Salt Lake City, UT Child Pornography Possession Lawyer
While all criminal activity is taken seriously by police and prosecutors, few charges are taken more seriously than those that involve the harm and exploitation of minors. There are many criminal charges involving the sexual exploitation of minors, including possession of child pornography. While it may be tempting to think of this as a lesser charge compared to say, creating or distributing child pornography, this is a bad idea, as this crime is punishable by serious jail time and hefty fines.
At Overson Law, PLLC, our Salt Lake City, Utah child pornography lawyers have years of experience successfully defending clients charged with this crime. We understand the serious ramifications you can face if your name is not cleared, not only in the form of hefty fines and long jail sentences but also the destruction of your name in the community if you are forced to register as a sex offender. We will leave no stone unturned working to prove your innocence and get your charges downgraded or dismissed. Call our firm today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.
The Crime of Child Pornography Possession in Salt Lake City
Possession of child pornography is charged under a section of the Utah criminal code related to sexual exploitation of minors. Under this code section, a person is guilty of exploitation of a minor if they knowingly possess child pornography. Child pornography is defined as any visual depiction, including any live performance, photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where one of the three following conditions is met:
- the production of the visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct
- the visual depiction is of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct
- the visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct
Penalties for Possession of Child Pornography in Salt Lake City
In line with the seriousness with which this crime is taken, the penalties can be very steep. Possession of child pornography is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. However, you can be charged for each image of an underage child found in your possession, meaning if the photos, videos, or other media depict multiple children, you could face multiple charges punishable by up to 15 years in prison per charge.
Aside from the high fines and lengthy jail sentences, there are also the societal consequences that come with being a convicted sex offender. You will have to register as a sex offender, most likely for the rest of your life. Your personal information and photograph will be on the state’s sex offender website alongside the crime of which you were convicted. All of your neighbors and any potential employers will be able to see this information. In addition, if you fail to register or update your address when you move, you can face additional criminal charges and further penalties.
How A Child Pornography Possession Case Works in Salt Lake City
Typically, if the police receive a report of someone possessing child pornography, they will conduct a brief investigation and then make an application for a search warrant if the evidence suggests a crime was committed. If the judge grants the search warrant, the police will come search your home and computer for images of underage images, and, if any are found, they will arrest you. After this, you will be transported to the local police station to undergo the booking process, where you will be fingerprinted, photographed, and your biographical information will be collected. Then, you will be kept in the holding cell or taken to the local jail to await your bail hearing, which usually must be held within 72 hours.
At the bail hearing, the judge will decide whether you can be released without bail, if bail must be set, or or if you must remain in jail while the underlying matter is resolved. Typically, bail is set. The judge will make their bail decision based on a series of factors including your ties to the community, the nature and severity of the alleged crime, and your criminal history. An experienced bail defense attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC will know how to make the best arguments to get you released on minimal or no bail.
Your arraignment will be held at or around the same time as the bail hearing. The arraignment is a short proceeding where the judge will read the charges against you, explain your rights during a criminal case, and ask you to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. At this point, your lawyer is likely to advise you to plead not guilty while they collect more evidence and assess the strength of the case.
After the arraignment, your lawyer will negotiate with the prosecutor about a plea deal if this is something that you are interested in. It can include the charges being downgraded to something less serious or the prosecutor recommending a more lenient sentence in exchange for your guilty plea. If you do not wish to take a deal, our skilled trial attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC are always ready and able to defend your innocence in the courtroom. For a child pornography possession case, you will be entitled to a trial by a jury of your peers, who must vote unanimously to convict you.
Call Our Seasoned Salt Lake City Child Pornography Possession Lawyers Today
Child pornography charges are some of the most serious criminal charges you can face. Not only can they lead to long jail sentences and high fines, but a conviction will leave your reputation in tatters and make it difficult for you to find gainful employment. At Overson Law, PLLC, our Salt Lake City, UT child pornography possession lawyers have years of experience successfully defending many clients against this charge. We will work to get your charges downgrade or dismissed and your reputation restored. For a free consultation, call us today at (801) 758-2287.