Orlando Child Pornography LawyersThe Orlando child pornography lawyers that work with us here at the Sex Crime Defense Team are all guaranteed to have the knowledge and experience to handle your case. Although all sex offenses are taken seriously in Florida, child pornography-related crimes are considered especially severe, whether they involve possession, distribution, manufacturing, or transmission via electronic device. Penalties range from third-degree felonies, which are punishable by five years in prison to first degree felonies, which could result in imprisonment for up to 30 years. The length of a sentence depends on a series of factors, including the type of charge, the number of images involved, whether the defendant has a prior criminal history, and whether the offense involved interstate commerce and so implicates federal law.
Production of Child Pornography in OrlandoUnder Fla. Stat. 827.071, a person is guilty of promoting the sexual performance of a child when he or she produces or directs any performance that includes sexual conduct by a minor. In many cases, this charge is accompanied by accusations that a defendant used a child in a sexual performance, which includes authorizing, employing, or inducing a minor to engage in a sexual performance. This law also specifically applies to parents or legal guardians who allow a child to participate in this type of performance.
Determining whether material satisfies the definition of a sexual performance is critical in these kinds of cases. Florida law defines a sexual performance as any performance that includes sexual conduct by a child. Conduct is only considered sexual in nature when it involves either simulated or actual intercourse, masturbation, lewd exhibition, actual physical touching of the private parts, sexual battery, abuse, or bestiality.
The medium must also qualify as a performance, which includes plays, films, photographs, dances, and any visual representation exhibited before an audience that involves sexual conduct. However, courts have held that a performance does not actually need to be exhibited to a third party to qualify as a sexual performance for purposes of this statute. According to the courts, an audience can consist of a single individual who can be the defendant. This means that the filming of an underage victim by a single person can still support a conviction of producing or manufacturing child pornography.
Besides proving that the material in question qualifies as a sexual performance and includes sexual conduct, prosecutors must also demonstrate that the defendant actually used a minor in the performance. Although courts have clarified that this does not mean that a minor must have been the person initiating the sexual conduct, it does mean that a minor under the age of 18 years old must have been involved in the portrayal in some way. For example, one state court explained that placing the images of real children on the bodies of adults who were involved in sexual conduct doesn’t qualify as promoting the sexual performance by a child because no actual children were engaged in the conduct. The court further stated that if the bodies themselves had belonged to children then the images would have qualified as sexual performance of a minor and the photographer or director could have been convicted of promoting a sexual performance.
Prohibited Defenses of Child Pornography in OrlandoProducing child pornography is a strict liability crime, which means that defendants are barred from raising certain defenses, including that:
- They were not aware that the minor was underage
- The minor lied and stated that he or she was over the age of 18 years old
- The minor or his or her parents consented to the performance
- They legitimately believed that the minor was an adult
Federal Law And How It Relates To Child Pornography in OrlandoThe production of child pornography is also prohibited by federal law, 18 U.S. Code § 2251, which allows for the prosecution of those who coerce, entice, or employ a minor to engage in the production of a photo, movie, or image that depicts sexually explicit conduct. Unlike most federal laws, a defendant does not need to have used interstate commerce in order to be charged in federal court. Instead, defendants can be convicted of producing child pornography if they knew or should have known that:
- The material would be transmitted on the internet or through the mail system
- The production of the material would require the use of materials or equipment that had perilously been transported in interstate commerce