Federal Sex Crimes
Facing a run of the mill criminal charge is one of the most terrifying experiences imaginable. Being charged with a Federal sex crime compounds the fear of a criminal charge to unimaginable levels. Any Federal criminal charge carries with it the potential for harsh and draconian penalties made worse by the necessity of navigating an antiquated system that does not afford the discovery opportunities available in the State system. Add to this the risk of serving prison time and being labeled a sex offender and the need for an experienced Tampa federal sex crime lawyer has never been greater. Jason Mayberry practices consistently in Federal court, having the honor of receiving appointed cases through the Criminal Justice Act in addition to maintaining a busy privately retained practice.What Makes Federal Sex Crimes Different?
Regardless of whether a person is charged with a sex crime in Federal or State Court, not only is there a risk of prison time and the potential for becoming a convicted felon, ever looming is the crippling risk of being labeled a sex offender. While most sex crime allegations carry the risk of a lengthy prison term, the Federal system takes this risk and multiplies it. The draconian sentencing guidelines can take an allegation that may expose an individual to five years in prison in State court and subject them to a penalty double or triple that, as a minimum mandatory. Depending on whether an individual is charged with production of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, possession of child pornography, or a more hands on crime, one could be looking at spending the rest of their life in prison.
Production of child pornography is generally one of the harshest Federal sex crime allegations as it alleges that an individual used a minor to actually make or create child pornography. Beginning with a 15 year minimum mandatory prison term and a sentencing guideline base offense level of 32, the punishment exposure for this crime can quickly increase depending on the age of the alleged victim, what acts are depicted, if the actions were sadomasochistic or violent, and the relationship of the defendant to the alleged victim. It is not uncommon in these scenarios for the recommended guideline sentence to exceed a statutory maximum, or for multiple counts to be charged to statutorily accommodate a potential sentence. When this is the case, a federal sex crime attorney in Tampa may need to take the case to trial as there is no other viable option considering the incredibly high nature of potential incarceration penalty.
Distribution of child pornography while not subjected to quite the harsh punishment as its production counterpart, is still subject to a five-year minimum mandatory prison term and sentencing guidelines that generally escalate the recommended sentence even higher. Unlike the actual manufacture of child pornography, an individual can be charged with distribution, and convicted of this charge, if the United States can prove there was a knowing receipt or distribution of child pornography through interstate commerce and when the material was received or distributed, the individual knew the material was child pornography. Like production, guidelines for this crime can increase based upon what is depicted, how many images are distributed, if the individual made money by distributing the materials, whether the materials were distributed to a minor, whether the materials were distributed with an intent to entice a minor, amongst others.
Possession of child pornography carries with it the lightest potential incarceration penalty as it pertains to similar Federal sex crimes in that it requires no statutory minimum mandatory prison term and while the guidelines for possession are quite harsh, they are the lightest of the aforementioned crimes. This is certainly not to say that the penalty risk is not serious, however in context to other similar Federal sex crimes, the punishment can be less severe. The jury instruction for possession of child pornography is generally the same as distribution in that one must knowingly possess it, it must have been transmitted to them in some form or fashion that affected interstate commerce (generally via internet file transfer), and when the individual possessed the file or content, he or she must have believed it was child pornography under an objective standard.How Can Federal Sex Crime Allegations Be Defended?
These cases are never easy for Tampa federal sex crime attorneys, regardless of their experience. There is often the stigma an accused must overcome with respect to juries and the litigated subject matter creates obstacles not seen in other cases. All this said, every case is different, and most are defensible. The defense of a production case might focus on whether the material produced was in fact lewd and lascivious or whether the accused actually participated in the content’s production. In production, distribution, or possession cases, there may be a defense focused on the United States Attorney’s Office’s ability to prove the depicted individual was in fact a minor rather than a very young looking adult. Another prospective defense is whether the accused knew they possessed the child pornography or were distributing child pornography. Often chat forums or even adult pornography sites allow for unsolicited, illegal pornography to piggy back legal pornography. Thumb nail pictures can come in with hundreds or thousands of pictures, only to contain several depictions of child pornography, unbeknownst to the recipient. A solicited legal pornography video may also include illegal depictions of a minor. Every case is unique and every case is deserving of a thorough and comprehensive review.Why the Mayberry Law Firm?
Our firm consistently represents clients in Federal court and a major part of our Federal and State caseload involves sex crimes. Unlike many other firms, we do not moonlight in Federal court once or twice a year. We are in the Federal courthouse nearly every week, we know and have worked against the US Attorney’s Office consistently, and simply put, we know how to navigate the Federal system. Our firm has the experience, drive, and dedication to help you through this, the most trying time in your life. Federal sex crimes, be it any variety of child pornography allegation, or otherwise, are familiar to us. Put our experience, and will to earn the best possible result in your case, to work. Contact our office today for a free consultation with a federal sex crime lawyer in Tampa and insight into what we can do to help you through this difficult time. Call us at (813) 444-7435 or fill out a contact form on our webpage for a free analysis of your situation.