If you are facing child pornography charges, you may be worried about spending years in prison and losing your life as you know it. You may feel disheartened and afraid of what others in the community think of you. It seems precious few people are willing to help someone charged with this crime. California federal child pornography offense lawyer Michael McKneely is the exception. He understands your emotional turmoil. He has handled many of these cases and knows there is always another side to the story. Mike handles these cases with compassion and fights them with determination.
Contact Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer at (559) 443-7442 for a free consultation. Mike understands that people are unfairly accused and rights are often violated in the California criminal justice system. He will investigate every possible avenue of attack and put you in the best position to have your charges reduced, or even dismissed entirely.
Child Pornography as a Federal Crime
Any type of visual material that depicts a minor in a sexual manner is susceptible to being labeled child pornography. Technically the law bans visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct (18 USC § 2256), but that definition varies and even includes simulated conduct. Further, these images are not protected by the first amendment. While a crime involving child pornography can be prosecuted in state and federal court, it typically lands in federal court if any of the following apply:
- The images are shared via the internet
- An individual is investigated and arrested by a federal agent
- The crime takes place on federal property
- Law enforcement decides that the crime should be handled in federal court, largely because of the number of images and prior record of the defendant
Penalties for Child Pornography
The United States Sentencing Guidelines for child pornography charges are extremely harsh. In fact, sentences for this crime have jumped by 500% in the last 5 years, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. While the exact penalties for certain child pornography crimes are sometimes unclear, they can include a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in a federal prison for receipt, possession, transportation, or production.
Additional time in federal prison may be imposed if any of the following were involved in the crime:
- The minor was under the age of 12
- The material was sold for financial gain
- The material was sold to a minor
- The material portrays sadistic conduct
- The images portray sexual abuse
In most cases involving federal child pornography charges, the sentence is far longer than any mandatory minimum. Anyone convicted of a federal child pornography crime must register as a sex offender for life.
Defense Against an California Federal Child Pornography Offense
With the help of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fresno, many strategies may be available to prove your innocence. A common defense is establishing that you reasonably believed the other person consented to sex. Sometimes there is evidence that the person is making false accusations. It could also be the case that no intercourse took place and that the sexual activity only included foreplay or basic physical contact. In these scenarios, the charges may be reduced to crimes that carry less severe consequences. To speak with a criminal defense attorney from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today call (559) 443-7442.