Child pornography is illegal under both Florida law and federal law. Children should not be exploited so that adults can profit financially or be sexually gratified. However, the fact that someone has been accused of a crime involving child pornography does not mean that they are guilty of that offense. Each criminal case has its own unique set of circumstances, and many times, the accused has a valid defense against the charges lodged against them by the government. Skilled sex crime attorney Will Hanlon regularly defends people accused of child pornography, as well as other types of criminal activity. As a Tampa child pornography lawyer, he can help you review your case with an eye toward establishing a viable plan to have your charges dropped or reduced or, if this is not possible, work toward minimizing the penalties that you may be facing.
Florida’s statutory scheme outlawing pornography involving minors is fairly broad and perhaps even overreaching. “Child pornography” is defined simply enough as “any image depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct,” but the law reaches far beyond people who knowingly make or sell pornographic images involving children. A person may also be found guilty of a crime under Florida law if they:
- Authorize or induce a child to engage in a sexual performance;
- Direct or promote any performance in which sexual conduct is performed by a person under 18; or
- Possess, control, or view a photograph, computer depiction, show, or other presentation involving sexual conduct by a minor.
The State of Florida (or the U.S. government in a federal case) has the burden of proving the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To do so, the prosecution must provide legally admissible, convincing evidence of each and every element of the offense named in the arrest or indictment. Evidence obtained in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights may be excluded at trial, but typically this only happens if a skilled child pornography attorney in the Tampa area files a motion with the court. An overworked public defender with a heavy caseload may not have the time to review the facts of each individual case to determine whether police overstepped their bounds in obtaining a particular piece of evidence.
Since there are relatively few defenses to a child pornography case, it is critical that the defendant discover – and use to their advantage – every possible weakness in the State’s case, including moving to exclude evidence that may have been acquired through an illegal search warrant or a constitutionally invalid confession. Depending upon the circumstances, a defendant may be able to assert another defense, such as entrapment, but many of the traditional defenses available in other cases (including a mistake of fact regarding the child’s age) are rarely successful in a child pornography case.
A conviction under Florida’s child pornography laws may be a felony, which means that it may result in up to 15 years of incarceration in the state penitentiary and a fine of up to $10,000. The defendant may need to register as a sex offender, which is usually a lifelong obligation. Being a convicted felon, especially a registered sex offender, may greatly affect a defendant’s ability to find gainful employment or suitable housing. It may also adversely affect the defendant’s personal relationships and jeopardize their ability to pursue educational opportunities or join the military, among other consequences.Contact a Knowledgeable Child Pornography Lawyer in Tampa
If you have been accused of a child pornography crime under Florida law, you need to talk to a skilled defense attorney as soon as possible. Seasoned Tampa child pornography attorney Will Hanlon will be glad to talk to you about your case and help you explore your legal options. He handles many criminal matters for defendants throughout the Tampa Bay region. Call us today at 813-228-7095 or contact us online to set up a consultation. Hanlon Law also is available for people who need a child abuse lawyer or assistance with fighting drug charges, theft charges, or allegations of firearms offenses.