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Joffe Law, P.A. Boca Raton Federal Defense Lawyer Child Pornography Lawyer Boca Raton

Boca Raton Child Pornography Lawyer

Experienced sex crimes defense attorney
for state & federal charges

Law enforcement agencies take child pornography offenses very seriously. A child pornography allegation can follow you around for life even if you are acquitted. If you are under investigation for a child pornography-related offense, don’t wait until you are formally charged. A Boca Raton child pornography defense lawyer can protect your rights and preserve your reputation from the beginning. David Joffe represents individuals who are facing state and federal child pornography charges in Boca Raton and surrounding areas. Once retained, our dedicated team will evaluate your case and determine the best approach to defending you.

Child pornography laws in Boca Raton

Florida has several laws that directly and indirectly address the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Child pornography is defined under Florida law as material that depicts anyone who is under the age of 18 engaging in sexual conduct. Pornographic materials include, but are not limited to videos, photos, and performances.

Images that have been generated, altered, or modified are also child pornography under Florida law. State prosecutors must prove the minor depicted was under 18 years of age at the time the pornographic image was produced. The minor must also be identifiable by his or her face, a birthmark, his or her likeness, or any other distinguishing characteristic.

Child pornography possession charges

Possession is Florida’s most basic child pornography charge. An individual may be charged in state court for possessing child pornography if he or she:

  • physically owns or occupies illegal sexual material that depicts a minor
  • intentionally views illegal sexual material that depicts a minor
  • has illegal images of a minor within his or her control

Although a possession charge is comparatively less severe than a child pornography distribution or production offense, possession charges add up quickly for people who regularly view illegal images. Prosecutors commonly base child pornography possession charges on each piece of material the investigating law enforcement agency finds. For example, if state or federal investigators discover 100 illegal images of children on someone’s digital device, each image will be a separate count. As a result, the defendant would be charged with 100 counts of Possession of Child Pornography. If convicted, the court may apply a separate sentence for each count.

Florida’s maximum sentence for child pornography possession is five years and a fine of up to $5,000. In reality, an individual who is accused of possessing several pornographic images of children may be sentenced to many more years in prison and ordered to pay more in fines if convicted on multiple counts.

Allegations of possessing illegal images of minors should always be taken seriously. We recommend consulting with a sex crimes lawyer in Boca Raton at the first hint of an accusation.

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Florida law against computer pornography

Florida law explicitly prohibits the use of a computer in the involvement of a child pornography-related offense. An individual may be charged under the state’s Computer Pornography statute if he or she:

  • knowingly uses a computer to compile, access, or transmit illegal images of minors
  • makes, prints, publishes, or reproduces illegal images of children by other computerized means
  • knowingly causes or allows illegal images of children to be accessed by use of a computer
  • buys, sells, receives, exchanges, or disseminates a notice, statement, or advertisement of a minor’s name, telephone number, residence, physical characteristics or other descriptive or identifying information to facilitate, encourage, offer, or solicit sexual conduct with a minor or a visible sexual depiction of a minor

FLORIDA’S LAWS

Under Florida law, the possession of photographic material or motion pictures that include sexual images of minors is a third degree felony offense. If an individual possesses illegal photographic material that includes a sexual depiction of a minor and also intends to distribute the material, the offense is a second degree felony. An individual who is accused of possessing child pornography in Florida may be charged under several laws in a single case.

Distribution of child pornography in Boca Raton

Transmitting or otherwise distributing child pornography is a very serious offense. Even in cases that do not involve people who sell child pornography, evidence of the intent to distribute an image can elevate a basic possession charge. Not only can an individual be charged for distributing child pornography, but adults may also be prosecuted for supplying minors with materials that depict sexual images.

SELLING OR DISTRIBUTING TO MINORS

Florida’s law against distributing harmful materials to minors specifically targets adults who expose minors to sexual material. An individual may be prosecuted for Distributing Harmful Materials to Minors if he or she sells, rents, or loans any of the following items to someone who is under 18 years of age:

  • a sexual photo, picture, or drawing
  • a sexual movie
  • a sexual sculpture
  • a sexual pamphlet, book, magazine, or brochure
  • printed material that contains a sexual narrative story
  • materials that contain verbal accounts of sexual conduct

The state may charge an individual for supplying any of the aforementioned items or any comparable depiction. State prosecutors must prove the material was sexual in nature and harmful to minors. In proving the material was harmful, the state must establish:

  • the material primarily appeals to a shameful or erotic interest
  • the material is deemed offensive and inappropriate for children according to current community standards
  • when perceived overall, the material does not present serious artistic, political, literary, or scientific value for children

In 2013, Florida’s legislature enacted a law that prohibits the distribution of harmful materials to minors on school grounds. Therefore, if an adult intentionally hands out or posts sexual materials at a public or private school, the individual may face charges under the general law against distributing harmful materials to minors and a separate charge for distributing the material at a school.

Use of a child for a sexual performance

Florida’s laws against exploiting children for commercial gain prohibits the use of minors in sexual performances. An individual may be charged for using a child for a sexual performance if he or she employed, induced, or authorized a child to participate in a sexual performance and if he or she knew the content and the character of the performance. The law also requires the minor to have been under 18 at the time of the performance. A sexual performance is any visual representation that displays:

  • sexual intercourse
  • anal sex
  • oral sex
  • masturbation
  • bestiality
  • lewd exhibition of the genitals

PROMOTING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

The promotion of child pornography is a second degree felony offense in Florida. State law defines the promotion of child pornography as the manufacture, sale, or transfer of any image that depicts a minor engaging in sexual activity. A key element in Florida’s law against promoting child pornography is the presumption that anyone who has three or more images intends to promote the illegal material.

Promoting child pornography is a second degree felony. If convicted, a defendant may be sentenced to a maximum of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 per count. The charge may be upgraded to a first degree felony if the defendant possessed 10 or more images and:

  • the images depict a minor who is under five years of age
  • the images depict sadomasochistic abuse of a minor
  • the images depict sexual battery of a child
  • the images depict bestiality
  • the images are motion pictures, films, or videos

If the charge for promoting child pornography is upgraded to a first degree felony, the defendant may be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000. Depending on the nature of the depiction and the content portrayed, three basic possession charges can quickly escalate and become a first-degree felony offense.

Sexting cases

As more parents allow their children to have access to smartphones, sexting has forced Florida’s legal system to expand into a newly charted area. “Sexting,” the act of sending sexually-themed text messages, is lawful when it occurs between two explicitly consenting adults. However, when a minor is involved, the state’s laws against child pornography are applicable. Florida’s laws against sexting with a minor differ depending on whether both parties were under 18 at the time of exchanging sexual images or whether one of the parties was an adult.

SEXTING BETWEEN MINOR AND ADULT

An adult may face serious charges for exchanging sexual text messages with a minor. If an individual who is over 18 sends or receives sexual images with a minor, he or she may face the following criminal charges:

  • possession of child pornography
  • using a child for a sexual performance
  • distributing child pornography

Each offense is a felony, which means the defendant may be sentenced to state prison and ordered to pay a large fine. Moreover, prosecutors will likely charge each image as a separate criminal count against the adult.

SEXTING BETWEEN MINORS

The laws in Florida are slightly different in sexting cases in which the messaging takes place between minors. First-time sexting law offenders who are under 18 may be sentenced to 8 hours of community service, required to pay a $60 fine, and ordered to complete an education program about the dangers of sexting. If the minor fails to complete his or her sentence, the state may suspend the minor’s driver’s license.

Second-time minor offenders may be charged with a first degree misdemeanor offense and sentenced to up to one year in county jail and ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,000. Depending on the number of sexual images a minor exchanges, he or she may be charged as an adult for using a minor in a sexual performance. Using a minor in a sexual performance carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison. If a Florida court deems the offense to be severe in nature, the minor may be charged with a felony offense and sentenced as an adult. For parents who are concerned about the legal implications of their child’s involvement in sexting, contacting a Boca Raton defense attorney is imperative.

Consequences of the Sex Offender Registry

Florida law requires defendants who are convicted on certain criminal sex charges to register with the state as a sex offender. The state sex offender registry helps families remain safe and aware of the location of violent offenders. Registering as required also helps the state remain up to date on the activities and location of people who have been convicted of a felony sex crime. Florida requires sex offender registration if an individual has been convicted of:

  • child prostitution
  • child pornography
  • child molestation
  • unlawful sex with a minor under 18
  • sexual performances by a child
  • sexual battery
  • kidnapping
  • false imprisonment
  • public lewd and lascivious offenses
  • sex trafficking of a minor

Compared to many other states, Florida requires much more detailed information from registered sex offenders. Upon release from prison, the state requires the individual to register and obtain a state sex offender license. Registering and maintaining the license requires the defendant to maintain a current photo, fingertips, email address, employment information, online usernames, and other information on file with the state. If any of the required information changes, the individual must notify the state within 48 hours.

Sex offender registration is required for life unless otherwise specified by the state. However, individuals who have been out of prison for 25 years without additional criminal accusations may petition the court to be removed from the registry.

Boca Raton defense lawyer for child pornography offenses

If you have been accused of a child pornography offense in Boca Raton, your freedom and reputation are on the line. The quality of counsel you choose to represent you may directly impact your case outcome. Joffe Law is South Florida’s trusted child pornography defense law firm. Our dedicated team will thoroughly analyze the facts of your case and identify the best approach to defending you. Contact David Joffe and his team today to learn more about how a Boca Raton criminal defense attorney can protect your rights and reputation.

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