoided our clients being forced to register as a sex offender or sexual predator. Like any other crime that is sexual in nature, it is of utmost importance to hire a criminal attorney well versed in all facets of defending a sex crime allegation as soon as you are comfortable. Law enforcement will make every effort possible to lock their case down through an admission, requesting guidance for accessing devices that might have residual related to the allegation, whether or not the content was ever specifically requested, or in some cases, a request to submit to a police driven polygraph.
Under Florida Statute 827.071, it is a felony to possess any photograph, exhibition, motion picture, show, representation, or other presentation which, in whole or in part, includes any sexual conduct by a child. “Sexual conduct” is defines in Florida Statute 827.071(1)(h) as actual or simulated sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, deviate sexual intercourse, masturbation, or sadomasochistic abuse. It also includes actual lewd exhibition of the genitals, physical contact with one’s clothed or unclothed genitals, buttocks, pubic area, or if such person is female then the breast area, with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of either party, or any act or conduct which constitutes sexual battery or simulates that sexual battery is being or will be committed.
Each individual picture, exhibition, show, representation, or presentation possessed by an individual will lead to a separate charge. Thus, if someone has 2 different pictures depicting sexual conduct by a child, they would be facing two separate third degree felony counts of possession of child pornography. Each count is punishable by up to 5 years in the Florida Department of Corrections, possibly to run consecutively, and a $5,000 fine. Additionally, and arguably the most stigmatizing consequence of this crime is forced registration as a sex offender regardless of whether the Judge withholds adjudication pursuant to a plea.
If an individual has 3 or more duplicate copies of any photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, or other presentation which, in whole or in part, includes any sexual conduct by a child, they will be looking at a second degree felony of promoting child pornography. The legislature views duplicate copies as evidence of an intent to promote or distribute such illegal depictions, an act they consider more serious than simple possession.
Possession or promotion of child pornography charges often result in certain known files being transferred and flagged by an internet service provider. The provider then contacts the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), who then confirms the file and refers the matter to local law enforcement. Depending on the imminence of the investigation, police agencies may wait until more and more images are downloaded and distributed in order to build a more serious case against the individual. When they are satisfied with the bulk and quality of their case, law enforcement will seek either a State or Federal judge for a search warrant to search your computer and potentially other parts of your home and belongings. When this happens you must comply with their warrant but you are not obligated to speak to the police, nor would any Tampa criminal attorney in our office advise you to. Speaking to the police in situations like this could amount to more charges if there is evidence that you have traveled to meet a minor or some other lewd act.
Regardless of whether you are charged in State or Federal Court with possession or promoting child porn, we advise that you contact our office prior to speaking with anyone about the facts of your case. It cannot be stressed enough that just short of murder charges, sex crimes are the most zealously prosecuted crimes on the books. We have a criminal lawyer available to take your call at 813-444-7435.