Prosecutors in Los Angeles take an extremely fierce stance on any child pornography charge, even if the evidence is flimsy. This is because law enforcement and prosecutors know that convicting alleged sex offenders is good for their publicity, and they view these cases as career-builders.
Sadly, this means that many people accused of child pornography have their rights violated, are actually innocent, or are brought in on excessive charges. If you face any kind of underage pornography charge, you need to talk to a Los Angeles child pornography attorney.
What Counts As Child Pornography in California?
California has a set of laws that make it illegal to make or use underage pornography in just about any way, regardless if it’s for commercial use or personal use. The law under California Penal Code (CPC) § 311 include:
- CPC § 311.3, known as the “sexual exploitation of a minor” law, makes it illegal to knowingly develop, duplicate, print, or exchange any underage pornography
- CPC § 311.1 and 311.2 make it illegal to send knowingly, transport, produce, possess or duplicate any underage pornography with the intent to distribute it
- CPC § 311.4 makes it illegal to knowingly hire, employ, persuade, use, or coerce a minor to participate in the production of underage pornography
- CPC § 311.10 makes it illegal to knowingly advertise obscene underage pornography for sale or distribution
- CPC § 311.11 makes it illegal to knowingly possess or control any underage pornography that was produced using a person under 18
There are also federal child pornography charges you can face in some cases. For all these laws, any person in pornography under the age of 18 counts as a minor or “underage.” However, many of the statutes contain special provisions if the person is under 14 or, alternately, under the age of 12.
In many cases, these laws get applied to people who had no idea that anyone in the pornography was underage. They can also be applied to people who were only indirectly involved, such as the owner of a photoshop where someone developed child porn.
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What Are the Penalties for Child Molestation in Los Angeles?
It depends on which charges you face. Some California child pornography charges are felonies. Others can get charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, which is less severe. The choice often lies with the prosecutor. Penalties in many cases will include:
- Misdemeanor: Up to one year in county jail and up to $2,000 in fines.
- Felony: A state prison sentence of anywhere from 16 months to 8 years, and significant fines sometimes reaching up to $100,000.
Many child pornography convictions also require you to register as a sex offender. This is often considered the worst penalty.
If you face this requirement, you will have to report to local authorities once a year and every time you move to update your personal information. Your name, photo, address, and criminal offense will become public information given to all your neighbors.
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Other Penalties You Can Face
Outside of the legal penalties and consequences you face from a child pornography conviction, you can face many other difficulties as well:
- Inability to get a decent job
- Rejection to universities or colleges
- Unable to go near children or public places with children
- Disqualification from serving in the armed forces
- Public humiliation
Even if you’re completely innocent of your charges, the law and the public will always automatically be against you due to your accusations. Therefore, it’s essential that you fight against this bias and defend yourself with the help of a dedicated child porn lawyer in Los Angeles by your side.
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How Can I Defend Against a Child Pornography Charge?
It’s important to know that intent matters. All the state laws above require that the offender acted “knowingly.” You did not act knowingly if:
- You were reasonably unaware of the age of the people in the pornography
- You were misled about their age
- Child pornography was stored on your computer without your knowledge, such as via malware.
- Child pornography passed through your business without your knowledge, such as in a photo shop
There are many defenses you can use. The right one will depend on the circumstances of your case.
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How Our Los Angeles Child Pornography Lawyers Can Defend You
Facing child pornography charges alone can be extremely difficult. Fortunately, the Los Angeles child pornography lawyers at Simmrin Law Group have various ways to show your innocence and fight against your charges.
If law enforcement officers engineered a situation in which you were pushed, pressured, or coerced into committing a crime, you are not guilty. The police can not set you up in a position to fail and then charge you for those crimes.
If you were not the one in possession of the pornography or the people in the pornography are all 18 or older, you are not guilty. False accusations are more common than people think. We can help you prove that you were falsely accused in court.
Police must follow rules in how and when they perform searches and how they obtain evidence. They also have to follow rules in how and when they question someone. If any of these rules were broken, it would mean that your rights got violated. This is not an automatic acquittal, but it means the illegal evidence or statements cannot be used. Often, this is enough to win a case.
Legitimate Addiction to Child Pornography
Many people are arrested for child porn when they try to come forward and seek help for a real problem. Often, they know they are addicted to child pornography, and they are trying to make sure they don’t hurt anyone.
If this describes your situation, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a different outcome for your case—possibly even with no jail time. Instead, we may be able to convince the courts to focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment.
Any of these defenses can be powerful in the right situation, but it takes a legal professional to know which one to use and make it effective with the courts. The result could be having your charges reduced, getting the charges dropped or dismissed, winning an outcome with no jail or prison, or simply walking away not guilty.
So, don’t let one arrest change the rest of your life. Get a sex crimes lawyer in Los Angeles, CA, that you can count on.
What Do I Do If I’m Offered a Plea Bargain?
If you get offered a plea bargain, always be cautious before verbally agreeing to or signing anything. Plea bargains can have the exact opposite outcome you were hoping to receive. In many cases, prosecutors can mask plea bargains to look good but, in reality, only benefit them.
Our Los Angeles child pornography attorneys can ensure that any plea bargain you get offered is fair and doesn’t put you at risk.
How Exactly Will Your Lawyers Help Me?
Hiring a lawyer is the investment you want to make to ensure that your life doesn’t get ruined by these charges. Our lawyers help clients by:
- Retaining and gathering important evidence regarding your case
- Talking to any witnesses to get supporting testimony in your innocence
- Investigate all aspects of your arrest, and the case brought up by the prosecution
- Handle all your communications with other parties
- Stop you from incriminating yourself and provide you with expert legal advice
As you can see, you get many benefits from hiring a lawyer. Don’t end up paying for a child pornography conviction for the rest of your life.
Talk to a Los Angeles Child Pornography Lawyer for Free
Child pornography charges can ruin lives. If you’ve been accused, the best thing you can do is stay silent, don’t answer questions, and get a lawyer as soon as possible. The Simmrin Law Group is on your side. Let our experienced child pornography attorneys in Los Angeles give you a free consultation today. Contact us to learn more.