Possession of Child Porn — What Can Happen to Me?

If you’re convicted of possession of child pornography, you can face some of the harshest consequences in the nation. Penalties include a criminal record, jail time, fines, and listing on the sexual offender registry. You need a strong criminal lawyer in NJ to immediately begin building your defense.

You can find yourself charged with possession of child porn with one simple click of a mouse. Authorities don’t care if it was a mistake or misunderstanding, or even a malicious computer hack. File sharing programs can sometimes download porn to your computer without your knowledge. Or, you may not be aware that a photo or video on your computer was considered child pornography. Perhaps you let someone borrow your computer and they downloaded illegal material.

Whatever the reason, child pornography is a serious offense with serious penalties, as well as social stigma. You must be informed about your situation.

What Constitutes Child Pornography?
Although some might think so, child porn is not protected speech under the Constitution. It’s illegal in New Jersey and across the country because it’s a form of child exploitation, and this includes:

• Possession
• Viewing
• Distributing or sharing
• Receiving
• Producing, photographing, or filming a minor in such activities

Excluded, however, according to federal criminal statutes is possession of materials with “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Still, even this can be difficult to prove in court. Another thing the prosecution must prove in court is that you had these materials with a guilty mind (also called a “mens rea”), meaning that you knew — or reasonably should have known — the materials were of a sexual child exploitative nature.

Actively participating in child pornography can lead to increased and much more serious charges, including aggravated sexual assault charges. Only an experienced sexual assault defense lawyer understands the nature of these charges, and how to build a strong defense against them.

Penalties for Possession of Child Porn
The possible penalties for possession of child pornography include conviction of a felony crime, prison time (depending on the level of the crime), community service, monetary fines, and Megan’s Law sex offender registration.

Additionally, more severe charges bring “enhanced penalties,” which may include:

• Mandatory minimum jail sentences if distribution contained 25 or more images (from 5 to 10 years)
• If convicted of aggravated sexual assault charges, the No Early Release Act applies
• Extended terms for repeat offenders
• Possibility of lifetime parole for certain types of convictions

Help is Available
If you’re accused of possession of child pornography, you need a criminal lawyer who knows NJ laws inside and out. An experienced and non-judgmental defense attorney works with you to find out the facts of your case, and present the best possible defense.