Charges involving child pornography and child sexually abusive material are extremely serious and require an equally serious legal defense.
Child Pornography Defense Lawyer in Michigan
Arguably, the seminal case involving child pornography laws in the United States, New York v. Ferber, stands for the position that the First Amendment does not prohibit states from creating and enforcing laws banning the sale of material depicting children engaged in sexual activity. The United States Supreme Court ruled the government can ban child pornography without regard to whether there is a ruling that the sexually abusive material is “obscene.” Defendants charged in state or federal court with charges related to alleged child pornography are best defended by a highly experienced, effective, and zealous. There is no room for error in the defense of federal or state child pornography charges.
Experienced Child Pornography Defense Lawyer
The basis of the decision in Ferber was that the government has a compelling interest in protecting children from sexual exploitation and abuse, and the distribution of child pornography is intrinsically related to that abuse. The court went on to rule that even depictions of children engaging in sexual activity may properly and constitutionally be banned. Depictions mean images that appear to be of children but are not real.
Child Pornography Cases are Aggressively Prosecuted and Harshly Punished
Any time there is a possession, receipt, or delivery of child pornography or CSAM charge, competent, experienced, and effective legal representation is critical. The length of federal child pornography sentences has increased 500 percent in the last 15 years. These allegations are emotionally charged, and prosecutors lose perspective and are unable to consider mitigating information objectively. This lack of perspective can relate not just to whether the suspect or defendant is guilty but also regarding the existence of extenuating factors, mental health issues, or the degree to which the defendant is guilty. Similarly, judges often become biased against a defendant when making rulings on motions or imposing a sentence. It is the defense lawyer’s job to stand up to over-zealous prosecutors and effectively persuade judges that are not being fair and just.
Possible Child Pornography Charges in State and Federal Court
Different types of child pornography and child sexually abusive material (CSAM) charges are prosecuted in state and federal courts throughout Michigan and the United States. The determination of whether a state prosecutor or the United States Attorney handles a case may depend on the law enforcement agency involved in the investigation, whether the case has national or international connections, and the scale and scope of the offense. The penalties in all courts are extremely serious and often involve mandatory minimum sentences in federal court. Virtually all convictions of this type require the defendant to register as a sex offender upon being released from incarceration. A successful and effective Child Pornography Defense Lawyer in Michigan can help reduce or eliminate charges or assist a client with avoiding lengthy prison time. In some cases, the defense attorney is most helpful if he or she can convince a judge that mental health treatment is more appropriate than jail or prison. A judge should focus on rehabilitation instead of being solely concerned with punishment.
- Possession of Child Pornography
- Possession – Second or Subsequent Offense
- Receipt of Child Pornography
- Distribution of Child Pornography
- Using a Computer to Commit a Crime
- Manufacture of Child Pornography
- Trafficking in Child Pornography
- Criminal Sexual Conduct
- Child Abuse
- CSAM Production
Penalties for a Child Pornography Conviction and Related Offenses
Any of the above-listed offenses carries possible prison time, and several of them carry mandatory minimum sentences between 5 and 15 years. Convicted offenders may face harsher penalties if the offender has prior convictions or if the child pornography offense occurred in aggravated situations defined as (i) the images are violent, sadistic, or masochistic in nature, (ii) the minor was sexually abused, or (iii) the offender has prior convictions for child sexual exploitation. In most cases, sentences in state court tend to be lower, lack a mandatory minimum, and have lower sentencing guidelines. On the other hand, an offender charged in state court as a Fourth Habitual may face the possibility of life in prison. For receipt and distribution of child pornography in federal court, there are harsh mandatory minimum sentences that can increase drastically depending on the existence of prior convictions or the nature of the images received, manufactured, trafficked, or distributed.
How a Top Child Pornography Defense Lawyer in Michigan Can Make the Difference
All hope is not lost when an allegation is made involving the alleged receipt, possession, or distribution of child pornography. Various defenses may be effective in these cases and can result in the dismissal of charges. Any defense, even if not perfect, can increase the defense attorney’s bargaining power and result in favorable plea bargains or less time in jail. The best time to hire a Michigan Child Pornography Defense Lawyer is during the investigation of the case and before criminal charges are issued. When hired on a pre-charge basis, a great lawyer can often take measures to control the damage and limit the client’s exposure to serious charges and a potentially lengthy prison sentence. In some cases, an experienced and astute defense attorney can prevent the filing of a complaint or indictment.
If you are already charged or indicted on federal or state child pornography-related charges, it is not too late for us to help you. Each Child Pornography Defense Lawyer with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., has extensive experience in successfully defending all aspects of these cases. Whether we are attempting to get a case dismissed, evidence suppressed, charges reduced, or a sentence reduced, we can be powerful advocates for you in and out of court.
If you are a suspect in any case related to child pornography or SCAM or if you are facing charges, we can help you. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. provides the highest possible level of legal representation and defense. You will not be judged or criticized, and we will treat you with compassion and dignity. We will take the time to listen to you, answer your questions, and alleviate your concerns.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.