Under California state law, it is illegal to possess any visual depiction of a minor (child under 18) engaged in a sexual activity. Possession of child pornography is a serious criminal charge that may result in imprisonment in county jail or state prison, heavy fines, probation, counseling, and sex offender registration.
At times, the basic nature of child pornography will cause a judge and jury to be prejudiced against a defendant – even before the jury hears all the facts of the case. Because a child is the alleged victim in these cases, the jury is likely to want to hear what the prosecuting attorney has to say and may be less amenable to the defense attorney’s side of the story. It takes a criminal defense lawyer who has the experience and expertise with child pornography cases in particular to break through this barrier and effectively represent a defendant accused of the possession of child pornography.
What Are The Penalties For Child Porn Possession?
Conviction for the possession of child pornography can involve a variety of penalties, depending on the specific offense committed, your criminal history, and whether you were charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime. A typical sentence may include:
- Fines up to $2,500
- Incarceration in a county jail for up to 1 year or incarceration in a state prison for 16 months to 3 years
- Mandatory sex offender registration
Additional penalties may be imposed if on the basis of enhancements, such as a large quantity of child pornography in the defendant’s possession. Although all of these penalties can have devastating effects upon your life and reputation, perhaps most damaging is lifelong registration as a sex offender. Inclusion in California’s sex offender registry can impact your ability to gain employment, loans, housing, and hurt your relationships.
Under Megan’s Law, your personal information and perhaps even your address will be made public, and anyone with access to the internet can find out what offense you were convicted of. If you were arrested for child pornography possession, you need to ensure your rights are protected and you receive powerful advocacy for your trial; you cannot trust your case to a weak or disinterested public defender.