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Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter



Download Our Free Guide

Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter





Oakland Child Pornography Lawyer

Child pornography is any materials that show or depict a minor engaging in or simulating sexual conduct. “Materials” can mean photographs, videos, software programs, and electronic images on a computer, even if not a hard copy. The definition of a “minor” is a male or female who is less than 18 years old. “Simulating” or “engaging in” sexual conduct has specific definitions which include intercourse, masturbation, and any kind of penetration of sexual organs. Any kind of exhibition of the genitals may appropriately charged as child pornography as well.

If you were charged with child pornography, you should not risk handling the case by yourself. A conviction could result in serious long-term consequences, but a dedicated defense attorney could help. Reach out to an Oakland child pornography lawyer to discuss your case.

Child Pornography Charges

In Oakland and throughout California, an individual can be charged with various acts involving child pornography including possessing, producing, selling, or distributing it. There are distinctions in the elements of those crimes as well as the potential punishment for the charges. Possession is simply possessing it and knowingly possessing it.

In California law, it is not against the law to view child pornography, but it is against the law to possess it. If a person comes upon it as a photograph in an art gallery or displayed on a screen as they are walking by, for example, he or she could not be charged with it, even though the item is pornography. A person has to possess it to be charged, meaning physically containing it in hard copy form or more commonly having it on a computer, even if he or she never prints it.

Sentencing and Penalties

The sentences for possession of child pornography could differ, depending on the circumstances. If someone has previous convictions for possessing child pornography, the sentence is going to be higher. There are also distinctions in the sentencing laws for people who have a certain number of images of child pornography or if the children depicted in the pornography are younger than 12 years old. These acts result in significantly higher punishments.

Distribution is much what it sounds like. It is the charge for somebody who is transporting it, duplicating it, and sending it out to others. They could be charged with distribution or with attempting to distribute child pornography. Those penalties are higher than possession. They may also vary significantly, depending on a number of factors, such as whether the person was intending to distribute the pornography for commercial benefit.

Distinguishing Aspects of Child Pornography Cases

Some distinguishing aspects of child pornography cases opposed to those of other sex crime cases are that there tends to be a clear evidentiary trail or chain of evidence. The source of the crime, the child pornography, is typically seized and preserved by law enforcement. Since the photos are hard copies or digital files on computers, there is evidence that may not exist in other sex crimes, such as rape.

There is also more active involvement by law enforcement in the investigation of child pornography. There are often sting operations in which police officers go undercover, whether in person to try to arrest people for possession or to try to give somebody an opportunity to possess child pornography. Oakland lawyers do not see the undercover law enforcement investigation as often in other sex crimes as they do with child pornography.

What if the Defendant is a Minor?

Child pornography cases differ if the defendant is also a minor in that they are handled in the juvenile court system. The juvenile court system is significantly different than the adult criminal court system. There are no rights to a jury trial, the possible punishments vary significantly from an adult probation equivalent to a state prison equivalent. Juvenile cases in which the defendant is under 18 are handled differently in terms of how they are prosecuted in the court system and the kind of penalties or punishments that could happen if there is a finding of guilt.

The terminology in juvenile cases is also different than adult cases. For example, there is no such thing as a trial, plea bargaining, or a conviction in a juvenile case. Rather there are settlements, admissions, and findings. Once the District Attorney’s Office files charges against the juvenile defendant, all of the charges must be included in a settlement. The District Attorney does not dismiss the charges nor determine the penalty; rather, if the two sides agree that the juvenile would admit the offense, the court determines the sentence.

Let an Oakland Child Pornography Attorney Be Your Advocate

Judges and prosecutors take sex crimes very seriously, and a child pornography conviction could have devastating legal and social consequences. If you were charged with child pornography, you should seek the services of an qualified sex crimes attorney as soon as possible. An Oakland child pornography lawyer could be a steadfast ally in your fight against these charges.

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Oakland Child Pornography Lawyer

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