California Penal Code 311 Child Pornography Laws
Child pornography laws are defined under California Penal Code 311 PC and make it a crime to possess knowingly, distribute, produce, publicize, duplicate, sell or print child porn in any form. You can violate PC 311 child porn laws in different ways, whether viewing, downloading, or distributing child pornography.
To be convicted of a child porn crime, the prosecutor will have to prove all the elements of the crime listed under CALCRIM 1141 California criminal jury instructions:
- You knowingly had possession of images that depicted minors engaging in sexual activity;
- You knew that the images showed someone under 18 engaging in sexual acts.
Put simply, to get convicted of violating Penal Code 311; it must be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, you knowingly were in possession or had control over any obscene material showing a minor engaging or simulating sexual activity. Related Penal Code Sections include:
- Penal Code 311.11 PC prohibits knowingly possessing any child pornography that was produced using a person under 18 years old;
- Penal Code 311.10 PC prohibits knowingly advertising obscene child porn for sale or distribution;
- Penal Code 311.3 PC prohibits knowingly developing, duplicating, printing, or exchanging any child pornography;
- Penal Code 311.4 PC prohibits hiring, employing, persuading, coercing, a minor to participate in producing child pornography:
- Penal Code 288 PC makes it a crime for someone to commit lewd acts on a child;
- Penal Code 261.5 PC statutory rape laws make it a crime to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor.
Federal Child Pornography Laws – 18 U.S.C. § 2252
Title 18 U.S. Code Section 2252 makes it a federal crime to willfully possess, create, distribute, or transport child pornography.
Under the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996, child pornography is defined as any visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, whether made or produced by electronic or other methods.
This federal statute makes it a crime to possess, receive, or distribute sexual images of minors. If you willfully have possession or access to child pornography with intent to view it, then you are violating federal law.
If you are convicted of violating 18 U.S.C. § 2252 child porn laws, then you could be sentenced to up to 15 years in federal prison for each offense and will be listed on various sex offender registries.
Investigating child porn cases frequently occurs as an undercover operation in chat rooms where federal law enforcement agents posing as adults interested in child pornography images or videos. A related federal crime is 18 U.S.C. § 2251 sexual exploitation of children, which prohibits anyone from attempting to convince a minor to produce child pornography.
Will I Go to Jail Charged with Child Pornography in California?
On the issue of getting jail time in a child porn case, the bottom line is that it depends on whether or not you're charged at the state or federal level. You could certainly go to jail or prison at state and federal levels. Still, in my opinion, doing both state and federal child pornography cases, I think you're much more apt to go to prison if you're charged at the federal level.
The feds don't usually mess with child pornography cases unless it involves many images, photographs, or videos. If there's a lot involved and the feds get involved, you can bet they're going to be looking to:
- put you in prison for a significant length of time,
- depending on what your criminal record looks like, and
- depending on what type of images you're looking at.
The more serious, the more shocking the images are, the more likely they're going to send you to federal prison, and you'll serve any federal prison time at 85%.
But even at the state level for child pornography cases, if you've got a criminal record, if you have prior sex offenses and pick up a child pornography case, they're going to be looking at sending you to prison. So, your attorney would have to fight very hard to keep you out of jail if they've got the evidence against you.
Defenses for Child Pornography Cases
When they come into your house and execute a search warrant, they seize your computers, your tablets, your phones; they're going to try to identify who owns them right from the beginning because they know that one of the defenses that people have in child pornography cases is, that's not my computer.
Somebody else uses that computer, or that's not my phone. So, they're trying to fix that problem from the beginning to get you or one of your loved ones to admit that your computer and you're the only one who uses it. So, it's crucial when the government comes at you that you want to make sure you get a criminal defense lawyer right away.
I have been defending people charged with child pornography at state and federal levels. These are the types of cases in that people are sent into custody as some of the most severe punishment, but they're also the types of issues that sometimes can be defended.
Avoiding Custody Time in Child Porn Cases
Even if they can't be defended, there are times; if they're handled the right way and a mitigation package is put together, people could avoid custody time under the right circumstances.
Of course, people are scared to go into custody for various reasons. First and foremost, their safety is going into custody with a child pornography conviction.
Secondly, there's the Coronavirus and health-related concerns. Of course, nobody wants to go into custody because you want to provide for yourself your family, and obviously, not be taken out of commission.
So, you've come to the right place. You've taken the first step. Take the next step. Pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding if you're being charged with a child pornography case.
We'll sit down and go over everything, and we'll get a good strategy together to make the strongest argument to keep you out of both jail and prison and protect your rights, freedom, and reputation. Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our firm for a free consultation at (213) 542-0940.