Teen charged for sexting brings attention to child porn laws

Child pornography laws are harsh and can lead to serious penalties. Those accused of the crime in Florida can face both state and federal charges.

Various laws are in place to help keep children safe from harm. One subset involves laws addressing the possession, distribution, transmission or manufacture of child pornography. Although these laws are intended to help protect society, it is important to note that false accusations or simple mistakes can lead to allegations that have devastating consequences.

One example of the serious accusations that can come with a simple mistake involved a young teen who was charged with distribution of child pornography for posting nude pictures of herself, or "selfies," online. This young girl could face felony charges. If convicted, the felony charges could translate to prison time and a criminal record, not to mention the social stigma tied to a conviction for a sex crime.

This is just one example used to illustrate the impact of these allegations. Those who are accused of these or similar crimes can benefit by becoming more familiar with the law and the potential impact of the charges.

Child pornography laws in Florida

Florida state law defines child pornography as any image that depicts a minor engaged in sexual conduct. The law further defines a minor as anyone under the age of 18. The term sexual conduct has a fairly broad definition which includes intercourse, sexual abuse and exhibition of genitals.

It is illegal to possess, distribute, transmit or manufacture child pornography in the state. Violations are charged as third degree felonies. Criminal penalties for a third degree felony conviction include the following:

  • Imprisonment. Conviction can lead to up to five years in jail time.
  • Monetary fine. A conviction can also lead to a fine of up to $5,000.

The severity of these penalties can increase depending on the details of the charges. It is also important for those charged with these crimes to note that both state and federal charges could apply. Federal charges for producing child pornography can lead to additional fines and a prison sentence ranging in duration from 15 to 20 years.

Defenses available

Defenses are available to those charged with these crimes. The appropriate defense will vary depending on each situation. Perhaps the most basic defense is that of innocence. In order for the charges to become a conviction the allegations must be proven. This generally requires evidence. A criminal defense attorney can review the evidence used to support the charges to make sure it was gathered properly. An attorney will also review the evidence to make sure it is sufficient to support a conviction. Any errors or insufficient evidence could lead to a reduction or dismissal of charges.

This is just one of many areas a sex crime defense lawyer can review to build a case for your innocence. If you are charged with a child pornography or similar offense, contact an attorney to help better protect your legal rights.

Keywords: criminal defense sex crimes