An Email Can Result in Production of Child Pornography Charges
A conviction for the production and transportation of child pornography can result just from a CSAM image embedded in an email, instant message, online chat, or social media post.
Child Pornography Charges in State and Federal Court
Because the law aims to protect the weak and defenseless, crimes involving children typically result in severe penalties. Anyone detained for child pornography, also known as Child Sexually Abusive Material (CSAM), has the danger of doing time in jail, receiving a hefty fine, or both. Child pornography is illegal on a federal level and under Michigan law. Despite their online boasts of experience in child pornography defense, few lawyers have the skill, experience, and tenacity to provide their clients the best possible defense to these severe state and federal charges.
What is child pornography under the law?
Any material that depicts a child participating in sexually explicit behavior is considered child pornography. Films, movies, slides, child pornography, black-and-white pictures, sound recordings, and computer-generated imagery are examples of this type of content. As a result, not all media featuring naked children is regarded as child pornography. Only when it is sexually explicit does it become unlawful.
State of Michigan Violations of Child Pornography Laws
In Michigan, Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) is another name for child pornography. It is any representation of a minor engaging in sexual misconduct in a digital visual image, film, computer-generated image, video, picture, sound recording, or slide. It is a felony that carries a fine, years of probation or parole, and a possible prison sentence.
Michigan porn laws make it illegal for anyone to engage in any activity, including possessing, distributing, or manufacturing child pornography. The laws seek to protect children from sexual exploitation in the form of pornography. The law lists the conducts considered child pornography:
- Possession of child sexually abusive material – Four (4) year felony offense and $10,000.00 fine. If aggravated, it is a 10-year felony and a $50,000.00 fine.
- Production of child sexually abusive material – up to 20 years in prison and a $100,000.00 fine. Production can be enhanced to become a 25-year felony.
- Distribution of child sexually abusive material – Seven (7) year felony and a $50,000.00 fine. Enhancement increases this to a 15-year felony and a $75,000 fine.
Accessing, looking for, having control over, or owning child pornography are all crimes. Watching a movie or looking at a photo that contains such content is likewise illegal. Observing child porn is prohibited by law. The government can still charge you even if you were unaware that the content depicted or contained a minor. This is particularly true if you didn’t make an effort to estimate the child’s age.
The production of child pornography is likewise illegal. Making copies or downloading the item is similarly considered to be “production” in this context. Inducing, coercing, convincing, or enticing a child to participate in sexually abusive behavior to create child pornography is a crime. Additionally, it is illegal to knowingly permit a minor to participate in sexual activity to produce child pornography.
Child pornography distribution is illegal. Knowingly disseminating or promoting any child sexually abusive material is unlawful. Sharing a pornographic image or video is not the same as disseminating child porn; however, prosecutors in Michigan routinely charge such conduct as “distribution.”
Federal Prosecution and Defense of Child Pornography Charges
It is also illegal under federal law to produce, possess, or distribute child pornography. Federal offenses often carry penalties far exceeding those ordered in Michigan’s state courts. If child pornography occurs across several states, it is a federal felony. Therefore, sending or receiving an illegal video or image of a child across state lines (including over the internet) could result in a federal prosecution. The federal government is creative in finding ways to assert jurisdiction. For example, the government might argue that because a computer or camera was manufactured in another state or country, the crime impacted interstate commerce, and federal jurisdiction is warranted.
Anyone convicted of federal child pornography charges may be sentenced to the Bureau of Prisons for up to 10 years for intentionally possessing child porn. If the offense involves producing or distributing child pornography or a depiction of a minor under 12 years old, the maximum imprisonment increases to 20 years. If you face a federal investigation or prosecution, it is essential that you have a criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience in federal court and with the Assistant United States Attorneys who frequently handle these matters.
Precharge Defense Against Child Pornography Charges
If you are under investigation for a child sexually abusive material-related offense, it is essential that you retain experienced sex crimes defense counsel immediately. If you are innocent, a skilled defense lawyer might be able to intervene and prevent charges. If you’ve made a mistake and observed or dealt with illegal materials, a top defense lawyer will know how to limit or mitigate the impending charges or consequences. Should you talk to law enforcement? Do you voluntarily provide your passwords? What do you do with CSAM materials in your possession or on your devices? Should you engage in sex offender counseling? These are all questions that can significantly impact the rest of your life, and you need the help of an experienced professional to ensure you make the best choices. Do not wait to “see what happens” because you might miss an opportunity to help your situation. The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has extensive experience and a successful track record for assisting numerous clients in this situation.
For a strong defense against CSAM charges, you need a creative and fearless criminal defense attorney to fight for you.
A recent federal court decision dealt with child pornography transportation and production allegations. United States v Napier, decided in May 2015, related to several counts of production and transportation of child pornography. The government used time stamps on emails showing Eastern Time Zone and Pacific Time Zone to show the defendant transported the child pornography over state lines by email. On appeal, the court held that due to the very nature of the internet, showing transportation was not an onerous burden for the prosecution. Building a solid defense for child pornography charges is complex and should be handled by only the most experienced, skilled defense counsel.
This case involved a very clever prosecutor that thought of this way to show the transportation of the pictures. You need an equally clever defense attorney to stand up to the government on your behalf. When your freedom is at stake, you need to take whatever actions are necessary to ensure that your bases are covered and that you can present a strong defense in child pornography charges. Making the right choice in child pornography defense attorneys can mean the difference between winning and losing, between prison and freedom. It is essential that you make the right decision about who should fight to protect your rights and freedom. If your primary concern is the defense lawyer’s cost instead of their track record of success, you risk a conviction that you may have otherwise avoided.
There is a reason for the saying, “you get what you pay for.” You want the best when facing criminal charges. If you want the best, you must understand that a top lawyer’s cost should be reasonable and fairly commensurate with the lawyer’s experience, reputation, and skill. What are your future, your reputation, and your freedom worth?
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys with a track record of providing a solid defense in child pornography charges.
The attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are the Michigan criminal defense attorneys with a reputation for winning. Our defense lawyers have decades of experience defending people charged with criminal offenses. The attorneys have dedicated their professional lives to protecting people’s rights and making absolutely sure that a person is treated fairly in the criminal justice system. We are not afraid to fight in court. A lawyer must do whatever is necessary to ensure their client is given a full and fair hearing and every advantage possible in court. The firm handles all felony and misdemeanor offenses under Federal, State, and local law. They have decades of experience providing effective defense in child pornography charges brought by the government. The firm’s attorneys appear in court statewide and nationally.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.