Have you been arrested and charged with a crime under California Penal Code Section 311.2? If so, you could be at risk for severe and life-changing penalties. It is critical that you take action to clear your name of the charges against you.
What Is California Penal Code 311.2?
Under California Penal Code §311.2, you can be charged with a criminal offense if you are accused of knowingly and intentionally duplicating, possessing, or transporting child pornography or other types of obscene materials with the intent to show it to someone else or distribute it.
Even being accused of possession or distribution of child pornography or other related materials can destroy your reputation, your career, your relationships with your family and your friends, and your ability to live your life normally. This does not even take into consideration the criminal penalties associated with a conviction.
If you are facing allegations under California Penal Code Section 311.2, it is critical that you defend your name. Get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your case as soon as possible. There is no time to wait when you are facing accusations this severe.
The Elements of the Crime
For the prosecutor to bring charges under California Penal Code 311.2, the elements of the crime must be met as follows:
Child Pornography Materials
The materials must be child pornography or obscene matter. Child pornography includes any material that depicts someone under the age of 18 simulating or engaging in any type of sexual conduct.
The court system in California will consider the material “obscene” when the following criteria are met:
- The materials describe or depict offensive sexual conduct
- The average adult would consider the materials morbid or shameful
- The average, reasonable person would consider the materials lacking any scientific, artistic, literary, or political value
The production, distribution, exhibition, publication, or possession of child pornography in any form are each separate crimes. However, for the state to successfully win its case against you, it must prove that:
- You intentionally and knowingly possessed child pornography or obscene materials.
- You knew the subject and character of the materials in question.
- You knew that the materials depicted a minor engaging in or simulating any type of sexual conduct.
Proving intent may be one of the prosecutor’s most challenging tasks. It is more common than you might think for defendants to find themselves facing criminal charges through accidental possession of pornographic images of children.
For instance, someone who might have been browsing a pornographic website could find that these images were indexed without their knowledge while they were browsing.
Penalties Under California Penal Code §311(2)
The types of penalties you will face if you are found guilty under California Penal Code Section 311.2 can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of your case. Generally, the possession or distribution of child pornography and obscene materials is considered a wobbler offense. This means you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony based on the details of your case.
For example, if you were accused of possession of child pornography as a misdemeanor, you could spend anywhere from 2 to 6 years in state prison, depending on the number of images you are accused of being in possession of. Each separate material can be charged as a separate offense, which could dramatically increase the length of your prison sentence.
If you were charged with possession with intent to distribute to someone under the age of 18, you could face felony charges. If convicted, you could spend a minimum of six years in California state prison and be fined up to $100,000.
It is also possible that you could face criminal charges at the federal level. The greater the number of images, videos, or depictions, the more likely it is that federal prosecutors will take hold of your case. If you hope to avoid having your case tried at the federal level, it has never been more important for you to get an aggressive legal defender on your side.
Collateral Consequences of a Conviction
Jail time, prison time, fines, and restitution to victims are not the only penalties someone found guilty under California Penal Code Section 311.2 will face. Your entire life will be changed if you are convicted. Some of the collateral consequences you could face include:
Registration as a Sex Offender
The vast majority of individuals who are convicted under California Penal Code §311.2 will be required to register as sex offenders upon their release. If you are required to register as a sex offender, it will limit the areas you can live, the people you can maintain relationships with, the jobs you can apply for, and otherwise destroy your life. Many sex offenders will be required to register for the rest of their lives.
A Destroyed Reputation
Child pornography convictions will destroy your reputation. Even if you are merely accused of this crime, people are likely to form their own opinions and cast judgments. If you are convicted, you may find it difficult to maintain relationships with your family and friends. This can make it difficult for you to go about your life as you did prior to your conviction.
Total Career Loss
If you are required to register as a sex offender or are convicted of this offense, your criminal record will reflect your conviction for years to come. You may be forced to find work in another industry if you previously worked with children or in another line of work that may be prohibited under the sex offender registration laws. Without the ability to earn a living, you may find it difficult to support yourself following your conviction.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help Today
Charges under California Penal Code §311.2 could haunt you for the rest of your life. A conviction could be devastating. When your life and liberties are on the line, make sure you have a dedicated legal advocate fighting for your future.
Contact an experienced California criminal defense lawyer to schedule your confidential case evaluation today. You can reach us by phone or through our convenient contact form when you are ready to get started.