Can Minors Be Convicted of Possessing or Distributing Child Pornography?
Parents in the 21st century know the debate well: Do you give your child a smartphone at a young age? On one hand, you will be able to reach your child and your child will be able to reach you at all times. On the other hand, your child could now have access to things you do not want him or her to have access to.
One of those things is child pornography. In the digital age, more young people are being charged with child pornography crimes. As a result, some states have created laws that apply to minors sending each other sexually explicit photos of themselves. California has not yet done so. Under California Penal Code Section 311, any person, regardless of age, who knowingly produces, possesses, distributes or receives child pornography is potentially guilty of a crime.
Child Pornography (311 PC)
Generally, to be considered child pornography, the image(s) in question must depict a minor under the age of 18 personally engaging in or simulating sexual conduct. If both the sender and recipient are under the age of 18, they could both face a felony charge if:
They knowingly committed the act, AND When they acted, they knew that the matter showed a person under the age of 18 who was participating in or simulating sexual conduct
The penalties your minor child faces for a child pornography offense depend upon whether he or she is tried in juvenile court or in adult court.
Penalties for Child Pornography Offenses
Under Proposition 21, a minor age 16 or older can be tried as an adult for any crime at the court’s discretion. If charged in adult criminal court, your minor child faces severe penalties for a child pornography offense.
Depending upon the specific violation, your child could face up to eight years in prison and fines of up to $100,000 for a child pornography offense. He or she will also be required to register as a sex offender under PC 290.
Minors sentenced to prison or jail time are often held in a county juvenile detention center until they are 18 years of age, when they are transferred to a jail or prison facility.
What Happens When a Minor is Tried in Juvenile Court?
The juvenile court is different from adult criminal court. If a minor is tried in juvenile court, the case is tried and decided by a judge in a bench trial. The prosecution must prove that the minor defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If the juvenile defendant is found guilty, the judge is said to have “sustained the People’s petition,” and a disposition hearing will take place to determine his or her sentence. Juvenile court sentences could include serving time in juvenile hall and fines (which may have to be paid by the minor’s parents).
Contact the Child Pornography Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
Regardless of whether your child is charged as a minor or an adult, a child pornography conviction could have serious ramifications. That is why you should contact an experienced child pornography defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending clients facing child pornography charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, there is an experienced Wallin & child pornography attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.