Criminal offenses that fall under the category of “sex crimes” typically involve unlawful sexual conduct by one person towards another person, and laws prohibiting sex crimes in Orange County include various types of crimes against minors, or children under the age of 18, including child pornography. Hiring an experienced child pornography lawyer can ensure you protect your rights and your future.
Child pornography crimes are punished harshly in Orange County and the possible penalties for a child pornography conviction may include lifetime sex offender registration, a prison sentence of up to eight years, and up to $100,000 in fines, among other serious consequences.
If you have been accused of a sex crime involving child pornography in Orange County or the surrounding counties, you will want to seek legal counsel as soon as possible, to ensure that your legal rights are protected and to fight the charges against you.
Contact our child pornography defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group today to find out how best to defend yourself against charges involving the possession, production, sale, or distribution of child pornography.
ORANGE COUNTY CHILD PORNOGRAPHY LAWYER
At Seyb Law Group, we know that there are many different factors that go into crafting a successful defense in any criminal case, including patience, passion, experience, and a clear understanding of the client’s individual needs. With this in mind, we strive to offer you the personalized attention your child pornography case deserves.
We know that, when it comes to your freedom and your future, there is no substitute for skill and years of criminal defense experience, and if you hire our firm, we will put every resource we have to work for you.
With our knowledgeable and affordable Orange County criminal defense attorneys on your side, you can ensure that you understand the potential ramifications of the child pornography charges against you and work to get the best possible outcome in your criminal case.
Consult our lawyers today for a free evaluation of your Orange County child pornography charges.
CHILD PORNOGRAPHY LAWS
There are laws in place in Orange County that protect children from exploitation in pornographic materials and these laws make it illegal to knowingly possess, produce, distribute, sell, advertise or transport pornographic materials that involve or depict minors.
According to the law, “child pornography” is defined as any images, videos, computer files, data, etc., depicting anyone under the age of 18 engaged in a sexual act, whether the act is real or simulated. And “sexual acts” can include anything from masturbation to sexual intercourse, oral copulation, or “an exhibition of the genital area for the purposes of sexual gratification.”
There are two important exceptions to this rule: minors who are legally emancipated aren’t covered under child pornography laws and neither are consensual sexual acts between married individuals under the age of 18. In other words, if a 19-year-old and his 17-year-old spouse video themselves engaging in a sexual act, this would not be considered pornography for the purposes of Orange County child pornography law.
While state law does not specifically criminalize the viewing of pornographic materials depicting minors, it does make it illegal to “possess” or “control” these types of materials.
This includes downloading, saving, sharing, emailing, or otherwise distributing child pornography. Some examples of situations where child pornography charges could be brought include the following:
- The owner of a photo shop makes prints of child pornography and mails them to customers
- A high school student films a sexual encounter with another underage student and saves the video on his phone
- A teenager is hired by his neighbor to recruit underage classmates to appear in amateur pornography videos but isn’t involved in the production of the videos.
California Child Pornography Penal Code § 311 PC
California Penal Code § 311 PC is the law prohibiting child pornography in Orange County and this law covers all manner of activity involving the depiction of minors in pornographic material, including the following:
- Knowingly advertising obscene child pornography for sale or distribution
- Knowingly possessing or controlling any child pornography that involves or depicts a child under the age of 18
- Knowingly sending, transporting, producing, possessing or duplicating child pornography with the intent to distribute
- Sexual exploitation of a child
- Knowingly hiring, employing, using, persuading or coercing a minor to participate in the production of child pornography
Other sex crimes involving children that are related to, but separate from, the crime of child pornography include child molestation, or sexual abuse of a minor (PC § 288) and statutory rape, or sex with a minor (PC § 261.5).
CHILD PORNOGRAPHY PENALTIES
The potential penalties associated with a child pornography conviction vary depending on the nature of the crime, meaning whether the defendant possessed, distributed, produced, or sold the pornographic materials.
Under PC § 311, child pornography can be a felony or a “wobbler” offense, which means it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the circumstances of the case, including whether the pornographic material is “obscene,” and whether the defendant attempted to trade the material commercially and/or show it to someone under the age of 18.
The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor child pornography conviction in Orange County is up to one year in county jail and/or up-to $2,000 in fines.
Possession of child pornography
Generally speaking, possession of child pornography is a felony offense carrying a potential penalty of up to one year in county jail and/or up-to $2,500 in fines, plus mandatory sex offender registration.
However, this punishment becomes significantly more severe for repeat sex offenders. If you are convicted of child pornography possession and you have a previous sex crime conviction on your record, you could be sentenced to state prison for two, four, or six years.
Distributing or transporting child pornography
For the crime of distributing child pornography or transporting pornographic materials depicting minors into the state of California, the penalty may include up to one year in county jail or state prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
If you are convicted on charges of child pornography distribution or transport and you have a previous conviction on a similar charge, you could be fined up to $50,000 as a repeat sex offender.
Child pornography for commercial gain
Orange County law imposes even harsher penalties for defendants who participate in the industry of child pornography for commercial benefit. If you are convicted of advertising, distributing, or transporting child pornography for commercial gain, you could be sentenced to state prison for a term of two, three, or six years and/or fined anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000 for the crime.
Child pornography involving coercion
If you are found guilty of hiring or coercing a minor to participate in child pornography, you could receive an enhanced felony sentence of up to three, six, or eight years in state prison.
Orange County Sex Offender Registration Requirements
Most sex crimes in Orange County require that the defendant register as a sex offender for a period of time with the local authorities upon being convicted of the crime.
The same is true for any child pornography crime in Orange County, though these crimes typically require lifetime registration as a “Tier Three” sex offender, which means you will have to report your location and other information to law enforcement officials for the rest of your life.
Not only can lifetime sex offender registration ruin your reputation and adversely affect your ability to find work and housing, but it also puts you in the same category as individuals convicted of rape and child molestation. In some cases, defendants convicted of child pornography in Orange County may be released from their sex offender registration obligation after obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation from the state.
ORANGE COUNTY CHILD PORNOGRAPHY DEFENSE
Sex crimes like child pornography are some of the most serious criminal offenses you can be accused of committing in Orange County. Because of their perceived abusive and coercive nature, sex crimes like child pornography are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and it takes the expertise of a skilled criminal defense attorney to help you combat such charges.
In order to find you guilty of a child pornography crime, the prosecution will have to show that you “knowingly” participated in the possession, production, sale, or distribution of pornographic materials involving or depicting minors under the age of 18. In other words, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following elements of the crime of child pornography:
- That you possessed an image or video, in any media format, depicting sexual conduct, simulated or actual, of a minor under the age of 18,
- Knew that you possessed the image or video, and
- Knew that the image or video depicted the minor engaging in or simulating sexual conduct.
Best Defense Strategies in Orange County Child Pornography Cases
There are many different situations in which you could be accused of possessing or distributing child pornography, especially with the wide availability of pornographic materials on the Internet.
However, there are just as many possible defenses you can use to fight Orange County child pornography charges. Some common child pornography defenses your criminal defense attorney can raise on your behalf to argue your innocence include the following:
- You didn’t know the subject of the pornography was a minor
- You conducted the alleged pornographic activity for a scientific or educational purpose
- The minor in question was legally emancipated at the time the alleged child pornography was produced
- The prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove possession
- Your confession was coerced
- You mistyped a search term
- You downloaded a file with malware that downloaded child pornography onto your computer
- You clicked on the wrong link
- The pornographic material was obtained during an illegal search and seizure
- You were the victim of entrapment
In any of these situations, your attorney could argue that your exposure to child pornography was not illegal because you didn’t knowingly and intentionally seek it out.
HOW HIRING A CHILD PORNOGRAPHY DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAN HELP
When you are facing child pornography charges, it is imperative that you understand your legal rights because there are plenty of people, even people you know, who will hear the term “child pornography” and automatically assume your guilt.
For instance, you should know that you have the right to remain silent and avoid making any statements to the police until you retain an Orange County child pornography defense attorney.
Make no mistake, the police are not on your side, no matter what they say to try to get you to talk. It is their job to gather evidence of your alleged guilt and if your case goes to trial, it will be the main objective of the prosecution to get a conviction and send you to jail. If you are convicted of the crime of child pornography, you could face devastating consequences that can follow you for the rest of your life.
In addition to a possible jail or prison sentence, you could also suffer a loss of professional licensing and a loss of certain civil rights (including the right to own or possess a firearm), and you could have a restraining order or criminal protective order filed against you.
CONTACT OUR CHILD PORNOGRAPHY DEFENSE ATTORNEYS TODAY
Every child pornography case is different and with the wide-reaching laws surrounding child pornography crimes in Orange County, you could end up being charged with child pornography without even realizing you were committing a crime.
No one should be accused or convicted of a crime they didn’t commit, especially a serious sex crime like child pornography that carries harsh, long-lasting penalties.
If you or a loved one is facing child pornography charges in Orange County, don’t hesitate to get legal help. Consult our Orange County criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group today.