Child Pornography Charges in Florida

Getting accused of a child pornography offense can have devastating effects on your life and future. Florida has extremely strict laws in place to protect children from exploitation and to prosecute those involved in the possession, production, distribution, or promotion of child pornography.

If you or someone you know is facing allegations related to child pornography, it is crucial that you understand the seriousness of the charges, along with the potential consequences if you are convicted. This page will delve into the intricacies of Florida’s laws on child pornography, federal penalties, and defenses to fight the charges against you.

South Florida Child Pornography Attorney

At Ian Goldstein Law, our firm understands the gravity of sex crime accusations and the impact they can have on your future. Mr. Goldstein specializes in defending those who have been criminally accused. If you are facing criminal charges in Palm Beach County or the surrounding South Florida areas, contact one of our attorneys experienced in sex crimes to discuss your case. Receive a risk-free consultation today by contacting our firm at (561) 600-0950.

What Constitutes as Child Pornography?

Child pornography is any depiction of a minor—whether it be an image, video, film, or presentation—depicted in a sexual manner. Florida Statute Section 847.001 defines a “minor” as a child under the age of 18. The term “sexual conduct” includes any of the following:

  • Actual or simulated sexual intercourse;
  • Deviant sexual intercourse;
  • Sexual bestiality;
  • Masturbation;
  • Sadomasochistic abuse;
  • Actual or simulated lewd exhibition of the genitals;
  • Actual physical contact with a person’s clothed or unclothed:
    • Genitals;
    • Pubic Area;
    • Buttocks; or
    • Female breast area

with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of either party; or

  • Any act or conduct which constitutes sexual battery or simulates that sexual battery is being or will be committed.

Possession of Child Pornography

In Florida, it is unlawful for any person to have in their possession content that is considered child pornography. Specifically under Florida Statute Section 827.071, it is illegal for any individual to knowingly possess, control, or intentionally view a depiction of a minor which is represented as child pornography.

Depictions of a minor can include the following:

  • Images;
  • Videos;
  • Exhibitions or Shows;
  • Computer Data Files;
  • Streaming or Downloaded Videos; or
  • Any other image, video, or depiction.

One important detail regarding child pornography offenses is that each depiction can be charged as a separate offense. For example, a defendant who is caught with three different images of child pornography could face three counts of possession of child pornography. Similarly, if the illegal content contains more than one child, each child in such image, film, or other depiction can be counted as a separate offense.

 Additional Child Pornography Offenses

In addition to a charge for possession of child pornography, the following lists other criminal offenses relating to child pornography:

Sexual Performance by a Child

Florida Statute Section 827.071(2-4) explains it is unlawful for any person to knowingly:

  • Employ, authorize, or induce a minor under 18 to engage in sexual performance or, as the parent, legal guardian, or custodian of such child, consent to the participation in a sexual performance by such child;
  • Produce, direct, or promote the sexual conduct of a minor under 18; or
  • Possess with the intent to promote any photo, film, exhibition, or other presentation, which includes any sexual conduct by a minor. Important: the possession of three or more copies of such a depiction is prime facie evidence of the intent to promote.

Computer Pornography

Florida Statute Section 847.0135 explains it is unlawful for any person to knowingly:

  • Compile, enter, or transmit by use of computer;
  • Make, print, publish, or reproduce by other computerized means;
  • Cause or allow to be entered into or transmitted by use of computer; or
  • Buy, sell, receive, exchange, or disseminate,

any notice, statement, or advertisement of any minor’s name, telephone number, place of residence, physical characteristics, or any other descriptive or identifiable information for the purpose of facilitating, encouraging, offering, or soliciting sexual conduct with a minor.

Transmission of Material Harmful to Minors by Electronic Device

Florida Statute Section 847.0138 explains it is unlawful for any person to knowingly transmit an image, information, or data that is considered harmful to minors to an individual known or believed to be a minor by the alleged offender.

Penalties for Child Pornography

A person accused of a child pornography offense in Florida will face varying penalties depending on the type of offense they are charged with. Each offense includes penalties such as expensive fines, extensive prison sentences, probation, and registration as a sexual offender.

A possession of child pornography charge is considered a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony conviction carries up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

A charge for manufacturing, promoting, or distributing child pornography is considered a second-degree felony. A charge for promoting sexual performance by a child is also considered a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony conviction carries up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.

A charge for the production, distribution, or promotion of child pornography classified as “Sexual Performance by a Child” and with the intent to promote the sexual gratification of themselves or others is considered a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony conviction carries up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.

Additionally, each depiction of child pornography found in a defendant’s possession is counted as a separate criminal offense.

Possessing Four or More Examples of Child Pornography

Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code lists each criminal offense and its mandatory sentence. A single possession of child pornography charge is ranked as a level 5 severity on the Criminal Punishment Code. If convicted, the judge can sentence the defendant to sex offender probation, or up to the statutory maximum of five years of imprisonment.

However, a defendant charged with the possession of four or more examples of child pornography would be sentenced to at least a minimum mandatory 12 months in prison, plus an additional four months for each additional convicted child pornography offense.

Aggravated Child Pornography

A defendant may face more severe penalties for certain child pornography offenses. Aggravated child pornography is explained under Florida Statute Section 775.0847(2) as the possession of 10 or more depictions of child pornography, when it depicts any of the following content:

  • Child younger than 5;
  • Sadomasochistic abuse of a child;
  • Sexual battery involving a child;
  • Sexual bestiality involving a child; or
  • Any motion picture, video, or computer-generated motion picture involving a child.

Florida Statute Section 775.0847(2) explains that when a defendant is charged with an aggravated child pornography offense, the penalties are reclassified to the next higher degree. That means a third-degree felony is then a second-degree felony, and a second-degree felony is reclassified to a first-degree felony.

Federal Penalties

In addition to Florida’s laws against child pornography, the federal government also considers possessing or distributing child pornography a serious criminal offense. That means a defendant can face both State and Federal penalties for crimes involving child pornography.

Federal laws regarding child pornography offenses include the following:

  • 18 U.S.C. § 2251- Sexual Exploitation of Children (Production of child pornography)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2251A- Selling and Buying of Children
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252- Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors (Possession, distribution, and receipt of child pornography)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252 - Certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography.
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2256 – Definitions
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2260- Production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States

It is important to note that any violation of the above federal child pornography laws is taken extremely seriously. Even first-time offenders can face a statutory minimum of 15 years in federal prison. Defendants with prior convictions or in aggravated situations may face more severe penalties, with up to life in prison.

A person accused of possessing, producing, or distributing child pornography may be prosecuted under both State and Federal law.

Florida Sex Offender Registry

In addition to paying fines and facing lenghty imprisonment, a person convicted of a child pornography offense will also be required to register under the Florida Sex Offender Registry.

Registration as a sex offender is required for individuals convicted of specific sex crimes. The registered person is required to remain on the list for life, which includes their publicized personal information. Those who are registered will be prohibited from working and living near children, which can make it extremely difficult to find a place to live or work. You can find out more about the regulations on the Florida Sex Offender Registry website.

Defenses to Child Pornography Charges

Due to the nature of the offense, child pornography cases require a tough legal defense. Far too often those accused of possessing child pornography are considered guilty before the case even begins. This is why it is important to work with an experienced legal counsel who understands the ins and outs of the law. Possible defenses to a child pornography charge include:

  • The child pornography was not intentionally or knowingly possessed by the defendant;
  • The defendant lacked the intent to download or obtain the alleged child pornography;
  • Computer virus caused unintended download of child pornography;
  • The alleged “minors” in the depicted material were 18 or older;
  • The alleged child pornography was considered “child erotica” which is legal and lacks the legal definition of “sexually explicit conduct;”
  • The alleged child pornography was found as the result of an unlawful search and seizure by law enforcement; or
  • Entrapment used by law enforcement.

The specific details surrounding each case, and the defenses which may be used will vary depending on the facts of the case. If you are facing charges for child pornography, contact a skilled defense attorney today to discuss your options for defending your case.

Contact a South Florida Defense Attorney

Any sex crime involving children will be harshly prosecuted. Do not face these charges alone—if you or a loved one has been accused of possessing child pornography, your first step should be seeking criminal defense. A skilled defense attorney can work towards getting your charges lessened or dropped completely.

Ian Goldstein Law has comprehensive knowledge of Florida’s child pornography laws and understanding of the legal system. By working with our firm, our committed defense attorneys are determined to provide your case with a strong and effective defense. Our team will thoroughly investigate the details of your case and ensure none of your rights are violated. To receive a free consultation, call our office today at  (561) 600-0950.

Drug Charge Practice Areas