Florida Child Pornography Attorney

Fight Your Charges with 150+ Years Collective Experience

In Florida, sex crimes are aggressively prosecuted. This is especially true in cases involving child pornography and any type of sex crimes involving children. Possessing materials that may be considered harmful against children is often criminalized harshly. Individuals who are facing these charges need to understand the nature of the charges and how they are able to establish an adequate defense against them. 

Musca Law is backed by over 150 years of combined legal experience. Let us fight to clear your name and protect your rights. Call (888) 484-5057 for a free case evaluation.

Individuals who are convicted of a child pornography charge in Florida can face extensive prison time and thousands of dollars in fines. In many cases, offenders are required to register as a sex offender. Individuals who face child pornography charges not only face criminal penalties, but they often face extreme social bias as well.

Sadly, there are many cases where individuals are wrongfully accused of these heinous crimes. This is not a charge that should ever be taken lightly. If you face child pornography charges, it is imperative for you to contact a Florida criminal defense lawyer who is well-versed in laws surrounding this matter.

Those accused of child pornography in Florida have a right to remain silent if they are interviewed, and they have a legal right to refuse consent for voluntary searches or seizures against them. Working with a skilled and knowledgeable defense attorney in Florida will ensure you understand the laws surrounding child pornography, your legal rights in the matter, and what you can do to protect yourself.  

Fighting Child Pornography Charges in Florida

Sex crimes involving children are aggressively prosecuted in Florida. These crimes trigger emotions, and State’s Attorneys will often seek the maximum possible sentence for defendant’s accused of these crimes. There a number of potential defenses against these charges, and anyone facing these accusations needs to understand what they are charged with and the serious consequences of conviction for child pornography. 

There are ways to defend against child pornography charges. The defenses available to an individual depend on the specific circumstances of the case. 

It is imperative that anyone charged with Child Pornography-related offenses speak to an experienced attorney. A conviction will mean lengthy prison sentences, hefty fines, and possibly, needing to register as a sex offender. Long after a prison term and probationary period end, those convicted of child pornography will face extreme social stigma that can impact many facets of their lives. 

In some circumstances, people are falsely accused of child pornography charges. These individuals should not assume that they will be treated fairly or that their innocence will be apparent once they have given their side of the story. A person facing such serious accusations still has rights under the law. An attorney can help ensure that the investigation and legal proceedings are carried out in a way that is fair and just. 

From the early stages of the investigation, the accused should understand their right to remain silent and to refuse to submit to searches of their property unless the police obtained a proper warrant.

A defendant can help improve their case by seeking counsel early on, thereby ensuring that their rights are respected and that they have the opportunity to develop the best strategy possible. 

Types of Child Pornography Crimes

There are multiple crimes in Florida that fall under the umbrella of Child Pornography. Depending on the circumstances and specific charges, the consequences of a conviction can vary a great deal. Defendants need to understand exactly what they are accused of so that they can effectively defend themselves. 

Exposing a Minor to Pornography: The crime of exposing a minor to pornography is defined in Florida State Statute 847.013. If the accused defendant knew that a video, image, exhibition, or movie contained pornographic material or representations, then intentionally exposed a minor to that material, he or she can face charges for a first-degree misdemeanor. 

The sentencing for this crime includes a one-year prison sentence and a $1,000 fine. The sentencing and fines increase dramatically when a person is considered a repeat offender. 

Possession of Child Pornography: Florida Statute 847.001(16) defines possession of child pornography as when a person downloads or has possession of contact depicting an individual under the age of eighteen engaged in behavior defined under the statute as sexual conduct. A conviction for possession of child pornography can lead to a prison term of up to five years. These individuals also face possible federal charges. In the event the suspect shared the images, the consequences increase to a possible fifteen-year sentence, as well as higher fines and other penalties as well. 

Distribution of Child Pornography: If an individual produced, dispersed, directed, or advertised images and/or videos of anyone under the age of eighteen engaged in sexual activity. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant knew that the images or videos depicted a minor, and yet chose to distribute them anyway. 

A conviction for distribution of child pornography comes with a sentence of up to fifteen years in prison. These individuals also must register as sex offenders once their prison term is complete. 

Transmission of Child Pornography: Transmission of child pornography is a crime that involves a person sending or delivering images, information, or data from one source to another through the use of electronic equipment, internet, or other devices. Each document, image, or video will be considered an additional charge. 

Transmission of Child pornography is a third-degree felony offense. Anyone convicted of this crime can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. After completing their sentence, these individuals will have to register as sex offenders. 

Manufacturing of Child Pornography: People suspected of directing or producing pornographic images, acts, or videos, or who solicit children for the production of these depictions, can face charges for Manufacturing of Child Pornography. Sentencing for this crime includes a maximum prison term of fifteen years and inclusion on the sex offender registry. 

Child Pornography Related Charges In Florida

In Florida, a person can be charged with a variety of crimes related to child pornography. Depending on the type of crime a person is charged with, the consequences can vary extensively. It is important to understand the specific charges you are facing in order to see what is at risk and what litigation strategy would be most effective given your circumstances.

Distribution of Child Pornography: A person can be convicted of child pornography if they directed, produced, advertised, or disbursed any videos or imagery of children engaging in sexual acts. The crime can also include videos or images depicting sexual activity being performed by someone under the age of 18. In these cases, it has to be proven that the accused knew that the person in the images or videos was a child and they distributed it regardless of that known fact.  

Individuals who are convicted of distribution of child pornography in Florida can face up to 15-years in prison and will be required to register as a sex offender upon release.

Exposing a Minor to Pornography: In Florida, a person can be convicted under Florida State Statute 847.013 if they knowingly expose a minor to pornography. This crime can include any act of exposing a minor to a video, movie, presentation, exhibition, or image that a person knew to be pornographic in nature and therefore would be harmful to the child. This crime includes the selling or renting of videos, movies, or images.

A person convicted of exposing a minor to pornography can be charged with a misdemeanor in the first degree, spend up to 1-year in prison, and pay up to $1,000 in fines. Repeat offenders can expect more harsh sentences and steeper fines.

Manufacturing of Child Pornography: A person can be charged with manufacturing of child pornography if they direct, solicit, and produce child pornographic images, videos, or live acts. 

Anyone charged with manufacturing of child pornography faces a maximum sentence of up to 15-years in prison and will be required to register as a sex offender. Additionally, those who are convicted of this crime will have restrictions on where they can live, work, and if they are able to be around children.

Possession of Child Pornography: An individual can be charged with possession of child pornography if they download or possess any content that depicts a minor child under the age of 18-years-old engaging in any type of sexual conduct as defined under Florida Statute 847.001(16).

Individuals who are convicted of this crime can face up to five years in prison and could receive federal charges as well. Individuals who share the material with others could face up to 15-years in prison and face an array of other negative consequences.

Transmission of Child Pornography: A person can be convicted of transmission of child pornography if they send or cause to be delivered any information, images, or data from one person or place to another through the use of any internet, electronic equipment, or device. Every single image, document, or video constitutes one single charge. Those charged with transmission of child pornography can face felony charges of the third degree, up to five years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and they may be required to register as a sex offender.

Child Pornography-Related Offenses 

A person charged with a Child Pornography crime may find themselves facing other criminal charges for related acts. Prosecutors take child sex crimes, and sex crimes in general, very seriously, and will try to find every possible charge to file against the suspect. The additional charges a person faces will depend on the facts particular to their case. Some charges often filed in conjunction with child pornography charges are:

  • Rape;
  • Statutory Rape;
  • Fondling of a minor;
  • Lewd behavior with a minor;
  • The sexual battery of a minor; or 
  • Other sex act crimes with a minor.

Children do not have the capacity to give consent to sexual acts under Florida law. Any person who engages in a sexual act with a child below the age of eighteen will face potential criminal charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to discuss the possible defenses to these charges. 

Charges For Child Pornography May Include Other Crimes

In some cases, individuals who receive charges related to child pornography may face other related charges as well. Additional charges are highly dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the initial charges against a defendant. Generally, individuals charged with child pornography often face additional charges related to:

  • Lewd behavior with a minor child
  • Rape or statutory rape of a minor
  • Sexual battery of a minor
  • Folding of a minor
  • Other sex acts with a minor

Any person who engages in a sexual act against or with a child under the age of 18 is considered to have committed a sex crime under Florida law. Legally, children are unable to give consent to sexual acts. Working with a reputable attorney will ensure you are able to launch an early defense against your charges in order to have the strongest case.

The Severe Penalties Those Convicted Of Child Pornography Face

Individuals who distribute child pornography over the internet, or through the mail, can face charges in the state of Florida as well as federal charges. Individuals convicted of child pornography on the state level can face:

  • Between 5 and 30 years in prison.
  • Life sentence of prison for repeat offenders.
  • Sex offender registration: Individuals convicted of child pornography could be forced to register on the National Sex Offender Registry as well as Florida’s own sex offender registry. In some cases, convicted individuals will have to register for life.
  • Difficulties finding employment: A lot of employers refrain from hiring individuals who have been convicted of child pornography.
  • Restrictions with children: Individuals convicted of child pornography may be restricted as to whether they are allowed around children, including their own.

The state of Florida, as well as federal agents, have a zero tolerance policy against those who commit sex crimes against children. Even one photograph or video can result in charges. Federal statutes allow sentencing enhancements if the prosecutor is able to prove that the child in the image is under the age of 12 years old or that they are either sadistic or masochistic in nature. These charges are extremely serious and failure to work with a reputable defense attorney in Florida can have grave consequences for those wrongfully accused.

Sentencing and Penalties

People convicted of Child Pornography will face criminal charges that vary depending on the specific set of facts. In general, the state level sentences will include:

  • A prison sentence ranging from five to thirty years;
  • Repeat offenders can face life sentences;
  • Required registration with the National Sex Offender Registry and the Florida State Registry;
  • Restrictions on their ability to be in the presence of children, which may include their own children;
  • Trouble obtaining employment because the registry is public, and many employers will refrain from hiring individuals listed on the registry.

Florida prosecutors will not tolerate any level of Child Pornography. Even if the individual has one image, this will be enough for the prosecutors to file charges. 

Steeper Fines And Penalties

In some cases, individuals can face harsher sentences than the mandatory minimums allowed under state law. These instances often include cases where individuals possess more than 4 images or videos of a child. Additionally, individuals can face aggravated possession of child pornography if certain criteria is present. This includes cases where images involve:

  • A child who is under the age of 5-years;
  • Sadomasochistic abuse of involving a child;
  • Sexual battery involving a child;
  • Sexual bestiality involving a child; or
  • Any movie with a child.

Individuals who are convicted of aggravated possession of child pornography receive the Level 6 assignment, which means the judge can sentence them to sex offender probation.

Federal Charges

When a suspect distributed images, videos, or files considered child pornography through the mail or over the internet, then he or she can also face federal charges. The federal statutes will allow prosecutors to enhance the sentences if the images are masochistic, sadistic or depict children under twelve years of age. 

Aggravated Charges and Enhanced Sentencing

Child Pornography charges include mandatory minimum sentencing, but in some instances, the sentence can be greatly increased. A common cause for the court to issue steeper sentences is that the individual has more than four videos or images qualifying as child pornography. 

  • The following circumstances can lead to aggravated charges and longer sentences:
  • Images including sadomasochistic abuse of a minor;
  • Images depicting sexual bestiality with a child;
  • any movie depicting sexual acts involving children;
  • Images depicting sexual battery of a child;
  • Images depicting children under the age of five.

If a person is convicted of aggravated charges for child pornography, the judge will be able to sentence the person to sex offender probation. 

Teen Sexting and Special Circumstances

In recent years, texting and teen ownership of smartphones have made sexting a common issue throughout high school-age kids. In many cases, these images are sent between teenage boyfriends and girlfriends or couples who are the same age. Interestingly, even if the parties involved are all underage, this will not excuse the crime. However, as most child pornography laws seem quite harsh under these circumstances, sexting is now defined as a separate criminal act. 

Sexting is defined as any time a person sends digital communications, including sexually explicit or nude images to other people. When consenting adults share such images, this is not considered a criminal act. When teenagers under eighteen engage in this behavior, the consequences can be serious because the images themselves are, by definition, child pornography.

In Florida, if a person under eighteen uses an electronic communication device or computer to distribute depictions of sexual conduct or nudity to another minor. Both the teen who sent the image and the teen who possesses the image can face criminal charges. 

A person who received the image without requesting it can avoid prosecution by reporting the incident to a teacher, parent, law enforcement official, or school official. If the teen shared the image prior to reporting it to a responsible adult, then this defense might not be available. 

In some instances, the violation might not be considered a crime. The criminal act can range from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, depending on the specific facts of the case. Multiple offenses or repeat offenders will face more severe penalties. 

Defenses Against Child Pornography

Individuals who are wrongfully accused of child pornography can employ an array of legal defenses to prove they have not engaged in such behaviors. When a person is wrongfully accused of engaging in a Child Pornography-Related crime, there are a number of possible defenses. Defendants may challenge the factual allegations against them in effort to have the charges dismissed. Some of the most common defenses applied in cases involving possession of child pornography include:

Adult Depiction: A defense to child pornography is that the images in questions are of individuals who are, in fact, over the age of 18-years, even if they appear to be under age.

Child Erotica: When it comes to child pornography, there are some key ways to distinguish the content from child erotica. Child erotica is material that depicts young children as sexual objects or in sexually suggestive ways but is generally not sufficiently lascivious to meet the legal definition of sexually explicit conduct under Florida law. This defense is applicable when the material in question is that which depicts child erotica and not pornography.

Transitory Possession: In order for a person to be charged with possession of child pornography, the accused must either knowingly possess or intentionally view child pornography. In some cases, individuals are sent images of child pornography unwittingly. In these cases, individuals usually immediately delete the images once they realize what they are of. In these cases, individuals do not intentionally view the images and are unaware that the file left a thumbnail image or cache image on their computer or device. Transitory possession under these circumstances would be an adequate defense.

Illegal Search And Seizure: Individuals who have child pornography generally obtain it through the use of electronic devices. Law enforcement agencies often discover the possession of these files through the search and seizure of computers, mobile devices, or other property. Law enforcement agencies are generally required to have a warrant before they are able to search and seize the devices. If they did not obtain the warrant legally, or there was no warrant issued for law enforcement to take or search the property, a criminal defense attorney may be able to challenge the legality of the search and seizure in its entirety. 

Unknowing Possession: In some cases, individuals may have acquired child pornography without even knowing it. There are situations in which individuals have a computer virus or a hacker installed the files on the defendant’s computer or device. In some cases, it may be difficult to determine if a person actually knew about the files. 

Good Faith Destruction Or Reporting: There are some cases where the accused can fight federal charges. These cases generally require a person to make a good faith effort to delete the images or report them to law enforcement. In these cases, the person accused must have three images or less in their possession.

Substantial Assistance: Individuals can claim the defense of substantial assistance in cases where they provide substantial assistance to identify, arrest, or convict another person who is involved in a child pornography case. The prosecutor is authorized to suspend or reduce a person’s conviction of possession of child pornography in these cases. 

Anyone facing child pornography charges should contact a skilled and reputable child pornography defense attorney in Florida as soon as possible.

Some of the frequently used defenses include:

Child Erotica: Not every image depicting naked underage individuals will be categorized as pornography. Images considered child erotica are not necessarily lascivious enough to qualify as pornographic based on Florida law. These images may depict children in sexually suggestive ways meaning that it is sometimes whether the image qualifies or not will be up for debate. An attorney will know whether the images in question this defense would be suitable for a given situation. 

Transitory Possession: To be convicted of child pornography, a person must either knowingly possess the material or intentionally view the images. There are cases where a person receives these images even though they did not request or want such content. These people often immediately delete the images. People might not realize that while they deleted the image, it remained in their cache on their device or computer, or it left a thumbnail image. In these cases, defendants may argue they had transitory possession of the images. 

Unknowing Possession: Similar to the above defense, there are cases where a person’s computer might become infected with a virus leading to a hacker installing the files on the defendant’s computer. The defendant may argue that they had no knowledge that the images existed on their computer at all. 

Substantial Assistance: Some defendants will provide police and investigators with substantial assistance in the investigation of, arrest, identification of conviction of another person who engaged in the crime of child pornography. In these scenarios, the person who provided such assistance may be able to argue for a reduced sentence of a suspended sentence in exchange for the valuable information that he or she provided to the authorities. 

Good Faith Reporting or Destruction: If a person has no more than three images in their possession, and make a good faith effort to get rid of those images, to destroy them or to report them to the authorities, then that person will be able to defend against the charges. Anyone with four or more images will not be able to use this defense. 

Adult Depiction: This defense is used when the images might appear to include an underage person, but when all individuals depicted are at least eighteen years old. 

Illegal Evidence Collection: When police investigate persons suspected of engaging in Child Pornography, the investigation typically must involve the search or seizure of the suspect’s computer or other technological devices. In order to find the illegal images, file or videos, the police must have access to the suspect’s personal items. Police are not able to search a person’s belongings without either consent from the individual, or a valid search warrant. If the investigation violated the rights of the accused, then the evidence collected as part of that illegal search may be thrown out of the investigation and trial. This can severely damage the prosecution’s case. 

Recent Crack Downs on Child Pornography

Over the past few years, law enforcement officers appear to be focusing heavily on prosecuting criminal sex offenders, especially those engaged in child-related sex crimes. A number of undercover operations in Florida and across the country indicate that these crimes are on the radar of both state and federal investigators. 

One recent month long investigation in Florida made national headlines. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports that they charged seventeen individuals, all men, with Child Pornography-related crimes. The suspects include a former school principal and two current Disney employees. In at least one of the cases, the suspect allegedly attempted to arrange a sexual encounter over Facebook Messenger with a thirteen-year-old girl. Police arrested the man at the proposed rendezvous location. 

The age of the perpetrators ranged from nineteen to seventy-seven. Some of the individuals are facing hundreds of charges. 

Police focused this operation on computer-based criminal conduct, and it involved undercover detectives who worked to locate and identify the numerous suspects. 

The high-profile investigation is indicative of the zero-tolerance approach law enforcement officers are taking to find, locate, and prosecute anyone engaged in child-related sex crimes. 

In some instances, Florida law enforcement officers have faced criticism for their aggressive sting-style investigations into possible child predators. Some of these operations follow the style of the NBC Dateline twelve-part series “To Catch a Predator.” The popular series involved operations targeting adults who were attempting to arrange meetings with children through internet chat rooms. The series ended in 2007 following the suicide of one of the men investigated on the show. Critics claim investigators push individuals who were not actively seeking sexual encounters with minors rather than seeking the individuals who are posing a greater threat.

Officers argue that they are going to arrest anyone who uses social media and the internet to prey on young children. While it is important to protect children from predators, the efforts leave room for individuals to be wrongfully accused. 

The recent arrests indicate that the state investigators are not slowing down in their efforts. Anyone accused should immediately speak to an attorney to ensure that their legal rights are preserved throughout any investigation and trial.

Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help

Child Pornography charges are serious and carry life-altering impacts including prison, probation, fines and required sex offender registration. The social consequences of being labeled a sex offender can stay with a person for their entire lives, leading to isolation and an inability to find gainful employment. No one should take these charges lightly by not retaining an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney. 

Unfortunately, there are plenty of ways in which a person may find themselves wrongfully accused of one of these crimes. 

Defending against Child Pornography charges is complicated and requires defense counsel with ample experience. The best defense strategy will be dependent on the facts specific to the case, including the way that the police carried out the initial investigation. Attorneys who focus on defending people accused of Child Pornography charges will be best suited to provide suspects with advice and to work with them to build the best possible defense. 

Florida Child Pornography Attorney

Being convicted of child pornography in Florida can result in extensive prison time for both state and federal violations. Individuals who are convicted of these crimes not only face legal repercussions but often face an array of negative social consequences as well. Those charged with these crimes can benefit greatly by contacting a reputable child pornography attorney in Florida to fight to protect their legal rights.

Unfortunately, there are many times when innocent individuals are wrongfully accused with possession of child pornography. For example, maybe you visited a website that had malware installed, or someone who accessed your computer to look at porn may have downloaded it onto your computer. In any case, it is imperative for you to contact a highly skilled and experienced Florida child pornography attorney to work on your case.

With over 150-year of combined legal experience, attorneys at Musca Law have helped countless individuals fight accusations against them. Our knowledgeable attorneys closely examine each case and build a strong defense to help their clients get their charges reduced or dismissed.

Working with our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys will ensure you stand a chance at achieving a favorable outcome for your case. Contact our law firm today at (888) 484-5057 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation to see how we can help you defend yourself and your rights.

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