What Is Child Pornography and What Happens If You’re Caught With Possession?

what is child pornography

In 2019 alone, Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested 3,771 people for crimes relating to child exploitation and child pornography.  This number shows an 18% increase in this manner of crime from the year before.

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This statistic raises a lot of questions. What is child pornography, and what repercussions to these criminal offenders face?

What Is Child Pornography?

Any portrayal of a minor child, or a person attempting to look like a minor, engaging in sex or any sexual activity, or even near somebody else doing something sexual. Child pornography includes pictures, videos, and computer-generated content of this manor.

The only exception to this rule goes to purposeful art containing literary, artistic, political, or scientific values. So, an artist making a bold statement about people turning a blind eye to the devaluation of children.

For instance, they may find an exemption, as would an anatomy book depicting and labeling a child’s genitalia. But, even with those purposes in mind, people should tread lightly in creating such works, as the crime carries serious repercussions.

What Age Constitutes a Minor?

Many states regard an individual under the age of 17, or sometimes 16, as a minor child. Under federal law, though, anybody under the age of 18 is a minor and therefore cannot be portrayed in this material.

Child Porn Laws

This crime falls under both federal and state jurisdiction. The law states that you may not create, distribute, import, receive, or possess child porn.

Most people think of creepy perverts for those who break child porn law. However, some people with innocent intentions battle such charges because of sheer ignorance of the law.

Parents with small children unwittingly break this law when they photograph their young children in bathtubs or running around nude. Some of these parents have paid the price for something seemingly innocent, displaying why know the letter of your law.

With today’s technology, children themselves sometimes end up charged with this serious offense. Kids use cellphones for sexting. When the photographs passed around crosses the line into child pornography, everybody involved ends up a guilty party.

For instance, if a 16-year-old girl sends her boyfriend a nude picture, then she can face criminal charges for distributing child pornography. Yes, you read this correctly, a minor cannot even legally take nude pictures of themselves.

Moving through the chain, if the boyfriend keeps the picture and or sends it to friends, he then faces charges. This effect snowballs as kids save or distribute this one picture. These children face the same charges and punishments as a man creating, watching, or distributing child porn from his basement.

The penalty for this crime can vary from state to state. You should make yourself familiar with your state’s child pornography laws.

Federal law implements a harsh punishment for those convicted. The punishment varies depending on your role with child pornography.

Possession of child pornography can land you in prison for 0-10 years on a first-time offense, depending on the circumstances. Engaging in this activity again after the first offense, the person faces a minimum of 10 years and up to 20 years in prison.

Intending on distributing illegal content for money or actually distributing it for money child porn increases the penalty. A first-time offender can expect 5-20 years in a federal penitentiary, while a repeat defender will see anywhere from 15-40 years.

Producing porn puts criminals away for 15-30 years on a first-time offense. This penalty grows for repeat offenders.

Sex Offender Registry

Regardless of what role you played in this crime, anybody charged for chid pornography will get registered as a sex offender. This allows authorities to track you after you finish your prison sentence.

They assign the offender a level that describes the risk they pose to the community. There are 3.

A level one sex offender poses the least amount of danger to the public and carries a low risk of a repeat offense. A non-violent sex crime committed once by an individual who successfully completed a sex-offender treatment program may get registered as a level one.

Level 2 expresses a moderate risk of the individual repeating the crime. Their registry goes out to the public, as this person displays risky characteristics, such as drug abuse or criminal history. They may be repeat offenders already or have multiple victims.

A level 3 sex offender poses the greatest risk to the community and will most likely repeat their crime if able. This information gets made public due to the danger they pose, as they most likely committed a violent sex crime.

Depending on your state, this registration may also restrict where you live. For instance, they may not allow you to live in a home within a certain distance from a daycare center or school.

Many states also place sex offenders onto a public list with their picture, name, and address. Whenever the sex offender moves into the neighborhood, the people living in the area will receive this notification.

The public record will also be accessible to employers. This will affect where you may seek employment and even the decision of employers within those places.

Potential Defence

If you get arrested for possessing, distributing, or creating this type of illegal content, then you need an excellent defense attorney. You can fight the charge in a number of ways.

An attorney can help prove to the court that you accidentally accessed the material or that you did not know the content displayed a minor. People open up content without knowing what’s coming often, and you could sometimes mistake pornographic content for adult porn.

Or, another party may have used your computer. It is possible that you did not know your computer, phone, or tablet even possessed such material.

Know Your Rights 

You should always know the law where you live and understand your rights. If you ask, ‘What is child pornography’ then your ignorance can potentially put you behind bars.

We want to supply you with a wealth of information. Keep satisfying your curiosity on our website.

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