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Possession of Child Pornography

Tampa Lawyers Representing People Charged With Possession of Child Pornography

Sex crimes involving children are generally regarded as among the most heinous offenses a person can commit. Thus, they are aggressively prosecuted by Florida law enforcement. Not all sex crimes involve actual contact with children; for example, people can be charged with possession of child pornography without ever interacting with the alleged victim. Possessing illicit images of a child is a serious offense that carries heavy penalties, but charges do not always lead to a conviction. If you are accused of a child pornography crime, you should contact an attorney at your earliest convenience. The capable Tampa child pornography defense lawyers of Hanlon Law are proficient at helping people obtain favorable results in criminal matters, and if you engage our services, we can advise you what defenses you may be able to assert to avoid a conviction. We regularly assist parties charged with Florida child pornography offenses and other crimes in Tampa and other cities throughout Florida.

Possession of Child Pornography

Under Florida law, any image that depicts a person under the age of eighteen engaging in sexual conduct is considered child pornography. Sexual conduct includes sexual intercourse, whether actual or simulated, masturbation, and contact with a person’s clothed or unclothed pubic area, buttocks, or genitals. Notably, the law differentiates between child pornography and child erotica, which is images of children in a partially nude or nude state but not engaging in acts that constitute sexual conduct.

The crime of possession of child pornography is defined by Florida Statute 827.071, which defines that it is illegal for any person to knowingly control, possess, or intentionally view a photo, video, image, computer depiction, or any other presentation that they know includes sexual conduct by a child. Florida Statute 827.071 further defines that each intentional viewing or possession of such an image is a separate offense. In other words, if a person possesses eight different pictures that are considered child pornography, they can be charged with a separate count and sentenced to a separate penalty for each image. Similarly, if there is more than one child shown in the picture or material, a separate charge will be entered for each child. The offense of possession of child pornography is a third degree felony, which means that it is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Defending Against Possession of Child Pornography Accusations

In criminal cases, the prosecution must establish the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. While there is no exact definition for this phrase, it generally means that the evidence is so convincing that a reasonable person could come to no other conclusion than that the defendant is guilty. In order to meet this burden, the prosecution has to prove each element of the charged offense. Thus, if it cannot, a defendant may be able to argue that the charges against them should be dismissed.

For example, if the prosecution is unable to definitively establish that the individuals depicted in the images or materials in question were under the age of eighteen at the time they were produced, the prosecution’s arguments should fail. Similarly, the prosecution has to prove the defendant possessed the required mens rea, or mental state, needed to commit the crime in question. Thus, if the prosecution fails to produce evidence demonstrating that the defendant acted knowingly, the defendant should not be found guilty. The exact defenses available to a defendant will vary depending on the scenario out of which the charges arose.

Consult a Skilled Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney

A conviction for possession of child pornography in violation of Florida law can have devastating consequences. If you are accused of a child pornography crime, it is advisable to consult with a lawyer regarding your rights and potential defenses. At Hanlon Law, our skilled Tampa criminal defense lawyers are well-versed in what it takes to achieve successful outcomes in criminal matters, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. We have an office in Tampa and offices in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Bradenton as well. You can contact us by calling us at 813.228.7095 or via our form online to set up a free and confidential consultation.