Being charged with any crime related to child pornography, whether at the State or Federal level, is both devastating and embarrassing. 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.
Florida Statute 827.071 makes it a felony to possess any photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, or other presentation which, in whole or in part, includes any sexual conduct by a child. “Sexual conduct” is defined in Florida Statute 827.071(1)(h) to mean actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, or sadomasochistic abuse; actual lewd exhibition of the genitals; physical contact with one’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if such person is a female, breast, with the 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.
As serious as this is, each individual picture, exhibition, show, representation or presentation possessed by an individual will lead to a separate charge. Thus, if someone had 2 different pictures depicting sexual conduct by a child, they would face 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 porn charges are generally the result of a large sting operation performed by local police agencies or the Federal government. Typically the individual is known to download and/or distribute images of children. 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 their case they will petition 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 of travel 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 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.