The state of Pennsylvania takes child pornography very seriously, and it punishes offenders severely after conviction. Mandatory jail time and registration on a sex offender’s list are just two of the potential punishments. Then, there is the damage to your reputation, which could last a lifetime. A Springfield child pornography lawyer can defend you if you are charged with this serious crime.
McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. is a Pennsylvania criminal defense firm that is dedicated to giving our clients quality legal representation no matter what charges they face. We defend all our clients passionately, zealously, and without judgment. As former prosecutors, we have unique insight into how to fight these cases and secure fair outcomes. We also understand you are in the fight of your life, and we will be with you every step of the way.
You Can Fight Child Pornography Charges in Springfield, PA
There can be no doubt that child pornography is a hot-button issue that elevates the passions of juries, judges, and prosecutors. However, that doesn’t mean that there is no defense in a child pornography case, or that your situation is hopeless. David McKenzie, who founded our firm, is a former prosecutor. His experience in the criminal justice system gives him a unique understanding of how to fight tough cases like yours.
Most importantly, Attorney McKenzie understands what the prosecution’s burden of proof is in a child pornography case. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly and intentionally possessed, viewed, or disseminated the material in question. We may be able to argue that you downloaded the material by mistake or that someone else downloaded it onto your computer or device without your permission.
Not only can we build a defense strategy for you, but you can also expect your criminal defense lawyer to:
- Speak to all other parties involved in your case for you
- Fill out and submit any necessary paperwork
- Investigate your case
- Gather evidence
- Fight to have your charges dropped or reduced
Pennsylvania’s Child Pornography Laws Apply to Your Springfield Case
As is the case with any state government, Pennsylvania takes its duty to protect children seriously. Accordingly, they have crafted a strong anti-child pornography law that makes it illegal to do any of the following:
- Willfully view or possess any material depicting minor(s) engaged in sexual activity.
- Download material that depicts minor(s) engaged in sexual activity.
- Create images (e.g., photos, videos, drawings) that depict minor(s) engaged in sexual activity.
It is also illegal to distribute sexually explicit images of minors. That means you could be charged for even forwarding a text message or email containing an image of a minor (or minors) engaged in sexually explicit behavior.
Child Pornography Is Typically a Felony Offense
Most cases involving child pornography in Pennsylvania are charged as felonies, and convictions will result in mandatory jail time. Simply viewing or possessing even one image of child pornography can result in a third-degree felony conviction, which carries a prison term of up to seven years for a first offense.
Any additional conviction of viewership or possession of child pornography could be charged as a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum 10-year prison term. If the state believes you are the original maker (e.g., photographer, filmmaker) of child pornography, they could charge you with a second-degree felony even if it’s a first offense.
It’s also important to note that you can be charged with child pornography even if the material in question includes “simulated” sexual acts and no sexual activity took place. Our attorneys know the specifics of Pennsylvania’s child pornography laws as well as the workings of the courts in Springfield. We will work with you to formulate the most effective defense possible against these charges.
Federal Child Pornography Charges
Child pornography is also a charge you can face at the federal level. The federal charges can be filed as a stand-alone case completely apart from any state charges you face. The minimum sentence for federal child pornography convictions is 5 years, per 18 U.S. Code § 2252. However, the charges you could face ultimately depend on the details of your case.
The fact that child pornography can be prosecuted at the federal and state level underscores how seriously prosecutors take this crime. The sentencing judges in both federal and state courts are notorious for handing down long prison sentences after guilty verdicts. That’s another reason it’s so important to have an experienced, competent attorney who will vigorously defend you against child pornography allegations.
Pennsylvania Sex Offender Registry
One of the other consequences of a child pornography conviction is being required to add your name to the Pennsylvania sex offender registry. This registry is a list of all the convicted sex offenders in Pennsylvania, and it is a matter of public record. It will include pertinent information such as your name, photograph, address, and details about your conviction.
Your name appearing on this list can disqualify you from many different types of employment. It may also motivate landlords and property owners to deny your rental application, or people in your neighborhood may protest if they find out you are on the list. We will fight vigorously to keep your name off the sex offender registry in Springfield, Pennsylvania.
Talk to a Child Pornography Lawyer in Springfield
Being charged with a crime is always nerve-wracking. When you are charged with something as serious as child pornography, you may want to hire a tough criminal defense team. The seriousness of the crime, the severe punishments, and the lifelong damage to your reputation are all things you want to avoid if possible. We believe everyone deserves a defense, no matter what charges they face.
If you are facing child pornography charges, it’s important to consider hiring legal representation. At McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we offer free consultations to people in your situation, and we genuinely want to help you. We will treat you with professionalism and compassion while fighting your case to the best of our ability. Call us today and find out how a Springfield child pornography lawyer can help you.