Possession of Child Pornography
Florida has incredibly broad child pornography laws that harshly punish individuals who possess, promote or create any content that depicts a child engaged in sexual conduct. A conviction for possession of child pornography will not only subject you to a potentially lengthy prison sentence but also requires you to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. However, being charged with a child pornography crime and being convicted are two different things, and it is up to the government to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt—if it can.
At the Mayberry Law Firm, our Tampa criminal defense attorney has extensive experience handling a wide range of sex crime cases, including those involving the possession of child pornography. Through his strategic negotiation and investigation, Attorney Jason Mayberry is often able to secure favorable plea agreements on behalf of his clients. However, as a savvy litigator, Attorney Mayberry is equally comfortable taking a case to obtain the best possible result for his clients.What Is Child Pornography in Florida?
Under Florida Statutes § 827.071, child pornography is defined as any image that,
- Depicts a minor engaging in sexual conduct; or
- Was created or modified to portray an identifiable minor engaged in sexual conduct.
Florida law defines a minor as anyone under the age of 18. Further, the definition of “sexual conduct” is very broad and includes obvious acts such as vaginal, oral and anal sex. However, the term also covers less obvious conduct, such as lewd exhibition of the genitals, buttocks or a woman’s breast. Additionally, the law is not concerned with whether a video or image is authentically displaying a sex act; simulated sexual conduct is punished the same as actual sexual conduct.What Is the Punishment for Possessing Child Pornography in Florida?
Possession of child pornography is a felony of the third degree, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. A conviction will also result in a fine of up to $5,000. Further, anyone convicted of possessing child pornography in Florida is subject to mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.
However, in certain situations the court will reclassify the offense to a felony of the second-degree felony. Reclassification occurs where a person possesses 10 or more images and the content:
- Depicts a child under five;
- Contains the sadomasochistic abuse of a child;
- Contains the sexual battery of a child;
- Contains bestiality; or
- Contains an actual or computer-generated motion picture, film, or video.
In addition to possession of child pornography, Florida law has several offenses related to the possession and promotion of child pornography. And often, prosecutors will bring multiple related charges. For example, depending on the surrounding circumstances, prosecutors frequently file the following charges in addition to possession of child pornography:
- Promotion of Child Pornography – Florida Statutes § 827.071(4)
- Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child – Florida Statutes § 827.071(3)
- Use of a Child in a Sexual Performance – Florida Statutes § 827.071(2)
- Online Solicitation of a Minor – Florida Statutes § 847.0135(3)(a)
- Traveling to Meet a Minor – Florida Statutes § 847.0135(4)
Law enforcement relies on advanced technology and forensic experts when bringing child pornography charges. As a result, these crimes can be difficult to defend against. However, there are defenses to child pornography offenses, which include:
Transitory Possession - The defendant did not “knowingly” possess the material because, although there is evidence of the material on their device, they deleted it immediately upon learning of the prohibited nature of the content.
No Children Involved – The content depicted individuals over the age of 18, even if it appeared as though one or more of those involved appeared to be minors.
Child Erotica – The content contained “child erotica,” which does not meet the definition of “sexual conduct” under § 827.071.
There are also numerous defenses related to the manner in which the prosecution gathered evidence from the suspect’s computer or device, for example, if law enforcement officers searched someone’s computer without a warrant or probable cause.Are You Facing Child Pornography Charges in Hillsborough County?
If you were recently arrested and charged with possession of child pornography, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Hillsborough County child pornography lawyer as soon as possible. At the Mayberry Law Firm, we have more than 15 years of experience helping good people defend their names, reputations and freedom in the face of extremely serious accusations. We understand the stress and anxiety that comes along with charges of this magnitude and will work tirelessly to ensure that your arrest has as little impact on your future as possible. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with a Tampa criminal defense attorney today, call 813-444-7435. You can also reach us through our online contact form.