Whenever a crime involves a child, prosecutors and law enforcement alike pay extremely close attention. This is especially so for sexual crimes involving children. Children are perhaps the most vulnerable people in our society. When they are victimized, public outcry tends to be loud and angry. Crimes involving children are so heinous that prosecutors are often under a lot of pressure to secure a conviction. However, even someone charged with something like possession of child pornography must be afforded all the constitutional rights and protections necessary to keep our justice system running.
Being charged with possession of child pornography is a frightening prospect. You are unlikely to receive any sympathy or understanding from law enforcement, and your loved ones may never look at you the same way again, even if the allegations are untrue. Contact Overson & Bugden and speak with our Utah child pornography possession attorney about your situation. We will fight your charges to the best of our ability and work to clear your name. Call (801) 758-2287 to set up a free and confidential legal consultation with our team.
What Constitutes Child Pornography in Utah?
Child pornography is defined under § 76-5b-103 of the Utah Criminal Code. Specifically, it is defined under the Sexual Exploitation Act. Child pornography includes visual depictions of children involved in sexually explicit conduct. These visual depictions could be any form of visual media, such as photos, videos, live performance, or even computer-generated images. The depictions must show a child engaged in some sort of sexual act or behavior. It could also be edited to create the appearance of sexual conduct by the child. This means a picture photoshopped to portray a child in a sexually explicit manner could be considered child pornography.
In this day and age, child pornography is most often found in the form of video clips and digital photos shared online. Even if you do not possess child pornography in a physical form, such as a videotape, DVD, or photo hard copy, you may still be said to be “in possession” of its digital form. Downloading child pornography can be considered possession in Utah. Reach out to our Utah child pornography possession attorney if you have been charged.
Definition of Child Pornography Possession in Utah
Child pornography, as defined above, is considered so shocking and abhorrent that mere possession of child pornography will be criminally charged. More specifically, criminal charges for offenses relating to child pornography can be found under § 76-5b-201, which refers to the sexual exploitation of a minor. You may be found guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor by knowingly possessing or possessing with the intent to sell or distribute any child pornography. Possession of child pornography can be charged as a felony of the second degree. However, other offenses, such as producing child pornography in addition to possession, may be charged as a first-degree felony.
Penalties for the Possession of Child Pornography in Utah
Possession of child pornography is a second-degree felony in Utah. Felonies are very serious crimes that are often punished with very harsh sentences. For a felony of the second degree, a judge may sentence you to a prison term of no less than 1 year but no longer than 15 years. The exact length of your sentence will be influenced by the unique circumstances surrounding your case, but it will likely fall somewhere within this range.
It is very common for people charged with possession of child pornography to be charged with multiple counts of possession. Under the law of Utah, a separate offense is charged for each minor depicted in an article of child pornography. This means that if you possess one video showing multiple children involved in a sexual act, you will be charged for each child in the video. If there are three children, you will face three separate charges. Similarly, you will be charged separately for each time the same minor is depicted in different articles of pornography. For example, if you have three videos of child pornography, but each video shows the same child, you will be charged three times rather than only once, even though only one child is involved.
If you are facing multiple charges for possession of child pornography, please reach out to our Utah child pornography possession attorney. We can work to reduce the number of charges and hopefully lower your sentence.
What Can Happen After You Are Charged with Possession of Child Pornography in Utah
Before you are formally charged, you will be arrested by the police and held at your local police department or jail. You will soon have a hearing at which you are formally arraigned and bail is determined. Defendants charged with possession of child pornography are entitled to bail. However, the nature of the charges will not make a judge feel forgiving toward your circumstance. Be prepared to confront a very high bail.
Once bail has been set and you have hopefully been released, our team can work with prosecutors to negotiate a plea bargain. Prosecutors are not very likely to drop or dismiss your charges unless the case against you is surprisingly weak. A plea bargain may be a desirable option. In exchange for a guilty plea, prosecutors may agree to a reduction in your charges.
If a plea bargain is not what you want, we can work towards fighting your charges at trial. Making motions to suppress evidence and negating your charges’ crucial elements are paramount to a successful defense. Contact our Utah child pornography possession lawyer for help preparing for your trial.
Contact Our Utah Child Pornography Possession Defense Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you have been charged with possession of child pornography, or any other crime involving the sexual exploitation of a minor, reach out to our Utah child pornography possession lawyer for help as soon as possible. Call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free and confidential legal consultation with our legal team.