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Sentencing for Federal Child Pornography Crimes

Tampa Lawyers Defending People Charged With Federal Child Pornography Crimes

The federal government aims to protect minors from harm and zealously prosecutes people accused of engaging in acts that constitute child abuse. As such, convictions for federal child pornography crimes can result in substantial punishments, including lengthy prison sentences, significant fines, and mandatory sex offender registration. If you were indicted with a child pornography offense and have questions about sentencing for federal child pornography crimes, it is smart to consult an attorney regarding your options. The knowledgeable Tampa child pornography defense lawyers of Hanlon Law can advise you of your rights and aid you in seeking the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. We regularly defend people charged with federal child pornography crimes and other offenses in Tampa and other cities throughout Florida.

Child Pornography as Defined by Federal Law

While the First Amendment safeguards free speech rights, child pornography falls outside its protections. In other words, under federal law, child pornography is illegal contraband. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 2256, any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a person under the age of 18 constitutes child pornography. Visual depictions include not only videos and photographs of actual minors but also images that were created, adapted, or modified to depict an actual, identifiable minor. Notably, undeveloped film or tapes and electronically stored data that can be transformed into a visual image of child pornography also constitute barred visual depictions.

Sentencing for Federal Child Pornography Crimes

Under federal law, it is unlawful to create, distribute, transmit, or possess child pornography. As such, numerous charges can arise out of activity related to child pornography, including sexual exploitation of children, selling and buying of children, distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography, and producing sexually explicit depictions of a minor for the purposes of importing it into the United States.

All violations of federal child pornography laws are treated as serious offenses, and people convicted of such crimes face severe penalties. Notably, if they previously were convicted of a sex offense, their penalty may be increased. For example, a conviction for possessing child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2252 or 18 U.S.C. 2252A can result in up to ten years in prison for a first-time offender, while a person with a prior sex offense conviction may face ten to twenty years in prison. Similarly, a person convicted of receiving, transporting, distributing, or possessing with the intent to sell or distribute child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2252 or 18 U.S.C. 2252A may be sentenced to five to fifteen years in prison if they have no prior sex crime convictions, but twenty to forty years in prison if they were previously found guilty of a sex crime.

Parties convicted of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1466A can face up to ten years in prior if it is their first sex crime conviction, and ten to twenty years if it is their second offense. Those found guilty of the distribution, receipt, or production of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children as prohibited by 18 U.S.C. 1466A can be sentenced to five to fifteen years imprisonment for first offenses and twenty to forty years if they have prior sex crime convictions.

Additionally, the government can imposed increased sentencing for federal child pornography crimes if aggravating factors are found. For example, if the child victim was under the age of twelve, the images are sadistic, violent, or masochistic, or the offender engaged in a pattern of activity constituting sexual exploitation or abuse, they may face up to life imprisonment.

Speak to a Dedicated Criminal Defense Lawyer

The federal government imposes harsh penalties on people convicted of federal child pornography crimes, but in some instances, an attorney can successfully argue for a reduced sentence. If you are accused of making, possessing, or distributing child pornography, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At Hanlon Law, our dedicated Tampa criminal defense lawyers have ample experience helping people charged with federal child pornography offenses fight to protect their interests, and if you engage our services, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. We have an office in Tampa as well as offices in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Bradenton. You can reach us through our online form or by calling us at 813.228.7095 to set up a free and confidential meeting.