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South Beach Child Pornography Lawyer

Highly experienced sex crimes attorneys for federal & state charges

Child pornography-related crimes often require more intensive investigation strategies due to their secretive nature. Because the possession, production, and distribution of child pornography occurs in hidden spaces, it can take years to undo damage caused by a false accusation. Even after being proven innocent, people who have been wrongfully accused of a crime that involves a child may still face scrutiny in their personal and professional lives. A South Beach child pornography defense attorney can help people who are facing a wrongful allegation protect their reputation and their freedom. Joffe Law provides legal defense to individuals who have been accused of a child pornography offense in South Beach and surrounding areas.

How law enforcement agencies investigate child pornography offenses

Law enforcement agencies often investigate suspected child pornography-related crimes by conducting sting operations. Federal investigators often work with state and local law enforcement. Online sting operations involve undercover law enforcement officers posing as people who are interested in buying child pornography or selling pornography. In some cases, a law enforcement officer may pose as a minor. The officers frequent places where people who have involvement with child pornography are likely to be. Chat rooms, classified websites, message boards, and web forums are a few examples of settings in which sting operations take place. When an officer has an interaction with someone who engages in illegal activity, the law enforcement agency will conduct a more thorough investigation and eventually make an arrest. Many of the dramatic police raids we hear about in the news are based on evidence gathered through sting operations.

Child pornography possession in Florida

Florida’s child pornography laws address the issue of the commercial sexual exploitation of children from multiple angles. Child pornography possession is a base level offense in cases that involve visual depictions that portray a minor engaged in sexual conduct.

An individual may face criminal charges if he or she actually or constructively possesses child pornography. Actual possession refers to the item being located on the individual’s person, in a pocket or accessory the individual is wearing or carrying, or within the individual’s reach. An individual constructively possesses an item if the item is located within an area the individual controls. For example, a prosecutor would argue an individual has constructive possession of an illegal item that was found in the defendant’s personal locker, private closet, or desk drawer.

It is important to note that possession of child pornography may be charged per image. Therefore, if investigators seize 100 images that include a sexual depiction of a minor, the defendant may be charged with 100 counts of possession of child pornography. If convicted, the defendant may be sentenced for each count separately.

Possession with the intent to distribute

People are often surprised to learn how strict Florida’s child pornography possession laws are. If an individual is found to have three or more copies of an illegal image of a child of a device, the person who owns the device may be charged for possession with intent to distribute. Computers often automatically make multiple copies of a file. A file may be accidentally saved in two places. A device may save a copy of a file to create a thumbnail image. Most devices have backup temporary files for easy access. If you attempt to delete a file, there will likely be a backup copy on the device if the file is left in a trash folder or recycling bin. There are several reasons a person may have multiple copies of a file on a device without the individual having the intent to share the file.

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Distribution of child pornography

Florida law specifically prohibits the transmission of child pornography with the use of an electric device or equipment to transmit child pornography. Transmitting or otherwise distributing child pornography is a third degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison, five years on probation, and a fine of up to $5,000. If the defendant transmits or distributes child pornography to another state or outside of the U.S., the crime becomes a felony offense. Under federal law, transmission or distribution of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. For second-time offenders, the mandatory minimum sentence increases to 15 years in prison, and the maximum sentence is 40 years in federal prison. It’s critical to ensure that your South Beach federal crime attorney is experienced in defending complicated cases.

Today, child pornography is most often distributed through digital files online. Some common platforms through which illegal materials are transmitted and distributed are:

  • email
  • peer-to-peer file sharing servers
  • text messages
  • web forums
  • chat rooms
  • social media

There are some instances in which an illegal image may be transmitted unintentionally. Viruses and malware download unwanted files to a device without the user’s knowledge. Computer viruses spread by sending files to other people’s devices through email, message applications, at other times when the infected computer communicates with another device.

Distributing harmful materials to a minor

Not only is it illegal to possess sexual depictions of a minor, but state law also prohibits the distribution of sexual materials to anyone who is under the age of 18. The law is subjective in terms of what meets the definition of harmful material. An individual may be charged under the law against distributing harmful materials to a minor if he or she rents, sells, or loans sexual material to a minor. The materials may take be in any of the following formats:

  • a photo
  • a drawing
  • a picture
  • a video
  • a movie
  • a sculpture
  • a pamphlet
  • a book
  • a magazine
  • a sound recording
  • any other visual representation

Prosecutors must prove the defendant intentionally distributed the harmful material to a minor. Therefore, the state must prove the defendant knew the content and character of the material in addition to the age of the minor. In determining whether the material is harmful to a minor, the court will consider:

  • whether the material primarily appeals to a shameful or erotic interest
  • whether the material is deemed offensive according community standard for what is suitable for children
  • whether, when perceived as a whole, the material is without scientific, political, literary, or artistic value for children.

Use of a minor in a sexual performance

Using a child in a sexual performance is a second degree felony under Florida law.  If convicted, a defendant may be sentenced to a maximum of 15 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000.

Specifically, an individual may be charged for using a child in a sexual performance if he or she employs, induces, or authorizes a child’s participation in a sexual performance. Parents or guardians may also be charged under the same law if they give consent for a child to participate in a sexual performance. In addition to proving the defendant used or consented to the use of a minor in a sexual performance, prosecutors must also prove the defendant knew the content and character of the performance. The law requires the minor to have been under the age of 18 at the time of the performance.

Sexing according to Florida’s child pornography laws

The act of exchanging sexual content through text messages, or “sexting,” is legal when it occurs between two overtly consenting adults. However, when sexting involves a minor, there will be criminal charges. Florida courts treat sexting cases in which the parties involved are minors very differently than cases in which sexting occurs between an adult and a minor. The state’s sexting law is not limited to the exchange of text messages. Someone who sends sexual messages to a non-consenting adult or a minor may be charged if the message is sent by using any of the following:

  • a computer
  • a cell phone
  • a tablet
  • any other electronic device

SEXTING BETWEEN MINORS

When the parties in a sexting case are minors, the case will most likely be adjudicated in Florida’s juvenile court system. First-time sexting law offenders who are under the age of 18 may be ordered to pay a maximum fine of $60, complete eight hours of community service, and required to complete a course on the dangers of sexting. If a minor does not complete the requirements, the state may suspend the minor’s driver’s license. Second-time offenders may be charged with a first degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Third and subsequent sexting offenses committed by a minor may be charged as a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, five years on probation, and a $5,000 fine.

In cases that involve sexting between minors, prosecutors do not automatically charge each image  as a separate count. Instead, all illegal images sent within a 24-hour period are charged as one count. Minors receive lighter sentences in sexting cases. However, if the court determines that a minor sexting case involves a very serious matter, the minor defendant may face prosecution as an adult.

We recommend parents maintain continuous supervision and open and informative communication with their children about sexting. Not only can sexting expose a minor to predatory situations, but your child may also be charged with a very serious offense. Our South Beach child pornography defense lawyer is available to answer your questions about teen sexting. If your child has been charged with a sexting offense, we are available to provide legal representation. Working with an attorney will minimize the risk of a single mistake unnecessarily following your child for the rest of his or her life.

SEXTING BETWEEN AN ADULT AND A MINOR

The law takes a stricter view when a sexting case involves a minor and an adult. Florida’s child pornography possession law applies to adults who receive sexual photos of a minor. Prosecutors charge each illegal photo the adult possesses as a separate count. Possession of four or more sexual images of a minor carries a minimum mandatory sentence of four years.

In addition to being charged with possession, other child pornography charges may apply if an adult exchanges sexual messages with a minor. If the adult shares sexual images sent by a minor, he or she may be charged with intent to promote a sexual performance by a minor or use of a minor in a sexual performance. Individuals who operate exotic dance clubs and other adult entertainment businesses in South Beach may face criminal charges if they receive sexual images from anyone who is under 18 years of age. This means businesses must exercise caution when interviewing and hiring workers for adult-oriented enterprises.

Sexting with anyone who is under 18 is a serious matter. It is important to always verify the other party’s age before deciding to exchange text messages. Moreover, if you unintentionally receive a sexual message from a minor, immediately delete the message and cease communication. Block the person’s phone number if you have to. Failure to do so may compromise your freedom. Contact our South Beach sex crime lawyer for more information about sexting laws in Florida.

South Beach child pornography defense attorney

If you have been accused of a child pornography-related offense, we understand that your first reaction may be to panic. Joffe Law is here to ease your anxiety by acting as your frontline legal defense. We can protect your reputation and build the strongest case for your defense. Whether you are under investigation or if you have already been charged, give our South Beach child pornography defense lawyer a call. If you have been convicted for a child pornography offense in Florida, we can advise of your legal options for post-conviction relief and, if applicable to your case, help you file a direct appeal. We represent Florida child pornography defendants at every stage in the criminal process.

Call Joffe Law, P.A. at (305) 845-6554 for a case evaluation. A member of our team will gather the facts of your case, and we will review the details to determine the best way to represent you.

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AVAILABLE 24x7
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AVAILABLE 24x7
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AVAILABLE 24x7
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AVAILABLE 24x7
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AVAILABLE 24x7
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AVAILABLE 24x7
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AVAILABLE 24x7
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AVAILABLE 24x7
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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.