Being charged with child pornography in Pennsylvania can destroy your life. Child pornography charges can lead to long terms in prison, substantial fines, and mandatory registration as a sex offender. If you are convicted, you can face ongoing consequences even after you have completed your sentence.
Child pornography charges should always be taken seriously. As soon as you have been charged, you should talk to an experienced child pornography defense attorney at DiCindio Law. We can provide you with guidance to help you navigate through the court process while aggressively defending you against your charges.
Child Pornography Under State Law In Chester County, PA
In Pennsylvania, you can be charged with sexual abuse of children under 18 Pa.CS 6312.
This statute prohibits many different types of pornography involving children, including the following:
- Allowing a child under the age of 18 to engage in a sex act or simulated sex act on film, video, computer, or in photographs
- Photographing, videotaping, filming, or depicting on computers a child under the age of 18 engaging in a sex act or simulated sex act
- Distributing, selling, delivering, disseminating, displaying, sharing, or possessing videos, photographs, or computer depictions of a child under the age of 18 engaged in a sex act or simulated sex act
- Intentionally or knowingly viewing, possessing, or controlling a magazine, film, pamphlet, brochure, computer depiction, or another file in which a child under the age of 18 is engaging in a sex act or simulated sex act
It is not a defense to a child pornography charge for allowing a child to be filmed or for filming a child engaged in a sex act that you did not know the child’s age or that the child lied and told you that he or she was 18 or older.
Allowing a child to be filmed or filming a child engaging in a sex act or a simulated sex act is a second-degree felony. Disseminating, distributing, selling, or transferring videos or other depictions of children engaged in sex acts or intentionally or knowingly possessing or viewing these types of depictions is a third-degree felony. Second offenses can be increased by one degree.
If you are convicted of a second-degree felony child pornography offense, you will face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. If you are convicted of a third-degree felony child pornography offense, you will face up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. If the offense is charged as a first-degree felony and you are convicted, you will face a prison sentence of 20 years and a fine of $25,000.
Child Pornography Under Federal Law
Child pornography offenses can be charged under state or federal law. Since child pornography can be quickly sent over the internet across state lines, it is considered to be in interstate commerce, which makes it possible for prosecution under federal law. Several federal laws address child pornography and make sexually exploiting children, receiving or distributing pornography, or sending pornography from outside the U.S. to the nation illegal.
Federal sentencing for child pornography offenses is severe. The federal sentencing guidelines set mandatory minimums, and judges do not have the discretion to sentence people to less than the minimum sentences called for in the guidelines.
All of the following federal child pornography offenses have five-year mandatory minimum prison sentences:
- Receiving child pornography
- Distributing child pornography
- Possessing child pornography with the intent to sell or distribute
- Transporting child pornography
- Producing child pornography
Sex Offender Registration In Chester County, PA
If you are convicted under state or federal law, a child pornography offense will force you to register on the sex offender registry. Authorities maintain a sex offender database at both the state and federal levels. If you are convicted of child pornography, you will have to provide your information to the Pennsylvania State Police at least annually. Your information will be posted to the sex offender website.
Anyone can search this website and find your name, picture, address, and your offense. Landlords, employers, or other people who know you might check the sex offender registry and discover your registration. This can cause problems when you are looking for a place to live or a new job, and it also can cause problems in your personal relationships.
Pennsylvania looks at your prior record and the nature of your conviction when determining how long you will be required to register.
Sex offenses are divided into the following three tiers with different required registration periods:
- Tier III sex offenses – Registration required for 15 years
- Tier II sex offenses – Registration required for 25 years
- Tier I sex offenses – Registration required for your life
Your assigned tier will be based on the number of counts against you, the allegations, any previous convictions, and other factors.
Get Help From An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
Child pornography charges and sex offender registration can result in extreme consequences. When you are facing these types of charges, you should not try to defend yourself.
An experienced child pornography defense lawyer at DiCindio Law can help you to understand what you are facing and work to build the strongest possible defense case. While being charged with child pornography can be overwhelming, your charges do not necessarily mean that you will be convicted.
Contact us today to request a consultation by calling (610) 430-3535.