Clearwater Child Pornography Lawyers

Clearwater child pornography lawyers banner image The Clearwater child pornography lawyers here at the Sex Crime Defense Team can help you navigate the complicated and often confusing world of child pornography law in Florida. Possessing, transmitting, distributing, and manufacturing child pornography are violations of both state and federal law and come with severe penalties. This is especially true for federal charges, which tend to be more aggressively investigated and prosecuted. Federal law also has a broader definition of what qualifies as child pornography, making it easier for prosecutors to obtain a conviction than when charges are filed in state court.

Depicting Sexual Conduct in Clearwater

Before a person can be convicted of a child pornography offense, prosecutors must demonstrate that the images in question qualify under Fla. Stat. §827.071, which means that they depict a child engaged in actual or simulated sexual intercourse, masturbation, lewd exhibition, physical contact with a person’s private parts, or actual or simulated sexual battery. This is an important distinction because images that are considered child erotica are not always pornographic in nature.

Possession of Child Pornography in Clearwater

Once it has been established that an image satisfies the definition of child pornography in Clearwater, prosecutors must prove that the defendant:
  • Viewed more than a single image over a certain period of time
  • Took affirmative steps to save the images on his or her computer cache file, or knew that the computer would automatically save them
Those who are convicted of possession of child pornography in Clearwater generally face third-degree felony penalties. This means that they could end up spending five years in prison for each count. However, under Fla. Stat. 775.0847, possession charges will be reclassified as a second-degree felony if:
  • Ten or more images of any type of child pornography are found in the offender’s possession
  • A child who is younger than the age of five years old is depicted
  • The images portray sadomasochistic abuse or the sexual battery of a child
  • The images involve bestiality
  • The offender is found in possession of any movie involving a child, whether or not it contains sound
Second degree felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Additionally, those who are convicted of possessing child pornography will be required to register on the state’s sex offender registry.

Clearwater Child Pornography: Related Charges

In Florida, those who are accused of possessing child pornography are often charged with additional crimes. If, for example, a defendant is found in possession of three or more copies of a single image, he or she could be charged with possessing child pornography with the intent to promote the sexual performance of a minor, which is a much more serious offense than mere possession. If, on the other hand, it is also discovered that a defendant either received an image from another person or sent them to someone else, he or she can be charged with promoting child pornography or transmitting child pornography via electronic device under Fla. Stat. §847.0137. Sending photos to another person’s email address, uploading images to a file-sharing program, posting pictures in chat rooms, and using social media sites to exchange images all qualify as promoting and transmitting pornography.

Federal Prosecution for Possession, Distribution and Transmission of Child Pornography in Clearwater

Federal law 18 U.S.C. §2252A also prohibits the possession of photos, videos, images, undeveloped film, computer generated depictions, or data stored electronically that can be converted to an image if those images depict a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Unlike state law, the federal statute does not require prosecutors to prove that the image showed a child engaged in sexual conduct. Instead, images that are considered sexually explicit, which is broadly defend as sexually suggestive, will qualify as pornographic for the purposes of federal law.

However, defendants cannot be prosecuted in federal court unless prosecutors can prove that federal jurisdiction exists, which means that there is evidence that:
  • The images in question were transmitted across state lines
  • The images were produced or manufactured using materials that had been transported across state lines
These requirements are relatively easy to fulfill, as Florida courts have asserted that the use of the internet counts as being transmitted across state lines. Being tried in federal court can have serious consequences, as child pornography-related charges tend to be penalized severely. Defendants who are convicted of possessing child pornography, for example, face a minimum five year prison sentence that can be extended to 20 years. However, defendants who have a prior sex offense-related conviction on their criminal record could receive an enhanced sentence of up to 40 years imprisonment. Finally, like state charges, federal possession charges also tend to go hand in hand with additional accusations of promoting the sexual performance of a child or distributing child pornography in Clearwater, which can also play a role in the severity of a defendant’s sentence.
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