Crimes involving children are viewed as being particularly heinous and are often met with severe public outrage. As such, law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts take crimes involving children very seriously. The issue of child pornography has become especially prevalent in Salt Lake City and the rest of the country as the advent of the internet and digital media has made child pornography easy to spread and difficult to track.
Merely possessing child pornography is a criminal offense in Salt Lake City. Prosecutors and law enforcement are very eager to stop the spread of child pornography and press charges against anyone suspected of having child pornography. Child pornography can spread very easily and quickly over the internet and it may be possible to download child pornography without realizing or intending to do so. Our Salt Lake City child pornography possession lawyer can help defend your rights and fight your charges in court. Call (801) 758-2287 to speak with the legal team at Overson & Bugden about scheduling a free legal consultation.
The Crime of Child Pornography Possession in Salt Lake City
Crimes involving child pornography fall under § 76-5b-201, the Sexual Exploitation Act of the Utah Criminal Code. A defendant who knowingly produces, possesses, distributes, possesses with the intent to distribute, or views any child pornography violates this act. It is also a violation of the Act for a parent or legal guardian to knowingly consent to their minor child being sexually exploited for the purpose of producing child pornography. These offenses will be charged as sexual exploitation of a minor.
A defendant charged with possession of child pornography will face some very steep penalties. However, it is possible that a defendant does not realize they have committed a crime because they do not entirely understand exactly what child pornography is. Child pornography, under § 76-5b-103 of the Utah Criminal Code, is any visual depiction or representation of minor children engaged in a sexually explicit act or conduct. The depiction can be recorded, such as a photo or video, or it may even happen live. Child pornography also includes any visual representation that has been edited to appear as if a minor child is engaged in a sexual act.
A key aspect of the crime of possession of child pornography is that it is done so knowingly. The internet can be very confusing, especially for someone who is not very technologically savvy. Downloading or viewing child pornography by mistake would not be a crime. However, if you accidentally download child pornography, you should immediately contact law enforcement to report it. If you have been charged with possession of child pornography, our Salt Lake City child pornography possession attorney can help.
Penalties for Possession of Child Pornography in Salt Lake City
Possession of child pornography will be charged as a felony of the second degree. A defendant convicted of possession of child pornography will be sentenced to at least 1 year but no more than 15 years in prison. However, if your charges involve the production of child pornography, your charges may be upgraded to first-degree felonies if the pornography depicts the rape, object rape, sodomy, or aggravated sexual abuse of a child. A first-degree felony will be punished by no less than 5 years in prison and up to life.
It is not uncommon for people convicted of a minor’s sexual exploitation by the possession of child pornography to possess multiple depictions of child pornography. Some defendants have a stash of photos or videos depicting children being sexually abused. A defendant will often be charged separate offenses for each minor child in the child pornography and for each time the same child is shown in different pornography.
How Does a Child Pornography Possession Case Work in Salt Lake City?
A child pornography case will begin with a police investigation. Police have many different ways of gathering information about child pornography. People may call in with tips or the police may track how child pornography is spread online. Once the police have a suspect and have gathered enough evidence, they can request a search warrant from a judge or magistrate.
A search warrant will allow the police to search your home for any evidence of child pornography. Considering how prevalent child pornography is online, they will almost certainly search your computer too. The police can take your computer and conduct a very thorough search of every file you have. This situation can be very embarrassing as the police may have access to any deeply personal information you have stored on your computer. If child pornography is found, the police may keep your computer indefinitely.
Defenses to Possession of Child Pornography in Salt Lake City
The crime of possession of child pornography requires a minor child to be depicted in a sexual act. It is a defense to this crime if there is no minor depicted in the pornography. This defense can be useful when a defendant was in possession of what appears to be child pornography, but the suspected minor in the pornography is actually 18 years of age or older.
Additionally, it is a defense to possession of child pornography if the defendant did not purposely solicit the pornography from the minor depicted in the pornography, is no more than two years older than the minor, and deletes or destroys all copies of the pornography. This defense applies to cases in which teenagers may be circulating nude photos of themselves to boyfriends and girlfriends.
Our Salt Lake City child pornography possession lawyers can help you determine what defense is best for your case.
Call Our Seasoned Salt Lake City Child Pornography Possession Lawyers Today
Being charged with possession of child pornography can be devastating and embarrassing. Our Salt Lake City child pornography possession attorneys are here to help you fight your charges and clear your name. Contact the experienced legal team at Overson & Bugden by calling (801) 758-2287. Schedule a free legal consultation with our experienced attorneys today.