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Long Island Child Pornography Defense Attorney

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If you’ve been charged with child pornography offenses, you are facing serious potential consequences. A conviction can mean significant fines, prison time and probation, plus the requirement that you register as a sex offender. All of this will affect your employment, your ability to acquire housing, and much more.

You need aggressive legal representation to review the allegations against you, discuss your options, and prepare a strong defense. If you are facing child pornography charges on Long Island or in the greater New York area, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Barket Epstein.

What Is Considered Child Pornography?

Child pornography generally includes any depiction of sexual conduct by a child (anyone under 16 or 17 years of age, depending on the offense). Sexual conduct includes actual and simulated sex acts, as well as the lewd display of genitals. Possession of child pornography is illegal under both New York and federal law.

New York child pornography laws refer to the “sexual performance by a child” and are broadly divided into promoting and possessing categories:

Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child
This means producing, directing, or promoting a performance that includes sexual conduct by a child under the age of 17. Under the umbrella of “a performance” are movies, photographs, digital or live plays, and other visual images. “Promoting” covers any act of transmitting the images, such as posting them online, selling, trading, or offering them or otherwise making the material available for others. Often, this is done using the internet: email, online message boards, and data shares.

Possessing a Sexual Performance by a Child
This offense includes the possession of images of sexual conduct by a child under the age of 16. Many types of materials can fall under this category, such as books, pictures, and movies. Possession includes having the material on your person or your property.

Does Child Pornography Cover “Sexting”?
In recent years, a troublesome legal issue has arisen involving “sexting.” Sexting is the taking, sending, and receiving of explicit sexual images through an electronic medium (usually texting, or text messaging). Although child pornography laws were enacted to protect children from predatory adults, many teenagers engage in sexting. New York has programs that allow teenagers to avoid criminal penalties by attending educational sessions. Sexting carries other consequences apart from the law, including disciplinary actions by schools.

What are the Penalties for Child Pornography Offenses?

Even if you are not convicted of a child pornography crime, the charge alone is stigmatizing enough to destroy your reputation. Because of this, many defendants feel pressured to take plea deals before too many people learn about the charges. But even a plea bargain can mean serious consequences for the defendant. And that’s to say nothing of what happens if you are tried and convicted.

First-time offenders can face harsh penalties, either at the federal or state level. Depending on your circumstances, and conviction, those penalties may include:

  • Significant prison time
  • Required registration as a sex offender
  • Probation
  • Reporting and supervision requirements
  • Heavy fines
  • Criminal record
  • Deportation

How Does Registration as a Sex Offender Work?

New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act requires that a New York resident convicted of a child pornography defense, under state or federal law, register as a sex offender. After being convicted, there is a hearing to determine the offender’s risk level. There are three risk levels:

  • Level 1 – low risk
  • Level 2 – moderate risk
  • Level 3 – high risk

The risk measures the likelihood that the individual will commit another sex crime and, therefore, the potential harm the person poses to the community. The risk level will determine how much information about the convicted individual may be publicized. Identifying information of Level 2 and 3 offenders may be published on New York’s online sex offender registry. This includes the person’s name, photograph, age, and other features. There may also be reporting requirements depending on the level assigned.

What Are Some Defenses to Child Pornography Charges?

Fighting child pornography charges often involves examination of forensic computer evidence since so many crimes involve the use of the internet. It also may involve challenging the prosecution’s evidence against you. The state is required to prove every element of any criminal charges in order to win a conviction. Each element must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

One defense is to challenge the prosecution’s charge that you had the required intent to break the law. If you in good faith did not believe the child was underage, or you did not actually download child pornography onto your computer, you might not be found guilty. In many cases, this will require investigating the IP address of the computer that accessed or downloaded the material.

In some cases, the victim depicted in the pornographic material was not underage. If the person does not meet the age requirements, then the material cannot qualify as child pornography.

Some individuals who are charged with child pornography crimes can raise defenses that concern their occupations. In other words, some jobs necessarily involve incidental contact with materials considered to be child pornography because of the necessity to screen for and/or report such material to law enforcement. Examples of occupations in this category include teachers or other educational personnel, social workers, and librarians.

As with any defense, the nature of the charges and the facts surrounding them will be key in determining what your attorney may argue. It’s important to understand whether you are facing state or federal charges (or both) since each may have unique elements. Your defense attorney will be able to explain the charges against you and help put together a defense.

Contact Our Long Island Child Pornography Defense Attorney Today

Sex crimes, especially those involving children, are aggressively prosecuted. The consequences of just being charged can alter the rest of your life, and a conviction almost certainly will. You need tough, experienced representation. Let the attorneys of Barket Epstein fight to protect your name and your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.