Every child has a right to protection against all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Child pornography is defined under the law as any visual depiction of sexually explicit material involving a minor. The material can be represented by film, picture, computer image, or other means. Federal law prohibits any person from producing, distributing, importing, receiving, or possessing such content. An infringement of federal child pornography law is a serious crime that attracts heavy punishment for a first offender and even harsher criminal sentences for subsequent offenses.
Here is what to know about child pornography in Texas:
Texas laws regarding child pornography
Both the Federal government and the state of Texas prohibit the creation, promotion, or distribution of materials that depict acts of sexual nature involving children under the age of 18 years. These acts include exhibition of genitals or pubic area in a sexually suggestive manner, masturbation, intercourse, and other sexual activities. Each count of child pornography is categorized as a third-degree felony, attracting a sentence of between two and ten years upon conviction.
Once police learn that a certain household is sending or receiving child pornography online, they will obtain a search warrant, seize the equipment used in committing the crime, and commence an investigation. The officers will also seek to interrogate the suspect with the aim of getting a confession. Some child sexual abuse images will feature children in distress, while others will show children who appear to be complacent. Law enforcement agencies will work to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the people depicted in the images are under 18 years of age.
Penalties for child pornography in Texas
Courts of law in Texas do not take the issue of child pornography lightly. When determining an accused’s sentence, the court will consider factors such as the defendant’s role in the crime, the defendant’s history, and the age of the children involved in the sexual conduct.
Employing a minor, either through trafficking or forceful means, to produce pornography is a second-degree felony. In Texas, the crime carries a sentence of between two and 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. When the child is below 14, it becomes a first-degree felony, with a sentence of five to 99 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 upon conviction.
Producing and promoting child pornography knowingly is a third-degree felony. The offense attracts a sentence of two to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. When the minor is below 14, it becomes a second-degree felony with a sentence of between two and 20 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Intentional possession of child pornographic material is a third-degree felony with a possible sentence of two to 10 years in state prison and/ or a maximum fine of $10,000. When you are found with more than six identical pieces of child pornography, the law may assume that you had the intention of distributing the content. Intention to distribute is a second-degree felony that carries a sentence of two to 20 years in state prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Upon being convicted, child pornography offenders must register with the sex offender registry. The registry is not just a public record but will restrict where the individual can live and work.
Defenses to child pornography charges
To build a strong defense against child pornography charges, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The legal expert will help you challenge the evidence presented in court on several elements.
The first defense to child pornography charges will involve challenging the age of the person depicted in the image or film. We will work with pediatricians and medical experts to show that the individual may be over 18 years old.
A criminal defense attorney will also look at the evidence to determine whether the content actually shows the sexually explicit conduct prohibited by law. Some of the images collected may not qualify legally as child pornography.
In your defense, we will also show that you may not have knowingly been in possession of the images and that they were not intentionally obtained. Our experts can show that you were not intentionally searching for or mistakenly downloaded the pornographic materials.
When to speak to an attorney
There is no doubt that hiring an attorney who specializes in child pornography cases will help you avoid detainment, build a strong defense against the charges, and avoid the harsh criminal penalties. Immediately you know you are the subject of an investigation, you should contact an experienced lawyer. Whether you become aware of the investigation through a formal arrest or when charged with an offense, you should refrain from speaking to the prosecutor or law enforcement without an attorney present.
How to hire a lawyer for your child pornography case
Hiring a good lawyer will ensure your legal rights are protected and increase your chances of getting a favorable outcome. When hiring a lawyer for your case, the first thing you should consider is whether the legal expert has expertise in that particular criminal area. It would also be important to verify if the legal expert has handled a case like yours in the past and look at the outcome of the case. You should avoid working with plea attorneys who will not be ready to fight for you and will instead accept the offer from the District Attorney. Make sure that the attorney is aggressive and will not be intimidated when fighting for your freedom.
Call us when you need help
It takes a great deal of experience to defend federal child pornography charges successfully. Kent Starr is an aggressive and experienced criminal lawyer who will not be intimidated by any DA or judge. Mr. Starr has worked on many child pornography cases previously and delivered impressive results. The attorney will not only work hard to bond you out of jail but also build a strong criminal defense to make sure the scales of justice are balanced. This helps to ensure your legal rights are protected throughout the process. Call us today at 214-982-1408 for a free, confidential telephone consultation.