Philadelphia Child Pornography Possession Defense Lawyer
The production, distribution, or possession of child pornography is among the gravest offenses an individual can be accused of committing in Pennsylvania. In addition to carrying heavy criminal penalties – including prison, fines, and potential registration as a sex offender – sex crimes involving children also carry a stigma that lasts throughout the offender’s life. Even after the person is released from prison, they will likely struggle to find work, find housing, and forge relationships. In Philadelphia, not only can a child pornography burden you with serious criminal consequences – it can also cause permanent damage your reputation, your career, and your most cherished relationships.
If you or a family member has been charged with the possession of child pornography in Philadelphia, or is currently under investigation, it is urgent that you contact a sex crimes defense attorney immediately. You are facing a difficult road, but your child pornography defense attorney will stand in your corner to protect your reputation, guide you through Philadelphia’s judicial system, discredit the evidence against you, and uphold your constitutional rights to an impartial jury. It could even be possible to have your case dismissed, depending on the circumstances.
Don’t go against child pornography charges alone. Instead, retain a highly experienced Philadelphia criminal lawyer with a track record of achieving courtroom victories.
Penalty for Possessing Child Pornography in PA
Every state has its own statutes establishing the definitions of, and penalties for, child pornography computer crimes. Laws against child pornography also exist at the federal level. Depending on certain factors, such as whether the pornographic materials crossed state lines or involved an organized child pornography crime ring, the defendant could be charged with federal child pornography crimes.
The child pornography defense attorneys at the Law Office of Lloyd Long are qualified to handle both state and federal charges. In either case, we will immediately launch a comprehensive investigation to fight the accusations against your good name.
The Pennsylvania child pornography statute is located at 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6312, pertaining to the sexual abuse of children. This statute creates three distinct offenses involving child pornography and the sexual depiction of minors:
- 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6312(b) – Photographing, Videotaping, Depicting on Computer or Filming Sexual Acts
- Definition – This offense involves causing, or knowingly allowing, a person under age 18 “to engage in a prohibited sexual act,” whether real or simulated. In addition, the defendant must have known, had reason to know, or intended that the sexual act would be “photographed, videotaped, depicted on computer or filmed.” A person can also commit this crime by knowingly photographing, filming, videotaping, or otherwise using a computer to depict “a child under the age of 18… engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act.” In other words, this offense involves the production of child pornography.
- Penalty – This offense is generally a second degree felony. The maximum sentence for a second degree felony in Pennsylvania is 10 years in prison.
- 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6312(c) – Dissemination of Photographs, Videotapes, Computer Depictions and Films
- Definition – This offense involves knowingly selling, distributing, delivering, exhibiting, displaying, or otherwise showing or sharing a depiction of a child under 18 engaging in prohibited sex acts. The material could be a “book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction or other material.” In other words, this offense involves the distribution of child pornography.
- Penalty – A first-offense child pornography distribution charge is generally a third degree felony, for which the maximum sentence is seven years. However, it becomes a second degree felony if it is a second, third, or subsequent offense. A defendant can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for a second degree felony in Pennsylvania.
- 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6312(d) – Child Pornography
- Definition – A person commits a child pornography offense by knowingly and intentionally controlling, possessing, or looking at any “material depicting a child under the age of 18 years engaging in a prohibited sexual act,” whether real or simulated. The “material” could be a “book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction,” or any other material. In other words, this offense involves the possession of child pornography.
- Penalty – A first-offense child pornography possession charge is typically a third degree felony, for which the maximum sentence is seven years. However, it becomes a second degree felony if it is a second, third, or subsequent offense. If so, the defendant could receive a maximum sentence of 10 years.
The statutes repeatedly reference “prohibited sexual acts.” Under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6312(g), a “prohibited sexual act” is defined to include “intercourse… masturbation, sadism, masochism, bestiality, fellatio, [and] cunnilingus,” in addition to the “lewd exhibition of the genitals or nudity if such nudity is depicted for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of” the viewer.
What if I Accidentally Downloaded Child Pornography?
Pennsylvania’s statutes specify that the possessing or viewing of child pornography must have been intentional for a criminal act to have occurred. Under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6312(g), “intentionally viewing” child pornography means the “deliberate, purposeful, voluntary viewing of material depicting a child under 18 years of age engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such act.”
Critically, “The term shall not include the accidental or inadvertent viewing of such material.” If you accidentally viewed child pornography due to a misleading file name, a misleading website name, a computer virus, or other factors, it may be a defense against your charges.
Philadelphia Child Pornography Possession and Distribution Attorney
Being accused of producing, viewing, possessing, or distributing child pornography is a life-changing event that jeopardizes your reputation, your career, your relationships, and even your freedom itself. When the odds are stacked so high, you need skilled representation from an experienced and aggressive defense attorney in Philadelphia who will stand by your side from day one of your case. For a free legal consultation with child pornography charges lawyer Lloyd Long, former prosecutor and founding attorney at the Law Office of Lloyd Long, contact our law offices at (215) 302-0171 immediately.