Transmission of Child Pornography to a Minor

Clearwater Criminal Lawyer for Sex Crime Charges Involving Children

Child pornography is widely available on the internet. Possessing any type of this pornography can result in serious criminal charges. One child pornography or obscenity charge that is taken very seriously is transmission of child pornography to a minor. If child pornography is found on your computer, a further investigation may occur to determine whether you were involved in transmitting it to a minor. You should retain an experienced Clearwater child pornography lawyer as soon as you realize that you are being investigated. At Hanlon Law, we provide dedicated representation to people accused of sex crimes.

Transmission of Child Pornography to a Minor

Under Florida Statute section 847.0133, it is illegal to knowingly transmit, give, loan, rent, sell, or show any obscene material to a child under the age of 18. Obscene materials include a wide range of materials. These include the presentation or representation of sexual acts, sexual excitement, or nudity that mostly appeals to a shameful, morbid, or prurient interest. It is considered patently offensive according to prevailing community standards as to what is suitable for children, and it is without serious political, scientific, artistic, or literary value when taken as a whole.

Child pornography is considered one type of obscene material. A related charge may be sexting. To prove the crime of the transmission of harmful material to minors by electronic equipment, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly sent an image that you knew or believed was harmful to children, you sent it to a specific person whom you knew or believed to be under age 18, and you transmitted the image through email.

Regardless of whether you provide obscene material in person, such as in a magazine, or through email, this is treated as a third-degree felony. You face the possibility of five years’ imprisonment or probation and $5,000 in fines.

You can face enhanced punishments if you were an authority figure in a school setting, and the victim was a student. Authority figures include anyone who is 18 years old or older and who is employed by, volunteers at, or has a contract with a school. It could include, for example, a music teacher, choir director, soccer coach, art teacher, tutor, principal, administrative staff member, church teacher, or parent volunteer. If you are convicted as an authority figure of transmitting child pornography to a child who is a student, the crime will be reclassified as a second-degree felony. This means that you face up to 15 years in prison or on probation, as well as a $10,000 fine.

There are defenses available to a transmission charge. Sometimes the best way for an attorney to attack such a charge is the issue of "knowingly." Knowingly means that you had a general knowledge, reason to know, or basis for believing. This must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We may be able to show that there is not enough evidence to prove that you knowingly transmitted child pornography by providing a different explanation.

In other cases, it may be possible to attack the charge by showing constitutional or procedural violations by the police. For example, sometimes there is no probable cause to obtain a warrant to search someone's email or computer for evidence of transmission. Some courts require something more than membership on a child pornography site to substantiate a person's sexual interest in kids or child pornography. In some cases, it may be possible to get evidence suppressed if it was found as a result of a search conducted without probable cause.

Consult an Internet Sex Crime Attorney in Clearwater

If you are being investigated for child pornography, it can be helpful to hire an attorney even before formal charges are filed. This allows your lawyer to get your version of what happened in front of the prosecutor early in the investigation. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation in the Clearwater area since 1994. We are dedicated to guarding the rights of the accused. You can call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or use our online form.