Child Pornography Defense Lawyers in Melbourne, Florida
Any person who has been charged with crimes related to child pornography in Melbourne, Florida, can tell you that law enforcement officials – whether police officers, detectives, or prosecutors – will aggressively seek an arrest and conviction. While some alleged offenders may be guilty, many are not.
When facing child pornography charges (i.e., any crime that involves the depiction of minors in a sexual manner), many people presume the alleged offenders to be guilty even before hearing the facts of the case. There is no question that child pornography is heinous and endangers innocent children under the age of eighteen. However, this does not mean that accused individuals should be treated as criminals before they even have a chance to defend themselves in a court of law.
Protecting children is essential, and Florida’s laws regarding child pornography seek to achieve this end. But, the standard for finding someone guilty of a child pornography crime is rather low, which means that many innocent individuals will be both accused and convicted of crimes they did not commit. Many prosecutors in Melbourne, Florida prosecutors have the goal of seeking a conviction regardless of the facts of the case. Charging and convicting individuals with crimes is simply a part of their job.
A superior Melbourne Child Pornography Defense Lawyer will see through a prosecutor’s case, poking holes and presenting evidence that will show the accused person cannot be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt. Because child pornography crimes are felonies that carry significant consequences, any person accused of such crimes must act quickly to speak with a highly skilled Melbourne Child Pornography Defense Attorney.
How the Melbourne, Florida Child Pornography Defense Attorneys of Musca Law Can Fight for You
Musca Law is a well-known criminal defense law firm serving clients throughout the entire state of Florida. Our law firm has a strong team of attorneys and other legal professionals that know every aspect of criminal law in Florida. Our attorneys devote their entire practice to representing the rights of individuals accused of committing crimes in the state of Florida. Regardless of how serious the crime is, the Melbourne Criminal Defense Attorneys of Musca Law are ready to take on the prosecution. Child pornography charges are examples of severe charges that mandate the assistance of a reputable and superior Melbourne, Florida Child Pornography Defense Lawyer.
Musca Law has proven results and has helped thousands of clients overcome difficult criminal situations. Because the consequences of being convicted of child pornography crimes are catastrophic, working alongside Musca Law provides accused individuals with advocates who will vigorously defend them against tough Melbourne prosecutors.
Child Pornography Crimes in Melbourne, Florida
Conduct involving child pornography involves numerous criminal offenses under both Florida state law as well as federal law, depending on the unique facts of each case. Florida law, pursuant to Statute Section 847.001(3), is defined as “any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct.” Images for purposes of the statute means any photographs, videos, or any other means of depicting a minor under the age of eighteen in a sexual manner.
Child pornography is the subject of multiple crimes under Florida law and federal law. Such crimes include, but may not be limited to, possession of child pornography, the production or manufacture of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, and exposing pornography to minor children under the age of eighteen.
Facing Possession of Child Pornography Criminal Charges in Melbourne, Florida
The possession of child pornography under Florida law is frequently charged in most cases involving child pornography. After all, a person cannot be charged with distributing or producing child pornography without first possessing child pornography. Melbourne prosecutors routinely seek to hold defendants accountable to the fullest extent under Florida law. A strong Melbourne Child Pornography Defense Lawyer is essential to a successful defense at trial.
Florida Statute Section 827.071(4) states that it is unlawful for a person to “knowingly possess, control, or intentionally view a photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, image, data, computer depiction, or other presentation which, in whole or in part, he or she knows to include any sexual conduct by a child.” Moreover, “possession, control, or intentional viewing of such photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, image, data, computer depiction, representation, or presentation is a separate offense.”
A person can possess child pornography in two ways – constructive or actual. With construction possession, Melbourne prosecutors must prove that a person could exercise dominion and control over an object, even if possession of the object was not in physical form (such as data accessed via the internet). Actual possession, on the other hand, is merely having control of an object in physical form (such as a CD containing child pornography videos).
A person who is convicted of possessing child pornography in Melbourne will face a third-degree felony, which can lead to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Such criminal penalties are assessed for each image. As such, if a person possesses two or more images of child pornography in any form, that person faces multiple third-degree felonies, and therefore, additional time in jail and heftier fines, not to mention long-term probation and mandatory registration as a sexual offender.
Federal Prosecution of Child Pornography Possession Charges in Melbourne, Florida
Depending on the unique facts of a child pornography case, an accused person may face not only state criminal charges but also charges under federal law. This may happen if the person who allegedly possessed child pornography caused that child pornography to leave the state of Florida via the internet, regular mail (such as U.S. Mail, Federal Express, UPS, etc.). By leaving the state of Florida, the conduct at issue becomes a question of federal law. A Melbourne child pornography possession charge prosecuted under federal law can result in jail time of up to fifteen years.
The Exposure of Pornography to Minor Children in Melbourne, Florida
Child-related pornography crimes do not only involve the depiction of child pornography. A person may face criminal charges involving the exposure of pornographic material to a minor under the age of eighteen, whether such pornographic material involves minors or adults. Under Florida law, a person convicted of exposing pornography to a child faces a first-degree misdemeanor, which results in jail time of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. Additionally, the convicted individual must register as a sexual offender, a label that can make a person’s life extremely difficult in many ways.
Distribution or Promotion of Child Pornography in Melbourne, Florida
The promotion or distribution of child pornography by any means is considered a very serious crime under Florida state law as well as under federal law. Florida Statute Section 827.071(d) defines promote as the following: to “procure, manufacture, issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, transfer, transmute, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise or to offer or agree to do the same.” If a person is alleged to have promoted or distributed child pornography in Melbourne, Florida, he or she will face the crime of “use of a child in a sexual performance.” If convicted, the person faces a second-degree felony, landing him or her in jail for up to ten years and facing a fine of up to $10,000.
Manufacturing Child Pornography in Melbourne, Florida
Under Florida law, a person who creates or produces child pornography may be charged with manufacturing child pornography which can result in the conviction of a second-degree felony. A convicted person faces up to ten years in jail and the imposition of a fine not to exceed $10,000. Like other child pornography crimes, one image may be considered one crime. As such, the greater the number of images, the harsher the criminal penalties will likely be.
The Melbourne Prosecuting Team Will Seek Steep Penalties
Facing a criminal conviction, whether such conviction is secured by a plead of guilty or a jury verdict, is severe and consequential enough. However, the sentencing stage can be an even scarier moment for the convicted person. Judges in Melbourne have substantial discretion when sentencing accused individuals for committing crimes related to child pornography.
While judges should always look at the big picture and the severity of the conduct in question, some judges may read Florida law strictly and impose the same harsh sentence for each alleged crime. For example, if a person is convicted of five counts of possession of child pornography in Melbourne, a judge may decide that he or she deserves a jail sentence of twenty-five years, which would be five years for each image. A monetary fine of $25,000 may also be imposed, which would be $5,000 for each alleged offense.
The worst-case scenario for a person is when he or she is convicted of possessing more than one hundred images considered to be child pornography. While it is unlikely a person will receive a jail sentence of more than one hundred years, a judge still has the discretion, and therefore, the power, to impose a jail sentence that is equal to five times the total number of pornographic images found in the accused person’s possession. If a judge sentences a person to more than one hundred years in prison, the convicted individual has likely committed multiple acts that are heinous enough to warrant such a long jail sentence. However, this is not always the case.
Judges should consider a variety of factors when sentencing individuals convicted of crimes involving child pornography. Such factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The convicted individual’s criminal history (i.e., whether he or she had previously been charged or convicted of any other crime, whether such crime involves child pornography);
- The severity of the crime (a crime involving a five-year-old child, for example, could be more severe than a crime involving a seventeen-year-old minor, at least in the eyes of a judge for purposes of sentencing);
- The likelihood of the convicted individual’s rehabilitation after serving jail time; and
- The likelihood that the convicted individual will become a repeat offender after being released from jail and completing a long probationary period.
Because of the uncertain nature of sentencing, having a zealous and seasoned Melbourne Child Pornography Defense Lawyer handle a criminal matter from the start is essential to reaching a result that fits the conduct at issue.
Prosecuting Federal Child Pornography Charges in Melbourne, Florida
Federal law tends to rear its head when any crime crosses over state lines and becomes a matter of federal concern. Child pornography is notoriously transmitted “across state lines,” as most child pornography is available for dissemination on the internet. The instance an image depicting child pornography is available on the internet, the image is accessible by people from outside the state of Florida.
As such, federal authorities take action by charging individuals with crimes involving child pornography at any time when child pornography is transmitted via the internet, via mailings (U.S. Mail, UPS, Federal Express, etc.), or by any other method to cause child pornography to travel outside the state of Florida. If convicted of federal child pornography charges, the consequences may be much harsher than they are for state-level crimes.
Federal judges, like Florida state court judges, have wide discretion when carrying out sentences of convicted individuals. Depending on the severity of the federal child pornography charges, a convicted person could be facing decades in a federal penitentiary. Because of how severe the consequences can be for conviction of child pornography crimes both at the state and federal level, it cannot be stressed enough how imperative it is to work with the best Melbourne Child Pornography Defense Lawyer you can find. Musca Law employs numerous attorneys at this heightened caliber.
Defending Against Child Pornography Charges in Brevard County, Florida
Anyone charged with committing a crime deserves to have an attorney who will defend the person’s rights and interests in court. A person’s defense can make or break a case, and only a highly qualified Melbourne Child Pornography Defense Attorney knows what to expect from prosecutors. A solid defense relies on an extensive review of all facts concerning a state or federal prosecution’s case. An attorney who fails to catch crucial facts that refute the child pornography charges is doing his or her client a disservice. To ensure an attorney leaves no stone unturned, working with attorneys who routinely handle severe child pornography cases is the right decision to make when facing prosecutors.
Attorneys for the accused persons can present defenses that may result in the dismissal of child pornography charges or may result in a verdict of “not guilty.” Defenses can be a person’s lifeline if successfully presented in court to take the steam out of the prosecution’s case. Examples of a few defenses available when facing child pornography crimes under Florida state law and/or federal law, include the following:
Child Erotica – The defense of child erotica is when the accused person argues to a judge or jury that the content allegedly depicting child pornography does not meet the definition of child pornography under Florida law. While the images at issue may depict partially clothed minors in a suggestively sexual manner, if there is no lewd or lascivious act being committed, the image may not meet the threshold required to be considered child pornography.
Unknowing or Unwitting Possession – A common defense presented to child pornography possession charges is that the accused person was unknowingly or unwittingly in possession of child pornography. The prosecution must prove the accused person knowingly and intentionally possessed child pornography. If the accused person can present evidence, such as proof of immediately deleting a mistakenly downloaded image or video of child pornography, he or she may present an affirmative defense to the crime of possessing child pornography. However, no defense is a good defense without the right attorney, even if enough evidence exists to destroy the prosecution’s case.
The Images at Issue Depict Adults, Not Children – The threshold matter a Melbourne prosecutor must prove to a jury is that the person(s) depicted in an image alleged to be pornographic in nature is a minor under the age of eighteen. If the accused person presents evidence revealing the person(s) depicted in the allegedly pornographic image is an adult, grounds may exist to dismiss criminal charges.
Constitutional Violations May Lead to the Dismissal of Melbourne Child Pornography Charges
Constitutional violations happen much more frequently than many people may realize. One small mistake on the part of a Melbourne, Florida or federal law enforcement officer can lead to the dismissal of criminal charges against a person. Examples of constitutional violations include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Illegally obtaining evidence (such as without a warrant) to justify and support criminal charges; and
- Failing to read a person his or her Miranda rights upon arrest.
Even if evidence or statements are obtained by an accused person that may support child pornography criminal charges, such evidence and statements are inadmissible when they are obtained illegally in violation of a person’s constitutional rights. It takes the advocacy skills of a superior Melbourne Child Pornography Defense Lawyer to determine if, and in what ways, the prosecution’s team may have violated an accused individual’s rights.
Melbourne Child Pornography Defense Attorneys – Fighting for Your Rights
If you are facing child pornography charges in Melbourne, act quickly to speak with the Melbourne Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law today. To schedule your free consultation, call Musca Law toll-free 24/7 at (888) 484-5057. Given that your constitutional rights are on the line, you do not want to waste time when facing serious criminal charges.