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Federal Child Pornography Charges

Tampa Lawyers for Sex Crime Charges

Child pornography is a serious form of sexual exploitation of minors. The growth of the internet has allowed an expansion of the market for child pornography. Images of minors are easily accessed on various types of technology, including social networks and apps. Often child pornography producers are able to meet online to discuss their interests and sell or trade images. Federal prosecutors pursue charges of child pornography aggressively. There are several different activities related to child pornography that are criminalized, and charges may be pursued under either Florida or federal law. If you are being investigated for or charged with crimes of this nature, a Tampa child pornography attorney can help you develop a defense. At Hanlon Law, we fight for the accused.

Federal Child Pornography Charges

Different federal statutory sections address criminal activities related to child pornography. Under 18 U.S.C. section 2256, child pornography is defined as a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct in which someone under age 18 is involved. Visual depictions can include photos, images generated digitally or otherwise, and videotape. Even film that isn’t developed and electronically stored data are considered illegal child pornography under federal law. The image doesn’t need to show sex; it needs to have sexual implications. State laws related to consent do not bear on whether child pornography is criminalized under federal law.

Under section 2251, sexual exploitation of children in the form of producing child pornography is criminalized. This means it’s illegal to try to coerce or convince someone under age 18 to be involved in sexually explicit actions in order to produce images of the conduct.

Section 2251A criminalizes the selling and buying of children. Parents or guardians of children can face trafficking charges under 18 U.S.C. section 2251a for buying, selling or transferring the child in order to make child pornography. The prosecutor needs to establish that the parents or guardian knew that as a consequence of the transfer, the child would be portrayed in an image engaging in or helping someone else engage in sexually explicit content. Alternatively the prosecutor will need to show that the parent or guardian had intent to promote either the involvement of sexually explicit acts or the rendering of assistance by the minor to another to be involved in sexually explicit acts in order to produce images of that conduct.

Section 2252 criminalizes particular activities related to material that sexually exploits children, and the criminalized activities include possessing, distributing, and receiving child pornography. Section 2252A also criminalizes particular activities related to child pornography. Under section 2260, it is a crime to produce sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States.


When can you be charged with a federal child pornography offense? You can be charged with one of the child pornography crimes if the crime occurs through interstate or foreign commerce. For example, if you carried child pornography to someone outside the state, federal law would be implicated. Using the internet may also implicate federal law. If you ship child pornography into the United States from another country, you could also face criminal charges. An attorney with experience defending clients against sex crime charges can assess the jurisdictional aspects of your case.


There are serious penalties for violating federal child pornography laws, and they have only gotten harsher over the years. Many child pornography crimes carry mandatory minimum sentences if you are convicted. Possession of child pornography doesn’t carry a mandatory minimum sentence. However, transporting, receiving, distributing, or possessing with intent to sell or distribute for the first time carries a 5-year term of imprisonment as a mandatory minimum sentence. If you have a prior sex offense conviction and you are convicted of receiving, distributing, or producing obscene visual depictions of child sex abuse, you can face 15 to 40 years of incarceration. Trafficking charges can result in up to 30 years in prison.

Retain a Tampa Lawyer to Defend Against Sex Crime Charges

If you are facing federal child pornography charges in Tampa, it is advisable to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney with trial experience. Our founder and principal Will Hanlon has represented those accused of a wide spectrum of offenses since 1994. Please contact Hanlon Law at (813) 228-7095 or via our online form.

Client Reviews
I retained Mr. Hanlon for two cases... He handled both cases very quickly and without me present. The end result was all three charges on two separate cases were dismissed. I couldn't be more pleased with the service I received from Mr. Hanlon.
- Ashley
Excellent attorney! Will handled my petty theft case with the utmost professionalism and kept me informed of my options and choices every step of the way. The evidence was highly circumstantial and predatory, but luckily the whole case was null processed. I highly recommend Will because of his expertise and knowledge.
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Mr. Hanlon was extremely professional in handling my DUI case. His office was very helpful in answering all my questions. I was so pleased when he reduced my charge from a DUI to Reckless Driving. It was a weight off my shoulders. I would highly recommend him for any DUI case based on his high success rate in reducing the charges. Thanks again Mr. Hanlon.
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