Carroll County Child Pornography Lawyer
Both state and federal laws make the possession, distribution, and creation of child pornography illegal. All child pornography offenses carry the potential for harsh consequences, but the penalties can be far more severe for creating and distributing child pornography than for merely possessing it.
If you are facing accusations of involvement with any aspect of child pornography, you may consider the benefits of consulting a Carroll County child pornography lawyer for legal advice and representation.
Under Maryland law, distribution or production of child pornography consists of materials or images that depict sexually explicit conduct by or with a child who under the age of 18.
This expansive definition of child pornography may include pictures or videos that would not necessarily constitute child pornography in other jurisdictions. As a result, you may find it essential to enlist the counsel of a child pornography defense attorney when facing any child pornography-related charges.
Child Pornography Production and Distribution
According to Md. Code, Crim. Law § 11-207, it is illegal for individuals to:
- Cause, solicit or intentionally allow minors to participate in the creation or production of child pornography
- Photograph or film minors engaged in pornographic acts
- Use a computer to depict or describe minors engaged in pornographic acts
- Intentionally advertise, solicit, distribute, or possess with intent to distribute child pornography
Additionally, individuals violate this code section if they use a computer to disseminate any information about minors to be used for engaging in or soliciting them for sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse. As this offense may have severe consequences, individuals accused of this crime may want to contact a child pornography lawyer in Carroll County right away.
Possession of Child Pornography
Under Md. Code, Crim. Law § 11-208, individuals may not possess child pornography, whether in the form of a film, video, picture, or other visual representation. To constitute child pornography, the image must depict a child under the age of 16 who is engaged as a subject of sadomasochistic abuse, sexual conduct, or sexual excitement.
This code section contains two affirmative defenses, including individuals taking reasonable steps to destroy child pornography in their possession or to report it to law enforcement authorities.
Additionally, this section does not prohibit parents from possessing images of their children in the nude, unless they depict the children as subjects of sadomasochistic abuse, engaged in sexual conduct, or a state of sexual excitement.
Furthermore, alleged offenders do not actively have to download images to be charged. If caught with files that were shared over a digital cloud-based device, a person could still be charged.
Penalties for Carroll County Child Pornography Offenses
Violation of § 11-207 is a felony offense under Maryland law. A conviction under this code section can result in up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine for a first offense. For second or subsequent offenses, the potential penalties increase to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Possession of child pornography, however, is a misdemeanor offense that can result in a sentence of incarceration of up to five years and a fine of up to $2,500. A second or subsequent conviction is a felony offense, which can cause a maximum prison sentence of ten years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
As a child pornography attorney in Carroll County could attest, individuals convicted of child pornography offenses also would be subject to mandatory sex offender registration after serving any term of incarceration.
For possession of child pornography, individuals are Tier I registrants, which requires a 15-year registration period. For creation or distribution of child pornography, however, individuals become Tier II registrants, which results in a 25-year registration period.
Consult with a Carroll County Child Pornography Attorney Today
If you become a suspect or target in a child pornography investigation, you may want to consult a Carroll County child pornography lawyer at once. Getting legal advice from the beginning of your case can help resolve it before the prosecutor ever files charges against you. If you do end up with criminal charges, legal counsel could ensure that you do not inadvertently incriminate yourself and protect your rights throughout your criminal proceedings.
While child pornography charges initially may seem impossible, defenses may be available in your case that could reduce or dismiss your charges or the penalties that you may be facing. By working closely with your legal advocate, you may be able to achieve the best possible results in your case.