We live in an age of technology where most of our communication now occurs electronically through social media and messaging applications. It can be hard to know who people really are beyond the online persona that they have created. When online, a person can be whoever they want to be, and people often misrepresent their true identities and ages.
Smartphones and social media make it easier than ever to upload and access images of suggestive nature. It is becoming more normal for youngsters to post pictures or videos of themselves online without parental oversight and without indicating their true age. At times, these images contain sexually explicit activity and can be leaked into the infinite abyss of the Internet for all to see.
This can create a dangerous trap for adults who are seeking adult entertainment on the web, and the repercussions can be dire and unsympathetic to innocent motives.
Websites are increasingly becoming riddled with aggressive pop ups and ads that contain minors engaging in sexual activity. With the swift click of a button, a well-meaning adult comes face to face with prison.
A Federal Offense
Under federal law, it is illegal to produce, distribute, receive or possess any sexually explicit images of a person under the age of 18. Just having nude pictures of a minor can constitute a child pornography offense regardless of whether the state allows younger ages of consent for sexual activity.
The consequences of child pornography are severe, and simply accessing such images with the intent to view them can land a defendant a minimum of 5 years in prison. In addition to prison time, a defendant may also be required to register as a sex offender, pay steep fines, and live under supervision upon release.
A defendant may also be convicted under state law. In Florida, knowingly producing, transmitting or possessing child pornography is a third degree felony, and is also punishable by imprisonment, fines, and supervised release.
For example, a Florida District Court judge recently sentenced a man to 16 years and 8 months in federal prison for transporting child pornography over the Internet. In addition to his prison sentence, the judge ordered 20 years of supervised release and registration as a sex offender.
The demoralizing effects of these consequences that befall a defendant are absolutely intended. However, there are potential defenses that can ease the punishment.
The first defense is if the defendant possessed very few – three or fewer – visual depictions constituting child pornography.
The second defense is if the defendant, upon realizing the age of the minor, quickly and in good faith destroyed the content or reported the depiction to law enforcement.
At Moses & Rooth, our sex crime defense attorneys empathize with the fact that harsh stigmas descend upon those accused of child pornography. Our legal professionals will navigate through the law to ensure that the best defense is provided.
We understand that not all defendants are criminals and not all defendants deserve such severe penalties. If you are facing conviction of child pornography in Florida, contact our Orlando office today.