Child Pornography Defense Lawyers in Miami, Florida
Child pornography crimes are, unsurprisingly, aggressively prosecuted in Miami, Florida. Law enforcement authorities in Miami utilize all resources to arrest and prosecute suspected offenders who are alleged to have committed child pornography crimes. Because Miami and surrounding cities are densely populated, and therefore, there is a significant amount of criminal activity, including child pornography crimes, law enforcement officials will stop at nothing to convict offenders, even when the facts do not fully support the alleged crimes.
Child pornography crimes are awful, and some individuals spending time in jail may have committed such crimes and are deserving of a jail sentence. Minors under the age of eighteen who are depicted in a sexual manner deserve protection from sexual predators. However, an unfortunate reality of criminal matters – especially child pornography crimes – is that many innocent people will be charged with crimes they did not commit. Child pornography crimes have a very low threshold. As such, prosecutors do not need to prove as much when seeking a conviction for these crimes as opposed to other crimes that do not involve minors and sexual acts.
Prosecutors in Miami, Florida, at both the state and federal level will use even the slightest amount of evidence to convict a person of possessing child pornography. An accidental download to the wrong link is presumed to be elicit conduct that a person knowingly accessed. Because most child pornography crimes involve digital images and videos that are often found on the “dark web,” many technological influences can make a person seem guilty.
For example, if a person’s laptop was stolen or used by someone else, the presumption may be that the owner of the laptop is the offender. Moreover, if a person’s computer is hacked, and the hacker downloads child pornography, the owner of the computer may be presumed guilty, even though the standard is that all accused individuals are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
How the Miami Child Pornography Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Will Fight for Your Rights
At Musca Law, our Miami Child Pornography Defense Lawyers have extensive experience handling child pornography cases in both state and federal court. Allegations of child pornography crimes have endless consequences that go far beyond jail time, fines, and probation. As such, anyone facing child pornography charges must act swiftly to seek legal counsel. At Musca Law, we are available 24/7 to help clients in need. The initial part of a criminal matter is crucial as constitutional rights are on the line.
Musca Law knows what to expect from Miami prosecutors, and our attorneys have a good relationship with prosecutors and judges. When choosing a law firm, accused individuals should ensure they are hiring the right law firm to handle heavy crimes like child pornography charges. Musca Law provides the same high-quality legal representation to each client, placing the client’s rights and interests before anything else. With the help of Musca Law, individuals accused of child pornography crimes in Miami, Florida, have a strong team to fight against the prosecution in court.
Facing Child Pornography Criminal Charges in Miami, Florida
Child pornography includes numerous types of conduct that range in severity on a sliding scale from what a jury may consider being minor on one end to reprehensible and deserving of significant jail time on the other end. Under Florida Statute Section 847.001(3), child pornography is defined as “any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct.” Image means any photograph, video, or any other means of the depiction of a minor under the age of eighteen engaged in sexual conduct. Child pornography can lead to multiple crimes including, but not limited to, possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, producing or manufacturing child pornography, or exposing children to pornography.
The Possession of Child Pornography in Miami-Dade County, Florida
Child pornography charges often leave accused individuals feeling defeated before speaking with an attorney. Possession of child pornography in Miami can lead to serious consequences, including jail time, fines, probation, loss of some constitutional rights, and a permanent reputation of being a registered sex offender. As such, the quality of legal representation is essential when facing child pornography possession charges in Miami.
Under Florida law, Statute Section 827.071(4), 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.” Additionally, “possession, control, or intentional viewing of such photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, image, data, computer depiction, representation, or presentation is a separate offense.”
Possession can be either constructive or actual. Constructive possession means a person has dominion and control over an object that is not possessed physically. The person must have the ability to exercise control over the object, and prosecutors must prove that a person has such control of an object that is not in a physical form (such as a printed photograph). Actual possession is much easier to prove as it merely means a person has actual control over an object in physical form. For example, actual possession of a laptop containing images depicting child pornography may be considered actual rather than constructive possession.
If convicted of one charge of possession of child pornography in Miami under Florida law, he or she faces a third-degree felony, which can result in jail time of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000 for each offense. Multiple images will equate to multiple possession charges. As such, the criminal penalties will add up for each possession charge. Conviction of two charges could mean ten years in jail and a $10,000 fine. Repeated acts can lead to harsher felonies that could land a person in jail for fifteen or more years.
Federal Child Pornography Possession Charges in Miami, Florida
While crimes committed within the state of Florida are generally governed by state law, when conduct extends beyond the state of Florida, federal law applies. Crossing state lines triggers many federal statutes to apply to criminal conduct in any state. A person facing child pornography charges under Florida law may also face federal charges of possessing child pornography if such material was transmitted outside of the state of Florida. Such transmission can happen via the internet, regular mail (U.S. Mail, Federal Express, UPS, etc.), or any other means which may cause child pornography to leave the state of Florida. If convicted of possessing child pornography under federal law, a person faces up to fifteen years in federal prison.
Exposing Minors to Pornography in Miami, Florida
In Miami, Florida, additional crimes involving pornography and minors can land a person in jail. For example, the crime of exposure of pornographic material to minors under the age of eighteen years is a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida law. The pornographic material in question does not need to be child pornography to result in criminal charges. Any type of pornography, regardless of whether adults and/or minors are depicted, applies to the law. As such, a person who exposes pornography in any form and depicting any age faces up to one year in jail and a fine of $1000.
The Distribution/Promotion of Child Pornography in Miami, Florida
The distribution of child pornography under Florida law is a subset of conduct, generally known as the promotion of child pornography. Under Florida Statute Section 827.071(d), “promote” in the context of child pornography means “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.” The distribution or promotion of child porn under Florida law falls under the crime of “use of a child in a sexual performance.” Conviction of this crime results in a second-degree felony that can send a person to jail for up to ten years with the imposition of a fine not to exceed $10,000.
The Manufacture of Child Pornography in Miami, Florida
Manufacturing child pornography is a second-degree felony, which, like the distribution or promotion of child pornography, results in potential jail time of ten years and the imposition of a fine up to $10,000 for each separate offense. As such, a person accused of manufacturing multiple images depicting child pornography may face a jail sentence that combines each offense, adding up to decades in jail and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Miami Prosecutors Stop at Nothing to Seek the Maximum Allowable Sentence
Prosecutors in Miami have a job to do – convict individuals facing criminal charges, regardless of what those criminal charges may be. If facing state child pornography charges in Miami, a judge will use his or her discretion to sentence a convicted person per Florida statutes that provide a maximum sentence for each level of crime. If facing federal child pornography charges, the judge will use the federal sentencing guidelines to assess what he or she believes to be a fair sentence.
Both the prosecution and defense will submit to the judge what they believe to be a fair sentence given the facts of the case. Prosecutors undoubtedly seek the maximum jail time allowable under Florida law. In contrast, the defense team will seek less time and provide arguments for why a judge should not sentence the convicted person to maximum jail time.
Because judges have broad discretion when sentencing individuals to jail (among other criminal penalties such as fines and probation), there is always a chance that a convicted person will be sentenced to the maximum amount of time in jail for each image depicting child pornography, which could lead to decades in jail. A superior Miami Child Pornography Defense Lawyer will use his or her advocacy skills and expertise to convince the judge why the convicted person should not receive the harshest of sentences. The challenging nature of the sentencing process requires the assistance of a qualified Miami Child Pornography Defense Lawyer.
The Federal Prosecution of Child Pornography Charges in Miami, Florida
Most crimes that happen within the state of Florida are governed by Florida state law. Local and state law enforcement agencies will have jurisdiction over the prosecution of such crimes (such as local police, county prosecutors, and the Florida State Attorney’s Office). However, when federal law is implicated in an alleged crime, federal law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and federal prosecutors will be pursuing criminal charges.
Child pornography crimes can quickly become a matter of federal law, as most images depicting child pornography are either uploaded from the internet or downloaded. The instance an image is available on the internet, the material has now left the confines of Florida. That material has officially crossed state lines, which provides jurisdiction to the federal government to pursue federal criminal charges.
Federal prosecutors in Miami aggressively pursue child pornography cases. Like county and state prosecutors, federal prosecutors will seek to put a defendant in jail for the maximum time allowable under federal law. As such, choosing to work with a Miami Child Pornography Defense Lawyer is critical to the successful defense of serious federal child pornography criminal charges.
Defending a Child Pornography Case in Miami, Florida
Some criminal matters result in dismissal before a case goes to trial. This may happen if the prosecution does not have enough evidence to present before a jury and convict the accused person facing criminal charges. Other criminal matters may result in a plea deal if such a result is much more favorable than a potential conviction at trial. Plea deals are often reached when prosecutors have evidence that may lead to a conviction. Entering a plea of guilty to less severe charges and serving less jail time may be the best outcome an accused person can expect to achieve.
When an accused person does not wish to agree to a plea deal and pursues the case to trial, his or her legal team will present as many defenses as possible to demonstrate to a jury that the prosecution’s case is not strong enough to hold the accused person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Specific defenses that may be raised in child pornography cases include, among others, the following:
Child Erotica – This defense may be presented when the subject-matter depicted in the image is not child pornography, but rather is “child erotica.” When the images do not depict lewd or lascivious acts, the image does not meet the definition of child pornography under Florida law. The images may depict minors partially clothed and in sexually suggestive poses, but if no clear-cut sexual act is depicted, such an image cannot be considered child pornography.
Unknowing or Unwitting Possession – It is not uncommon for an accused person to accidentally download an image depicting child pornography. Many people have accidentally clicked on something online that was nefarious, and it is conceivable that a person may accidentally or unknowingly download something that meets the definition of child pornography under Florida law – whether such image is a photograph, video, or another medium. An accused person may present an affirmative defense if he or she can show the image depicting child pornography was quickly discovered and deleted. To present this defense, it is imperative to have a seasoned Miami Child Pornography Defense Attorney handle the matter – the stronger the attorney, the more likely a judge or jury will be convinced by a defendant’s argument.
The Images Contain Pictures of Adults – Not Minors – An image cannot be considered child pornography unless the subject(s) in the image are minors under the age of eighteen. Miami prosecutors must prove that an image does depict one or more minors. Evidence showing that the subject(s) in an image are adults (such as documentation or testimony from the subject(s)) proving the subject(s) are eighteen years of age or older may result in the dismissal of criminal charges or a verdict of “not guilty” at trial.
Constitutional Violations – Additional Defenses to Miami Child Pornography Charges
All individuals are afforded rights under the Constitution. When facing criminal charges – no matter what crime – law enforcement officials must act in accordance with the Constitution. A violation of any constitutional right may be grounds for dismissal of all criminal charges. Such constitutional violations happen frequently, and in some cases, it is simply a police officer’s sloppiness that can result in a constitutional violation. Examples of common constitutional violations that often lead to the dismissal of criminal charges include the following:
- Acquiring evidence illegally, such as entering an accused person’s home without a warrant or accessing an accused person’s email or social media account without a warrant or consent of the accused person; and
- A failure to read an accused person his or her Miranda rights at the time of the arrest.
Evidence obtained illegally may be very damning to an accused person. However, law enforcement officials cannot obtain such evidence without a warrant, and regardless of the content of the evidence, it must be dismissed at trial. To ensure defenses are correctly argued and presented before a court, any person facing child pornography charges needs to consult with the most experienced and reputable Miami Child Pornography Defense Lawyer he or she can find.
Contact the Miami Child Pornography Defense Attorneys of Musca Law Today
Your constitutional rights are on the line when facing child pornography charges. The sooner you act to speak with a Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer, the sooner your lawyer can determine what steps should be taken to protect your rights. Contact Musca Law today by calling (888) 484-5057 to schedule your free initial consultation.