fbpx
FREE CONSULTATIONTEXT OR CALL 24/7
Free Consultation:

Is Child Porn a Federal Crime?

There is no way around it, child pornography and the sexual exploitation of children is an incredibly serious accusation. If you are facing charges related to producing child pornography, possessing child pornography, or distributing child pornography involving anyone under 18, you need to make sure you have got a qualified child pornography defense attorney who understands the porn laws regarding child pornography and what your defenses might be if you must face these kinds of charges.

Before you get to court, however, there is another question to resolve: is child pornography a state or federal law? In either case, you are facing a serious charge, but federal law is usually more serious with harsher penalties. A federal child pornography charge can carry a minimum sentence of five years, with maximum penalties reaching 20 years.

Is Child Porn a Federal Crime?

There is one basic rule for whether you are dealing with federal child pornography laws, was child pornography transported across state lines? If the accusation only deals with providers and possession in Michigan, then the charges will be at the state level. However, if you allegedly took possession of child pornography and the sexually explicit conduct originated in another state, you are likely dealing with federal prosecutors. If the action occurred on federal property, that is a violation of federal law, which means you are also liable to deal with federal child pornography charges.

With the rise of the internet, it has become easier than ever for child pornography cases to end up becoming a violation of federal law. Remember, a child pornography offense can start out in state court, but eventually move to federal court if it is determined that images or actions crossed state lines. When you are dealing with the potential of federal prison, you need to make sure you have an experienced attorney who understands how to defend your rights when accused of a child pornography offense (see: what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer).

What Qualifies as a Federal Crime Regarding Child Pornography Images?

First, it is important to remember that on its own, pornography is not a crime. If images or actions take place between two or more consenting adults and all parties are above the age of 18, it is highly likely that no crime took place.

In order to be convicted of a child pornography charge, the person depicted in sexually explicit conduct must be a minor. In the case of production of child pornography, ignorance is not a defense. If you are facing charges for producing child pornography, you are expected to know the age of the person in question and make sure that they have reached the age of consent, no matter what.

If you are facing a possession charges related to the sexually explicit depictions of children, however, you can claim ignorance in certain situations. In the case of teenagers, many 16 and 17-year olds look like 18-year olds, and the difference between them can be so negligible that the accused could reasonably think the victim was actually 18 or older. In order to be convicted of possession of child pornography, it must be clear that you knew the victim was not a legal adult.

Finally, it must be clear that the material came across state lines. That can be as simple as downloading illegal child porn from the internet with intent to view it, as long as the prosecution can show that the material did not initiate in Michigan. Even downloading materials can qualify for this charge, as long as the prosecution can prove that you knowingly looked at child pornography. This is why it is a must to be careful on the internet and make sure you have a qualified and experienced internet sex crimes lawyer who can help with accusations of possession of child pornography.

How Can You Defend Against Possession of Child Pornography?

If you are facing a charge related to a child pornography image under federal law, you should know that consent alone is not always a defense to avoid federal prison. For example, the Michigan age of consent is just 16, but the age required to avoid a child pornography offense is 18. That means that a person who takes pictures of a consenting 17-year old having sexual intercourse and distributes the material could find themselves facing charges for distributing child pornography images.

Consent might not be enough to avoid federal possession of child pornography charges, but there are several strategies that can and will work with an experienced defense lawyer, including the following:

The Sexually Explicit Conduct Was Not Child Pornography

In order to be convicted of a child pornography charge, it must be proven that the image actually depicts sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. According to Justice Potter Stewart in the 1964 case of Jacobellis v. Ohio, there is no set definition of what qualifies as pornography, only that the person making the decision knows it when they see it.

Per that standard, if the image depicted was less than tasteful, but not quite to the level of sexually explicit conduct, it would not be considered child pornography, even if a child was involved. By the opposite standard, if you can prove that the person in the image was of legal age, any federal possession charge would fall apart in federal court.

You Clicked a Spam Link

In this day and age, computers are often used to commit crimes relating to child pornography (see: what are internet sex crimes?). The standards for a federal crime can be as simple as clicking on a link that displays a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. That is because clicking on a link is enough to trigger federal child pornography charges on the basis that you have the ability to distribute images from the moment that you click on the link and access it on your computer.

With that said, you do have a defense here. Clicking a spam link can establish a defense, especially if you removed the image from your computer and did not distribute it to anybody. If you have no record of any crimes that could establish you as a sex offender, you will have a much better chance of establishing a strong defense off of a spam link.

It Was Not You

Even if you did have child pornography on your computer and the federal prosecutors can track the transport of child pornography over state lines to it, that does not mean that you have no defense, especially if you have a shared computer. If you shared your computer with someone else in your home and had a reasonable alibi to suggest someone else might have been using the machine, you could use that as a possible defense.

This only works if you have a firm and reasonable explanation that someone else could have been using your computer, and did so on a regular basis. If you can show that someone else could have downloaded the images, you have a reasonable chance to create doubt about guilt.

You Had Fewer than Three Images

If there is no doubt of your guilt in downloading images, you still have a defense if you have less than three images on your computer and deleted the images right away. This can be an excellent defense if someone else sent you unrequested images that are deemed illegal visual depictions. If you removed the images from your computer as soon as you knew what they were, that can be a strong point in your favor.

What if Someone Uses a Search Engine?

There is some good news here; entering child pornography into a search engine is not a crime. If someone searched for child pornography on your computer, you do not have to worry about reporting them or having to deal with federal sentencing guidelines for an illegal activity. That is because most search engines have filters in place that ensure that someone searching for child pornography will only come up with lawyers related to sexual exploitation and other crimes, or an explanation of the law. Under federal law, only a visual depiction of child pornography can qualify as criminal behavior.

With that said, the absence of guilt related to child pornography does not mean that you can just ignore a charge of sexual exploitation of a minor. If you are facing an accusation, you need to take it seriously from the minute you are accused, and that means working with an attorney like Nicole Blank Becker to protect your rights. Having the right sex crimes defense lawyer on your side can help protect you from the federal government, as Nicole can help you establish a strong defense and explain what you can and should do to protect your rights.

Nicole work side-by-side

What Should I Do if Accused of Federal Child Pornography Charges?

Above all, you should not speak to the federal law agents before you get a chance to speak to a criminal defense lawyer. When the federal courts accuse someone of transport of child pornography, they are going to do whatever they can to try to get a confession out of you and use it against you in federal court (learn what happens if I don’t talk to a detective here).

As with most sex crimes, there is nothing you can say that will help you without your criminal sexual conduct attorney present. The more that you speak to federal agents, the more likely you are to say something that could incriminate you. Instead, your first move should be to speak to Attorney Nicole Blank Becker and start establishing a strong defense to protect your rights under federal law.

Hire Blank Law, PC

Nicole Calling Card

When you are facing a child pornography accusation, whether it is federal child pornography charges or a state-level issue, you are dealing with a serious situation. With years of experience on both sides of the aisle, as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, Nicole Blank Becker has the knowledge and skill needed to protect your rights and develop a strong defense that goes right to how federal prosecutors think. If you are dealing with charges related to sexual exploitation of a child, you need to speak to Nicole Blank Becker right away to start building your case and protect your freedom!

3150 Livernois Rd. Suite 126
Troy, MI 48083
(248) 515-6583
law@nicoleblankbecker.com

We accept the following payment methods:
blank


We serve the following counties: Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County, Washtenaw County, Ingham County, Lapeer County, Genesee County, Livingston County, etc.

We serve the following cities: Center Line, Eastpointe, Fraser, Grosse Pointe Shores, Memphis, Mount Clemens, New Baltimore, Richmond, Roseville, St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights, Utica, Warren, Auburn Hills, Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Clarkston, Clawson, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Fenton, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Keego Harbor, Lake Angelus, Lathrup Village, Madison Heights, Northville, Novi Oak Park, Orchard Lake Village, Pleasant Ridge, Pontiac, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak, South Lyon, Southfield Sylvan Lake, Troy, Walled Lake, Wixom, Allen Park, Belleville, Dearborn Heights, Dearborn, Detroit, Ecorse, Flat Rock, Garden City, Gibraltar, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe Shores, Grosse Pointe Woods, Hamtramck, Harper Woods, Highland Park, Inkster, Lincoln Park, Livonia, Melvindale, Northville, Plymouth, River Rouge, Riverview, Rockwood, Romulus, Southgate, Taylor, Trenton, Wayne, Westland, Woodhaven and Wyandotte.


Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Lawyer
MI Sex Crimes Attorney
Blank Law, PC


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Back To Top