What are the Differences Between a Federal and State Child Pornography Charge?
Being accused of a child pornography crime can adversely affect your job, personal life and standing in the community. If you are facing a federal charge, knowing the harsh penalties of a federal child pornography conviction can be stressful enough.
If you or a loved one is facing a child pornography charge at a federal or state level, it is important to retain an experienced attorney who can help you understand the charges against you and fight to obtain the best possible result in your case.
How Can I Be Charged with Federal Child Pornography Crime?
If you were arrested for possession of child pornography by a state law enforcement agency, California child pornography laws apply to your case. However, if you were arrested by a federal law enforcement agency, federal laws apply to your case. For example, if you were arrested for possession of child pornography in a sting operation by the FBI, you could face federal child pornography charges because the FBI is a federal agency.
Federal laws also apply to a child pornography case if the child pornography offense occurred in interstate or foreign commerce. This includes using the postal service and when the Internet is used to commit child pornography crimes.
Is there a Difference Between Federal and State Child Pornography Laws?
In the state of California, child pornography laws are regulated under California Penal Code Section 311. Federal child pornography laws are regulated under U.S. Code 18 Sections 2251, 2252, 2256 and 2260.
Both California and federal laws define child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (a person under the age of 18). Both sets of laws prohibit the known distribution, possession, production, publication, duplication, sale or printing of child pornography in any form.
Is there a Difference in Penalties for Federal and State Child Pornography Crimes?
The penalties for a federal child pornography conviction are much harsher than the penalties given by the state of California. Under both sets of laws, a child pornography conviction results in lifetime registration as a sex offender. However, there are considerable differences in potential prison time and fines.
Possession of Child Pornography
Under California Penal Code Section 311.11, a conviction of possession of child pornography is a felony punishable by up to one year in county jail or state prison and a $2,500 fine. A second possession of child pornography conviction can result in two, four, or six years in state prison.
Under U.S. Code 18 Section 2252, a conviction of possession of child pornography is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. A second conviction can result in up to 40 years in federal prison.
Distribution of Child Pornography
Under California Penal Code Section 311.1(a), a distribution of child pornography conviction is a felony punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of $1,000. Depending on the circumstances of your case, the court may decide to sentence you to up to three years in state prison and fine you up to $10,000.
Under U.S. Code 18 Section 2252(a)(4)(b), a conviction for distribution of child pornography is punishably by up to 40 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
Production of Child Pornography
Under California Penal Code Section 311.4(a), a conviction for employing minors to participate in child pornography is a felony punishable by up to one year in county jail or state prison and a $2,000 fine. If the court finds that you induced or coerced a minor to participate in child pornography, you face three, six or eight years in state prison under Penal Code Section 311.4(b).
Under U.S. Code 18 Section 2251, a conviction for enticing a minor to produce child pornography is punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
Call the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is facing a federal or state child pornography charge, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing child pornography charges at the federal and state level. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.