It is illegal to possess, advertise, print, duplicate, transport, or even send child pornography in California. Innocently forwarding videos of a naked teenage girl to an internet pornography group can get you into some serious trouble. Child pornography has become easier to access, and the prosecutors have become more aggressive.
Any sexually explicit content involving minors is not taken lightly in California. The criminal consequences are grave, and your life might never be the same again after a conviction. A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can explain everything that is at stake and advise on what to do.
What Determines if I Get Misdemeanor or Felony Penalties for Child Pornography in L.A.?
Child pornography is one of California’s wobbler offenses that can be penalized as a felony or a misdemeanor. The decision usually depends on:
- Your criminal record
- The gravity of the offense
- Whether the pornographic material was outright obscene; with no scientific, political, literary, or artistic value
- Whether you have previously been convicted of child pornography
- Whether you tried to gain commercial benefits from trading the pornographic material
- Whether you tried to show the pornographic material to another minor
When a conviction is inevitable, your Los Angeles sex crimes attorneys could negotiate for the charges to be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. The penalties attached to the latter are not as harsh as those you would get in the former.
What is the Punishment for Child Pornography as a Misdemeanor?
Penalties for a child pornography misdemeanor might not be as severe as what is given for the same offense as a felony. However, the punishment is still harsh and can impact one’s life negatively. Convicts can expect:
- Up to $2,500 in fines
- One (1) year in jail
One year in confinement is a long time to stay away from your family and friends. Losing $2,500 of your hard-earned cash can be devastating. Not to forget that you might not be able to work and earn more money because you could lose your freedom for up to a year.
How Different are the Penalties for a Child Pornography Felony?
Child pornography as a felony is extremely serious. A lot might be at stake if you are convicted in this category. You risk:
- As high as $100,000 in fines
- 16 months to 8 years in prison
Note that the above penalties might add up quickly if you are convicted for multiple counts of the offense. For instance, if, apart from the possession of child pornography materials, you were also distributing it, more penalties might be added. You have more reasons to fight a child pornography felony because of the much you stand to lose if convicted.
Will I Register as a Sex Offender if I’m Convicted?
Anyone convicted for any form of child pornography offense must have their name added to the list of sex offenders in California. You might also be required to keep the local law enforcement agencies informed about your status and location. The period might vary depending on the nature and magnitude of the child pornography offense. It could be:
- A minimum of 10 years for “tier one” sex offenders
- Lifetime registration for “tier three” sex offenders
Note that the public can access the list of sex offenders convicted in California. Potential landlords and employers can know about a child pornography conviction by quickly running a background check on you. This means that you might struggle to secure housing and a job after completing your sentence.
Are There Immigration Consequences After a Child Pornography Conviction?
A child pornography charge carries the potential of negative immigration consequences. It is one of the offenses of moral turpitude, and the United States immigration laws might work against you if you are convicted.
If you leave the United States, you might not be allowed back in if you are found guilty of child pornography. And if you remain, you could be deported back to your home country and might never be allowed back to the United States. Knowledgeable Los Angeles sex crimes attorneys can explain how these laws work.
Are There Firearm Restrictions for Child Pornography Convicts?
Firearms and child pornography might sound unrelated, but they could be intertwined. All felons, including those convicted of this sex crime, might lose their gun rights in California. This means that you might never be allowed to possess or own a firearm.
Convicts stand to lose the privilege of enjoying leisure activities involving guns. They might never be allowed to have a gun for self-protection, either. But if gun rights are so important to you, skilled Los Angeles sex crimes attorneys can negotiate for lesser charges that don’t take away your gun rights.
Is it Possible to Expunge Child Pornography Records After a Conviction?
Unfortunately, you cannot remove the records of any violation of California Penal Code § 311. However, seasoned Los Angeles sex crimes attorneys can help you explore other relief alternatives. For instance, Penal Code § 4852 allows you to petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation after completion of your prison or jail term.
The certificate is an excellent way to demonstrate that your behavior has changed since the conviction. Landlords and employers doing a background check on you will see that you are now a law-abiding individual. It also serves as an automatic application for the governor’s pardon.
Aggressive Attorneys Fighting to Protect Your Rights
A conviction for a sex crime is bad enough, but worse if it involves children. Society at large might never look at you the same way if you are pronounced guilty of child pornography. The legal penalties are also a lot to contend with.
The outcomes might be improved if you have an experienced, skilled, and qualified legal representative in Los Angeles. They can take advantage of weaknesses in the prosecution’s charge sheet. The attorney could also identify pieces of evidence to use in your favor. Speak to us today if you are determined to get better outcomes from your case.