Utah Child Pornography Possession Lawyer
Crimes involving children, particularly the sexual exploitation of children, are taken quite seriously by the authorities. Police, prosecutors, and judges are known to be especially harsh toward individuals charged with child pornography crimes, including possession of child pornography. Penalties can include high fines, long jail sentences, and the possibility of having to enroll as sex offender for the rest of your life. However, those charged with this crime are entitled to the same rights as everyone else, including the presumption of innocence and the right to counsel.
At Overson Law, PLLC, our battle-tested Utah child pornography possession lawyers understand that just because you have been charged with child pornography possession does not mean that you are guilty. We have experience successfully fighting these charges throughout the state, and we will work to protect you rights, tell your side of the story, and get your charges downgraded or dismissed. For a free consultation, call our office today at (801) 758-2287.
Child Pornography Possession in Utah
Child pornography possession is actually charged under a broad child exploitation statute, rather than a separate statue dedicated to the possession of pornography. As defined under this code section, a person is guilty of exploitation of a minor if they knowingly possess child pornography. Child pornography, in turn, 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,” that meets at least one of the following three conditions:
- a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct is used in the course of the production of the visual depiction
- the visual depiction is in fact a depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct
- the visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that sexually explicit content is being engaged in by an identifiable minor
Penalties for Child Pornography Possession in Utah
As noted at the outset of this article, the authorities takes child pornography possession quite seriously, and a conviction or guilty plea can result in some fairly harsh penalties. The charge is a second-degree felony, which can come with jail time of up to 15 years and fines up to $10,000. One important thing to note is that you will be charged with a count for each picture of an individual child found in your possession. For example, whether you possess 10 inappropriate videos of 10 different children, or one inappropriate video with all 10 children, you can be charged with a count for each child, meaning the potential sentences increase to 15 years times 10 (150 years in jail) and $10,000 times ten ($100,000 in fines).
Of course, the penalties do not end there. If you are convicted of this offense or plead guilty to it, you will be required to register as a sex offender, potentially for the rest of your life. All of your information, including your name, address, identifying features, and a picture of you, will be posted online next to a description of your alleged crime. Those who have to register as sex offenders are treated as social pariahs and often have difficulty finding gainful employment. In addition, if you fail to register or to update your information in a timely manner, such as changing your address when you move, you could be charged with an additional crime with severe penalties of its own.
Potential Outcomes of a Child Pornography Possession Case in Utah
After being charged with child pornography possession, you will be arrested and a bail hearing will be scheduled. An experienced Utah bail hearing attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC can work to help you get released from jail on little to no bail. After we have worked to secure your released, we will begin negotiating with the prosecutor about a potential deal for your charges to be downgraded or dismissed. Most criminal cases in Utah are resolved at the settlement level. Dismissal of some charges in a case with multiple charges might be part of a possible deal, but dismissal of all charges is atypical unless the prosecutor’s case is extremely weak or we turn up some sort of evidence casting the matter in a new light.
For a serious felony like child pornography possession, pre-trial diversion or a deferred prosecution agreement, both of which could result in your charges being dropped if completed successfully, are unlikely to be a possibility. However, our skilled Utah child pornography possession lawyers can still make a pitch depending on the particulars of your case. Otherwise, we can try to get the prosecutor to agree to downgrade the charges to something less serious, particularly something where you will not be required to register as a sex offender, in exchange for you entering a guilty plea and sparing the state the time and expense of a trial. If the prosecutor will not downgraded the charges, we may be able to work out a deal where they recommend a more lenient sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Judges will almost always follow a prosecutor’s sentencing recommendations.
If you do not wish to take a deal, the matter will proceed to trial. First, there will be hearing on any motions, such as a motion to compel discovery. Then, the matter will be scheduled for trial, where our skilled Utah child pornography possession lawyers at Overson Law, PLLC will leave no stone unturned working to fight for a not guilty verdict. Our lawyers can also assist you in choosing between a bench trial, where a single judge decides guilt or innocence, or a jury trial, where a jury of your peers must unanimously vote to convict you.
If You Have Been Charged, Call Our Seasoned Utah Child Pornography Possession Defense Attorneys Today
Possession of child pornography is one of the more serious charges you can face under the Utah criminal justice system. At Overson Law, PLLC, our Utah child pornography possession lawyers have years of experience successfully defending clients around the state charged with this crime. We will work to bring your case to the best possible solution and to keep you from facing the most serious potential penalties. Call us today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.