Child Pornography Defense Attorneys in Ocala, Florida
Child pornography charges are among the most serious in the country. The harm this crime can cause has led authorities to take child pornography extremely seriously. However, just because a person is accused of a child pornography crime does not mean that person is automatically guilty. Every single individual deserves a fair legal defense.
At Defend Ocala, we believe in protecting our clients’ rights every step of the way. As criminal defense attorneys, we’ll listen to your story, strategize a path forward, and help you when you need it the most. We’re proud to serve individuals in Ocala and anywhere else in Florida, including Clermont, Leesburg, Tavares, Eustis, and throughout Marion and Lake Counties. Set up a confidential consultation with us today.
Understanding Child Pornography in Florida
In Florida, child pornography is defined as any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer-generated image, that depicts a minor engaging in sexual conduct. “Minor” is defined as any person under the age of 18. “Sexual conduct” includes any sexual activity or simulated sexual activity, including sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, sadomasochistic abuse, or any other sexual activity involving the minor. The depiction does not have to be real or based on a real minor—it is illegal to possess or distribute any visual depiction that appears to depict a minor engaged in sexual conduct, even if the minor is not real.
In Florida, it is a felony offense to produce, distribute, possess, or view child pornography. The penalties for child pornography offenses in Florida are severe and can include imprisonment, fines, and sex offender registration.
While child pornography is essentially a sex crime, it is also a cybercrime since the internet has made such materials more widely available. Therefore, child pornography falls under the broad umbrella of sexual exploitation of children, even though these charges are often prosecuted as cyber crimes.
Laws Addressing Child Pornography
There are several federal laws addressing child pornography in the United States. Key federal laws related to child pornography include:
Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA)
This law criminalizes the creation, distribution, and possession of visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, regardless of whether the depiction is real or simulated.
This law strengthens the penalties for child pornography offenses. It creates new offenses, such as the distribution of material deemed to be harmful to minors.
Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act
This law enhances penalties for child pornography offenses. It creates new offenses, such as producing child pornography outside the United States.
Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA)
This law criminalizes the production and distribution of child pornography and the use of children in the production of pornography.
18 U.S. Code § 2251
This statute criminalizes the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography, as well as the sexual exploitation of minors.
Please note that producing pornographic materials involving children are not necessarily protected by the First Amendment.
Florida State Laws
In Florida, there are several laws addressing child pornography. Some of the laws related to child pornography in Florida include the following:
Prohibition of child pornography. Just like in other states, it is illegal to create, distribute, possess, or view child pornography in Florida. This law includes any visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Sexual performance by a child. It is illegal to produce or promote any performance that includes sexual conduct by a minor. This charge includes any film, photograph, or other visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexual conduct.
Computer pornography. It is illegal to use a computer to solicit or lure a minor for sexual exploitation, including the production or distribution of child pornography.
Florida Sexual Cybercrimes Act. This law criminalizes using the internet or other electronic means to solicit, lure, or entice a minor for sexual purposes.
Aggravated child abuse. It is illegal to engage in sexual conduct with a minor under 12 or to cause great bodily harm or permanent disability to a minor.
Proving Child Pornography Charges
Proving child pornography charges can be complex, as it requires evidence that a defendant knowingly possessed, distributed, or produced visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. To prove child pornography charges, prosecutors must generally establish the following elements:
The defendant knowingly possessed, distributed, or produced a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. This requires evidence that the defendant had access to the visual depiction and knew or should have known that it depicted a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
The visual depiction was of an actual minor or appeared to be a minor. This requires evidence that the person depicted in the visual depiction was under 18 or that the depiction appeared to depict a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
The visual depiction was of sexually explicit conduct: This requires evidence that the visual depiction depicted sexual activity or simulated sexual activity.
The defendant had the requisite intent to possess, distribute, or produce child pornography. This requires evidence that the defendant knowingly and intentionally possessed, distributed, or produced the visual depiction.
To prove these elements, prosecutors may rely on various pieces of evidence, including computer records, internet search history, witness statements, and forensic analysis of digital devices. In some cases, law enforcement agencies may use undercover operations to catch individuals producing or distributing child pornography. At any stage of the process, it’s vital to reach out to a criminal defense attorney to help you understand these elements.
Possible Penalties for Child Pornography Charges
The penalties for child pornography charges can be severe, including lengthy prison sentences, steep fines, and sex offender registration. In general, the severity of the penalty will depend on various factors, including the nature of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, and the age of the victim depicted in the pornography.
In Florida, the possible penalties for child pornography charges may include the following:
Possession of child pornography. This charge is a third-degree felony, which carries a possible sentence of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Distribution of child pornography. This charge is a second-degree felony, which carries a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Production of child pornography. This charge is a first-degree felony, which carries a possible sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
In addition to these penalties, if you’re convicted of child pornography charges in Florida, you must register as a sex offender for a minimum of 25 years and may be subject to additional penalties, such as probation, community service, and court-ordered counseling.
Child Pornography Defense Attorneys in Ocala, Florida
No one should have to face such serious allegations alone. At Defend Ocala, we go the extra mile to protect the rights of every single client. No matter your specific circumstances, our attorneys are ready to help you move forward.