The Basics on Federal Sex Crime Charges
Federal laws addressing child pornography include the possession, receipt or distribution of the illegal material and involve serious criminal penalties. While sex crimes are also covered under state laws, federal child pornography laws pertain to illegal activity involving interstate or foreign commerce. Illegal content that is distributed or accessed over the internet typically falls within the definition of interstate or foreign commerce, which is why the federal child pornography laws cover such a broad range of activity. One of the many reasons why sexual offenses are so serious is that the defendant may also be prosecuted under state law. This is why it is imperative to hire a sex crime lawyer early on in the criminal process.
18 USC 2256 defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving someone under 18 years of age. This does not necessarily mean that the child depicted in the images has to be engaged in a sexual activity. It is also important to keep in mind that even if the age of consent is lower than 18 years in any given state, it is still a federal crime to manufacture, possess, distribute or receive any sexually suggestive material involving anyone under the age of 18 years. The attempt to engage in these activities or conspiring to do any of these actions are also punishable federal sexual offenses. Of course, naked pictures of children in and of themselves do not qualify as child pornography. Our sex crime lawyers can review your case and the evidence to help you understand if the materials found meet the federal standard for child pornography.
18 USC 2251 prohibits the sexual exploitation of children through the production of child pornography. 18 USC 2252 prohibits the possession, receipt or distribution of child pornography.
The criminal activity does not necessarily have to originate within the U.S. to be subject to child pornography laws and penalties. 18 USC 2260 makes it a crime to transport or distribute child pornography from outside of the U.S. into the country. Even air travelers stopping for a layover in the United States have been known to be charged and convicted of these federal sex crimes.
Regardless of which federal statute you may be prosecuted under, all federal sex crimes are prosecuted aggressively. Those convicted of these sexual offenses run the risk of significant prison time. Do not delay. If you have been charged with, or are under investigation for, a child pornogaphy offense, contact the Law Offices of Brandon Sample. Our sex crime attorneys are ready to test the government's case and provide a comprehensive and detailed defense strategy.
What are the Penalties for Being Convicted of a Federal Child Pornography Offense or Other Federal Sexual Offenses?
The penalties for any offense involving child pornography at the federal level are harsh. If a defendant is convicted of a first time offense under 18 USC 2251 for the production of child pornography, he will potentially face extensive fines and a minimum prison sentence of 15 years. The maximum penalty for a first time offender is 30 years in federal prison. Likewise, a conviction of the transport of child pornography under 18 USC 2252 means that a defendant will be sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years. Hefty fines will also be imposed. Repeat offenders for offenses involving child pornography will face harsher penalties, including up to life in prison. The same is true for any defendants convicted of child pornography crimes involving especially violent or disturbing depictions of minors or the sexual abuse of a minor. Due to the severe criminal liability at issue in these cases, it is essential to retain the services of an experienced federal sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible.