Prosecutors in Los Angeles take an extremely fierce stance on any child pornography charge—even if the evidence is flimsy. Law enforcement and prosecutors alike know that convicting alleged sex offenders is good for their publicity, and they view these cases as a career-builder. Sadly, this means that many people accused of child pornography have their rights violated, are actually innocent, or are brought in on exaggerated charges. If you are facing any kind of underage pornography charge, you need to talk to a Los Angeles child pornography lawyer.
The Simmrin Law Group can help you. We have put together a hand-picked team of some of the most respected lawyers in the state. Our attorneys have a history of working with clients accused of sex offenses, taking apart the evidence, and getting the charges dismissed or reduced—or even winning outright. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What counts as child pornography in Los Angeles?
California has a set of laws that make it illegal to make or use underage pornography in just about any way—whether for commercial use or personal use.
These laws include:
- Penal Code 311.3, known as the “sexual exploitation of a minor” law, makes it illegal to knowingly develop, duplicate, print or exchange any underage pornography
- Penal Code 311.1 & 2 make it illegal to knowingly send, transport, produce, possess or duplicate any underage pornography with intent to distribute it
Penal Code 311.4 makes it illegal to knowingly hire, employ, persuade, use or coerce a minor to participate in the production of underage pornography
- Penal Code 311.10 makes it illegal to knowingly advertise obscene underage pornography for sale or distribution
- Penal Code 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 of these laws, any person in the pornography under the age of 18 counts as a minor or “underage.” However, many of the laws contain special provisions if the person is under 14 or, alternately, under the age of 12 (prepubescent).
In many cases these laws are be 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 photo shop where someone developed child porn.
What are the penalties for child molestation in Los Angeles?
It depends on which charge (or charges) you are facing.
Some California child pornography charges are felonies. Others can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, which is less serious. The choice often lies with the prosecutor.
Penalties in many cases will include:
- Misdemeanor: Up to 1 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 large 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 then be public information given to all of your neighbors.
How can I defend against a child pornography charge?
There are many defenses you can use. The right one will depend on the circumstances of your case.
It’s important to know that intent matters. All of 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 (via malware)
- Child pornography passed through your business without your knowledge (such as at a photo shop)
Other strong defenses include:
- Entrapment. If law enforcement officers engineered a situation in which you were pushed, pressured or coerced into committing a crime, you are not guilty.
- False accusation. 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.
- Illegal evidence. 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, your rights were violated. This is not an automatic acquittal but it does mean the illegal evidence (or statements) cannot be used. Often, this is enough to win a case.
- You have a 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 described 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 to 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. Don’t let one arrest change the rest of your life—get a lawyer you can count on.
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 defense attorneys give you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 for your FREE consultation today.