A child porn charge is a wobbler offence.
A child porn charge could be either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Crimes relating to child pornography are treated very seriously by the California legal system. Penal Code Sections 311.1 through 311.11 sum up just what acts can result in a child porn charge:

  • 311.1 and 311.2: Knowingly sending or transporting child pornography;
  • 311.3: Knowingly printing, developing, or exchanging child pornography;
  • 311.4: Knowingly hiring, persuading, or otherwise convincing a minor to engage in child porn;
  • 311.10: Knowingly advertising the sale of child porn; and
  • 311.11: Knowingly possessing child porn that was produced by someone under the age of 18. 1

If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you face up to a year in county jail and up to $2,500 in fines. For a felony child porn conviction, you can face up to eight years in California state prison and up to $100,000 in fines. 2 You will also be required to register as a sex offender in California for the rest of your life.

But what constitutes child porn? In today’s age of rapid photo sharing, and the instantaneous delivery of information, the line may be blurred.

Definition of Child Pornography

Under California law, child pornography is defined as any material showing children under the age of eighteen engaging in sexual activity. 3 This includes images or videos found in any form, such as:

  • Social media or other digital photos;
  • Traditional photographs, including negatives;
  • Photocopies;
  • Videotapes;
  • Emails; or
  • CD-ROMs.

Nudity alone is not enough to warrant a conviction for child pornography. In order to be convicted of a California child porn charge, the child must be engaging in sexual activity. This includes:

  • Sexual intercourse;
  • Oral sex;
  • Sodomy;
  • Masturbation; or
  • Any other display of the genitals or rectal area for sexual stimulation.
A child porn conviction in California is a serious offence.
A child porn conviction in California is a serious offence.

This means that your pictures of your newborn taking a bath are acceptable in the eyes of the law. However, “sexual stimulation” can be a subjective term. What is sexually stimulating to some people may not be sexually stimulating to others. If a prosecutor can prove that you knowingly sent your otherwise innocent images of your nude child to someone to sexually stimulate the other party, you may still be convicted.

In order for it to be considered child porn, the individuals in the photos or videos must be under the age of eighteen. If they are anywhere under the age of seventeen, it can be considered child porn. The only exception to this rule is if a minor is married to an adult. Then, a video of the two parties engaging in consensual sex is not considered child porn. 4

Whether you possessed or distributed child porn, the act must have been done intentionally and with knowledge in order to warrant a conviction. What if you innocently distributed pictures of your child bathing to your friends and family through social media?

If one of your friends or family members decides to use the images for sexual stimulation, or decides to distribute them for this purpose, you cannot be held responsible. The prosecution needs to prove that you knowingly sent the images for sexual purposes. 5

Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you are facing child porn charges, you are facing serious punishment One of the most common and valid defenses against these charges is that you did not knowingly commit the act. With over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients accused of these charges, our team of attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can help you prove this during your criminal proceedings.

With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, one of our skilled attorneys is available for you, no matter where you work or live.

Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 to discuss your case. We will get through this together.


1. [http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/311.11.html]
2. [Id.]
3. [http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/child-pornography-in-california]
4. [http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/child-pornography-in-california]
5. [Id.]

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