How Severe Are the Consequences for Federal Child Pornography Charges?

Posted on in Federal Crimes

Illinois federal criminal defense attorneyThe U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois indicted a Chicago man for allegedly producing child pornography earlier this month. According to the news release, the man allegedly persuaded several minors to engage in sexual activities and then secretly recorded it. When federal agents searched his home, they found a plethora of explicit material of a similar nature on hard drives, a cell phone, and a computer. Given the severity of the alleged child sex crimes, the man could face serious prison time.

Federal Child Pornography Laws

According to federal law, there are about half a dozen statutes covering child pornography, but they can be categorized into four groups: producing child pornography; buying and selling it; possessing, distributing, and receiving it; and producing sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the U.S.

The Justice Department considers child pornography to be any visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. This does not necessarily mean the child is engaging in sex, but rather the child is “sufficiently sexually suggestive.” The activities described in these statutes are considered criminal offenses regardless of whether the minor was willing to pose or participate.

Additionally, the visual depiction could be in the form of standard media like images or video, but it could also be undeveloped film or video, and even data that must be converted into an image or movie.

While most states also have laws to protect children, a child pornography case will almost always be open to federal investigators if the media makes it onto the internet. That means a person does not actually have to physically transport or mail the material across state lines to commit a federal offense. The reasoning is that the material becomes accessible in other states or countries once it is online.

If you are convicted of possession of child pornography, you could face up to 10 years in prison. Transporting child pornography across state lines could result in 5 to 20 years in prison, and producing child pornography could result in 15 to 30 years in prison.

Also, the prison sentence could be more substantial if you have prior convictions, face multiple counts, or there are aggravating factors like if the images also include violence or the minor is abused. In those cases, you could face life in prison.

Contact a Chicago, IL Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Violating any federal child pornography laws could result in felony charges and a long prison sentence. If you are facing child pornography charges, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights. For two decades, attorney Hal M. Garfinkel has worked on both sides of federal criminal prosecutions and in many high-profile cases. For a free consultation with an Illinois federal criminal defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel today at 312-629-0669.



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