In many situations, a child pornography charge could mean the fight of your life. These convictions can ruin careers, relationships, and futures. Fortunately, similar to other internet crimes, there are a number of possible defenses to child pornography charges. To take advantage of them, you need an aggressive attorney from start to finish.
The Allentown law firm of van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin has the kind of attorneys you need. Our Allentown child pornography attorneys are highly experienced in these matters, and we understand how they move. Moreover, we work very hard on your defense beginning on Day One. We firmly believe that this kind of effort solves problems. Finally, throughout the entire process, we proactively communicate with you. A child pornography charge is bad enough. But being in the dark about your case is even worse.
Child Pornography Offenses in Lehigh County
These laws are technically child abuse laws. That classification helps explain why the penalties are so harsh. There is a conclusive presumption that child pornography cases also involve child exploitation. Most child pornography offenses are second degree felonies. These charges carry a maximum ten years in prison.
Moreover, a conviction could mean a lifetime registration requirement. Simple possession does not make one a sexually violent predator. But multiple convictions, or if there are any aggravating circumstances, could merit that label in the eyes of judges and prosecutors.
There are several specific types of child pornography offenses in Pennsylvania law. Some of the more commonly-charged ones are:
- Filming or Photographing Sexual Acts: The term “sexual acts” has a very broad meaning in Pennsylvania law. Filming any one of them is a second degree felony. Additionally, allowing a child to be photographed is also a second degree felony.
- Distributing Child Pornography: Any dissemination is a third degree felony. That could mean up to seven years in prison. That distribution could be attaching an image to an email another free delivery method.
- Possession: Under state law, a bona fide belief that the child was over eighteen is not a defense. Even if the child lied about his/her age and/or produced a fake ID, that may not be enough.
Child pornography matters often involve federal crimes as well. If any part of the transaction involved interstate commerce, the U.S> Attorney can claim jurisdiction. For example, if any part of your computer or modem was made outside Pennsylvania, the interstate commerce designation applies.
Production of child pornography is also an offense under federal law. That could be asking a child (or someone the defendant believes is a child) to provide an explicit picture.
Some Defenses to Allentown Child Pornography Charges
Pornography charges usually involve both technical and legal issues. So, there are both technical and legal defenses.
As in drug cases, possession means possession. The state must prove the defendant possessed the prohibited image and did not simply look at it. Viewing child pornography is not an offense in Pennsylvania. So, at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, we work with top forensic computer scientists. In some cases, these professionals find exonerating evidence. In other situations, they effectively oversee the prosecutor’s computer experts and protect you against government overreaches.
There are legal defenses as well. Pornography cases often involve lengthy investigations and intricate search warrants. All these moving parts provide many opportunities for a defense attorney with an eye for detail. Furthermore, as always, the evidence must be of a compelling nature. Otherwise, the prosecutor cannot meet the burden of proof.
Count On Experienced Attorneys
Never take child pornography charges lightly, because the possible consequences are devastating. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Allentown, contact van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin. We routinely handle matters in Lehigh County and nearby jurisdictions.