If you are facing charges related to child pornography, working closely with an attorney who will explain your rights and options can help you make decisions that are in your best interests. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation and case evaluation with an experienced Internet crime attorney.
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The Internet is, sad but true, commonly used to disseminate child pornography. The exploitation of children for pornographic purposes is illegal virtually everywhere in the world, and numerous law enforcement agencies around the globe have made stopping it a priority. These cases are investigated and prosecuted aggressively, and the potential consequences of a conviction are severe.If you are facing charges related to possession, distribution or production of child pornography, contact an attorney from Hertz Schram PC in Bloomfield Hills, MI, who can advise you of your rights and options.
What Is Child Pornography
U.S. federal law defines child pornography as "any visual depiction" that "involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct." For the purposes of this law, a "minor" is anyone under the age of 18. This is in spite of the fact that some state laws provide that someone can consent to sexual activity at a younger age. Sexually explicit conduct includes "actual or simulated" exhibition of sexual acts or the lascivious presentation of the genitals/pubic area of a minor. The law defines a "visual depiction" as a film, video or a photograph, whether in hard copy, in undeveloped film, or as data stored on a computer, memory card, flash drive, external hard drive or in digital content stored in the "cloud."
Laws on Child Pornography and Punishment
Unlike other forms of sexually explicit material, child pornography is illegal regardless of banned whether or not it meets the legal definition of obscenity. The U.S. legal justice system has expressly decided that there is no constitutional right under the first amendment to possess, distribute or produce child pornography. Child pornography is simply not tolerated, and is, under the law, a form of child sexual abuse.
Federal law governs any time that the transmission, sale, production, distribution or possession of child pornography involves interstate or foreign commerce. This applies to both hard copies that have been manually transported across state lines as well as those transported across the Internet in certain situations. If, for example, a pornographic image is emailed to someone in another state, it is considered to be a part of "interstate commerce." The same rule applies when an image is electronically sent to someone located in the same state if the Internet server routing the information is in another state.
Federal law also governs in situations where materials that have crossed state lines are used to produce child pornography. Though federal law applies to nearly all situations where images are digitally transmitted, some cases fall under the purview of state authorities. State-level penalties for child pornography are still severe, and are, in many circumstances, just as harsh as those provided by federal law.
The prison sentences for possessing, producing, selling, distributing or buying child pornography are typically lengthy. In addition, property like computers, photography equipment, video equipment, printers and CD or DVD burners that relate to child pornography will likely be seized. Defendants convicted of child pornography and related charges face the stigma associated with being a sex offender. This exists both in prison, where they may receive disproportionally bad treatment from other inmates, and on the outside where they could lose out on career, educational and housing opportunities because of their past.
Defenses to Child Pornography Charges
Depending on the unique facts and applicable laws, those facing child pornography-related charges may have a number of defenses available. In some cases, for instance, the defendant may not have known the image contained pornography, or he or she might have been involuntarily exposed to it (through a computer virus, for example). In other instances, the image in question might be a digitally created depiction of a young person, or it could be a real picture of someone who is actually over the age of 18.
Contact a Lawyer to Get Started on Your Defense
Child pornography is a crime that law enforcement, as well as the community at large, takes very seriously. Considerable time and resources are devoted to the investigation and prosecution of those who make, buy, sell, distribute or possess child pornography. If you or someone you know is being investigated in connection with child pornography, it is important to obtain legal assistance. Speak with an experienced attorney from Hertz Schram PC in Bloomfield Hills, MI, to learn your legal rights.
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