Child Pornography Charges are Serious and Require Seriously Experienced Defense Lawyers
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has criminal defense specialists that can protect you from overzealous prosecutors and do what is necessary to give you the strongest possible defense.
The United States government and most state law enforcement agencies are investing considerable resources in the investigation and prosecution of child pornography possession, distribution and production. While the ardent prosecution of these crimes is understandable and expected, law enforcement can become over-zealous. Even though any person may be subject to prosecution for child pornography charges, there is no legal excuse that justifies the wholesale violation of constitutional rights that frequently happens in these matters. When LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is hired to defend these charges, we ensure that our clients are treated with dignity, their constitutional rights are faithfully protected and they are defended zealously. When a strong defense is needed, there is no defense team in Michigan that has the resources, tenacity and aggressiveness to match the defense provided by our firm. Whether the strategy is for a victory at trial or to achieve a lenient sentence, we have the skill and knowledge to achieve the best possible outcome.
Federal Laws regarding Child Pornography
- 18 U.S.C. § 2251– Sexual Exploitation of Children (Production of child pornography)
- 18 U.S.C. § 2251A– Selling and Buying of Children
- 18 U.S.C. § 2252– Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors (Possession, distribution and receipt of child pornography)
- 18 U.S.C. § 2252A– certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography
- 18 U.S.C. § 2256– Definitions
- 18 U.S.C. § 2260– Production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States
Michigan Laws Regarding Child Pornography
- MCL § 750.145C – Child Sexually Abusive Activity or Material, Possession of Child Sexually Abusive Material
- MCL § 752.365 – Obscenity – First Offense Misdemeanor, Second or Subsequent Offense is a Felony
- MCL § 750.145d – Use of internet or computer system to Commit a Crime
Child Pornography Defense in Federal Court
Federal courts have ruled that images depicting child pornography are illegal and not protected under the First Amendment. Child pornography is any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age). Visual depictions include photographs, videos, digital or computer-generated images indistinguishable from an actual minor, and images created, adapted, or modified, appearing to depict a minor. Undeveloped film, undeveloped videotape, and electronically stored data that can be converted into a visual image of child pornography are also deemed illegal visual depictions under federal law.
Notably, the legal definition of sexually explicit conduct does not require that an image depict a child engaging in sexual activity. Not all images of unclothed children are pornography. A picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive.
The age of consent for sexual activity in a given state is irrelevant; any depiction of a minor under 18 years of age engaging in sexually explicit conduct is illegal. For example, the age of consent in Michigan is 16. A sexually suggestive image of a 16 or 17-year-old in Michigan would be considered child pornography.
Federal law prohibits the production, distribution, reception, and possession of an image of child pornography using or affecting any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce (See 18 U.S.C. § 2251; 18 U.S.C. § 2252; 18 U.S.C. § 2252A). Specifically, Section 2251 makes it illegal to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for purposes of producing visual depictions of that conduct. Any individual who attempts or conspires to commit a child pornography offense is also subject to prosecution under federal law.
Federal jurisdiction applies if the child pornography offense occurred in interstate or foreign commerce. Foreign or interstate commerce includes, for example, using the U.S. Mail or common carriers to transport child pornography across state or international borders. Additionally, federal jurisdiction almost always applies when the Internet is used to commit a child pornography violation. Even if the child pornography image itself did not travel across state or international borders, federal law enforcement is a concern if the materials, such as the computer used to download the image or the CD Rom used to store the image, originated or previously traveled in interstate or foreign commerce.
In addition, Section 2251A of Title 18, United States Code, specifically prohibits any parent, legal guardian or other person in custody or control of a minor under the age of 18, to buy, sell, or transfer custody of that minor for purposes of producing child pornography.
Call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. today if you are accused of possessing, receiving, distributing, or producing child pornography.
Any accusation that someone violated state or federal child pornography law is extremely serious. Convicted offenders face severe prison sentences, lifetime registration as a sex offender, and years or decades of supervised release with onerous terms and conditions — for example, a first-time offender convicted of producing child pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2251, face fines, and a statutory minimum of 15 years to 30 years maximum in prison. An offender convicted of transporting child pornography in interstate or foreign commerce under 18 U.S.C. § 2252, faces fines and a statutory minimum of 5 years to 20 years maximum in prison. 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 these circumstances, a convicted offender may face up to life imprisonment. Experienced defense lawyers handling child pornography cases can potentially help you avoid prison and maybe even a conviction.
It is not a violation of double jeopardy for a defendant to be prosecuted under state child pornography laws in addition to, or instead of, federal law.
Defense of Child Pornography Charges in State and Federal Court
You need the strongest possible defense by attorneys if you have been accused of possession, production, receipt, or distribution of child pornography. An effective defense attorney must be fearless in court, and adept at handling state and federal prosecutors (also called Assistant United States Attorneys). We are prepared to take your case to trial if you are not guilty. On the other hand, we are proficient at achieving favorable plea bargains if a trial is not the best option. If there is a conviction, we can help facilitate a sentence that minimizes any jail or prison time and maximizes rehabilitation. Many people believe that this type of prosecution means that life is over. We know this isn’t true, and we can help you. Please call the law firm of LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our attorneys will call you.
“We Are Not Afraid To Win”
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.