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Florida Child Pornography Defense Attorney

Florida Child Pornography Defense Lawyer

David Joffe: Expert sex crime attorney for serious felony charges

Whenever there are news headlines about a child pornography arrest, most people react very strongly. Crimes against children carry some of the most severe sentences in the U.S. criminal code. An accusation of having involvement with child pornography can follow you around for decades. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for people to be mistakenly accused. From the moment a law enforcement agency requests an interview, everything you do can make or break your case. Anyone who has been accused of a child pornography-related offense should immediately retain a criminal defense lawyer. Only a knowledgeable child pornography defense attorney will know how to defend your rights and protect your reputation.

Types of child pornography offenses

There are several child pornography offenses under federal and state law. Depending on the facts of an individual case, a defendant may be charged with one or more child pornography offenses. Listed below are a few of the most common child pornography-related crimes.

Child pornography possession

An individual may be charged with Possession of Child Pornography if he or she knowingly has control of videos or images of a minor engaging in sexual conduct. People sometimes confuse age of consent laws with the laws that refer to the sexual exploitation of children. Child pornography laws prohibit adults from accessing sexual images or videos of anyone who is under the age of 18. Therefore, adults should steer clear of chat rooms, web forums, classified ads, or any other forums that encourage or allow adults to have sexual-themed discussions or contact with anyone who may be under 18.

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Possessing pornographic material that contains minors is a standalone offense. It is also the base offense for other child pornography-related crimes. Therefore, if a prosecutor fails to prove all of the elements of a more complex child pornography offense, the government may be able to convict the defendant on a simple possession charge if the individual had control of the illegal images.

Distribution of child pornography

Distribution of child pornography refers to more than just selling illegal images of children. Direct sharing, file-sharing, and even showing someone an illegal image of a minor can result in a state or federal distribution charge. Because possession is a required element in proving distribution, defendants who are charged for distributing child pornography may also be subjected to a possession charge.

Sharing an illegal image can be as simple as allowing someone to copy an illegal image. For example, if a defendant has a printed copy of an illegal image of a minor, he or she may be convicted for distribution if he or she allows someone else to copy the image. Selling or allowing someone to borrow a video that contains illegal images is another example of distribution. It generally does not matter whether the defendant shared a print copy, transmitted a file digitally, or intentionally handed someone a device that contained illegal images in its storage, the end result may be a guilty verdict in state and federal court. A defense attorney for child pornography charges can help you avoid the potentially severe consequences of a wrongful accusation or conviction.

Manufacturing of child pornography

State and federal governments prohibit adults and minors from manufacturing sexual images, videos, depictions, and performances that portray minors. Individuals who manufacture sexual material that features anyone who is under 18 may be charged for the Production of Child Pornography. Manufacturing or the production of child pornography can take many forms.

Not all examples of child pornography involve still photos or moving images. Laws against child pornography also prohibit live performances that are of a sexual nature and feature minors. A person who supplies a minor for the purpose of participating in a sexual performance may be convicted for Using a Minor in the Production of Harmful Materials. In addition to being accused of Using a Minor in the Production of Harmful Materials, a defendant who supplies a minor for a sexual performance may also be convicted for Selling or Buying Minors.

Child pornography produced by minors

These days, people of all ages use camera-equipped computers, mobile phones, tablets, and other portable devices. The widespread use of digital cameras and other technology has expanded and further complicated the application of child pornography laws. Unfortunately, sometimes teens and even younger children take illegal photos and videos of themselves and other minors. A minor may be induced by an adult or another minor to create inappropriate material. In any case, most jurisdictions prohibit children from producing, sharing, and possessing pornographic material. As a result, teens may be charged with child pornography-related offenses.

Some states specify lighter sentencing for minors who possess, distribute, or produce child pornography and are convicted as first-time offenders. In other cases, minors may face severe sentencing that may include mandatory registration as a sex offender. We are experienced in handling delicate cases that involve defendants who are under the age of 18.

Federal child pornography cases

State, federal, and local law enforcement agencies often work together to investigate child pornography cases. However, there are several determining factors that may automatically give the federal government jurisdiction over a case. A defendant will likely be prosecuted in federal court if the facts of his or her case involve:

  • activity that crosses state lines
  • activity that crosses one or more international borders
  • an offense that took place on property owned by the federal government
  • the use or misuse of a government agency
  • a government official

The use of digital technology can make a case very quickly cross over into federal territory. Seemingly small acts like posting an image to social media, sharing on a web forum, or texting or emailing illegal material to someone who is in another state can automatically subject the parties involved to federal charges. If people in other jurisdictions can view the materials, the federal government will generally have jurisdiction.

Sending materials through the mail can also make a child pornography offense a federal matter. The U.S. Postal Service is a federal agency. Therefore, if a defendant uses the U.S. mail service to send, request, or otherwise facilitate the production or exchange of illegal materials, the federal court will have jurisdiction over the case. Using privately owned mail carrier services like UPS and FedEx can also become a federal matter if the illegal material crosses state lines or an international border.

If you are involved in a federal child pornography case, you need an attorney who possesses the expert skill set federal cases require. Not only are the stakes higher in federal child pornography cases because the sentences are more severe but these cases are prosecuted by the top lawyers and presided over by the most distinguished judges.

Defenses against child pornography charges

The defense an attorney chooses to raise in a child pornography case depends on the specific facts of the case. Nevertheless, child pornography defense attorneys have numerous potential defenses at their disposal. Listed below are some of the most common defenses in state and federal child pornography cases.

Accused wasn’t in possession

One of the most direct defenses against an accusation of possessing child pornography is to prove the defendant didn’t possess the illegal material. This defense is especially valuable in cases that involve a shared workspace, household, or communal devices multiple people can access. If the prosecution is unable to prove the defendant was using a shared device at the time an illegal image was downloaded or accessed on the device, conviction is less likely.

Similarly, if the police found a physical copy of child pornography or a file storage device that contained illegal images, the location of the device matters. A defendant is more likely to be convicted if the pornography was found in a locked closet to which only the defendant had a key. However, if the images were found in an unlocked hallway coat closet that multiple household members and guests accessed, the prosecution may have more difficulty proving possession.

Mistaken age defense

In any child pornography case, the court must acquit the defendant if his or her attorney can prove the pornographic material does not depict a minor. An attorney may request proof of age records from the individual or organization that produced the imagery or performance. If the defendant knows the individual who appears in the material, the attorney may obtain the individual’s birth certificate, driver’s license, and other proven authentic forms of identification. If no minors were involved in the production, exchange, or possession of the material, then the defendant did not violate a child pornography law.

Lack of knowledge

In possession and distribution cases, a defense attorney may argue the defendant had no knowledge that he or she possessed or distributed child pornography. These instances can occur if an individual did not knowingly receive or transmit the materials.

Computer viruses commonly download and transmit files without the computer user’s knowledge. If a computer virus caused illegal images to be downloaded and sent to others without detection, the defendant will most likely not be convicted for possession or distribution. A defense attorney may provide evidence that there is no record of the defendant having later accessed or viewed the file for personal use as is commonly the case with pornographic images. Proving the download and transmission took place during a time when the defendant is typically away from his or her computer may also weaken the prosecution’s case.

Entrapment

Law enforcement agencies often investigate potential child pornography cases by conducting online sting operations. During a sting operation, a law enforcement agent will pose as someone who wants to buy or sell illegal images. The undercover agent will interact with people in online spaces the law enforcement agency suspects may be involved in the production or distribution of child pornography.

In the course of a sting operation, an undercover officer may pretend to have an interest in conducting illegal business. However, it is legal for a law enforcement officer to induce someone to engage in criminal activity. For example, the law prohibits an officer from deceiving someone by telling the person that selling sexual photos of 17-year-olds is legal in certain jurisdictions. If the person otherwise had no intent to distribute a photo of someone who is under 18, the individual’s attorney would argue he or she was entrapped by law enforcement into committing a crime. Other examples of entrapment occur in cases in which a law enforcement officer uses threats or coercion to induce someone to engage in criminal activity.

Not all sting operations occur online. Law enforcement may conduct an offline sting operation if the agency suspects human trafficking or other situations in which children may be transported or harbored for use in sexual performances.

Illegal search and seizure

In any criminal case, law enforcement agencies must carefully follow the guidelines the Constitution sets forth in conducting traffic stops, searches, and seizing evidence. Police officers are required to have probable cause to stop a vehicle or search someone’s property. For example, if the police stop an individual based on his or her race or some other non-criminal characteristic, any evidence discovered and seized from the stop may be thrown out in court because the officer did not have probable cause to make the stop. Similarly, the police are not permitted to enter a person’s home, storage facility, or other property without obtaining a warrant, having permission, or discovering signs that point to a crime in progress.

Defense attorney for Florida child pornography cases

Facing a child pornography charge may seem like a lonely, embarrassing fate. However, you don’t have to face the charges alone. We are committed to defending the accused and protecting the individual rights the Constitution guarantees to people who have come in contact with the criminal court process. Before you speak to law enforcement, talk to us. We will evaluate your case and advise you of your legal options. Having a strong Florida child pornography defense attorney by your side can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

See our child pornography defense pages in…

Fort Lauderdale
Fort Myers
Miami
Naples
Tampa
West Palm Beach

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Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.