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The Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Act was established to give law enforcement a powerful tool to prosecute multiple types of sexual offenses against children. This particular statute is only focused on violations involving the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices, and it punishes a wide range of conduct. The statute even has a provision that applies to certain internet providers and website operators. If you have been charged or are being investigated for a violation of the computer pornography act do not speak to law enforcement without contacting a lawyer first. Police officers can use your statements to obtain evidence to file additionally charges. In some cases, innocent statements can lead police to receive search warrants, which can allow them to uncover additional evidence that may limited your available defenses. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida criminal defense lawyer who is standing by to offer advice and representation for any charge involving the computer pornography and child exploitation act. He specializes in defending clients charged with sexual offenses in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. Benjamin is also an experienced Treasure Coast sex offense lawyer for defendants facing charges in Martin and St. Lucie County. Contact Benjamin anytime at (954) 543-0305 for a free consultation about your case.
The most common violations of the computer pornography laws involve the transmission, receipt or exchange of child pornography via the internet. It also prohibits compiling child pornography electronically, which is essentially possession. Law enforcement agencies have developed sophisticated measures to hunt for anyone who is transmitting child pornography, and they routinely set up stings to entice suspects to commit an offense. This includes searching for child pornography or offering to sell, buy or trade it. It is never a defense that the suspect was actually communicating with a law enforcement officer who had no intention of exchanging the materials. Any violation of the child pornography provisions of this law could result in third-degree felony charges that carry up to five years in prison for each offense. The state can prosecute a defendant with a separate offense for each transmission or each separate picture or video. This means the potential exposure for a defendant can be far more than five years in prison. In addition, anyone convicted of the child pornography section of the computer pornography statute faces mandatory registry as a sexual offender.
The other common provision of statue 847.0135 makes it a crime to solicit, entice or lure a minor to perform a lewd act such as sending or making pornography, or engaging in any unlawful sexual conduct. This offense is also a third-degree felony that requires registration as a sex offender upon conviction. It is not a defense that the defendant was actually communicating with an undercover police officer and not an actual minor, as the state only has to prove the defendant believed he or she was communicating with a minor. If a defendant actually travels to meet a minor or causes a minor to travel to meet for the purpose of performing an unlawful sexual act the offense becomes a second-degree felony. Traveling to meet a minor carries up to 15 years in prison for each offense, and mandatory registration as a sexual offender.
The act also prohibits lewd and lascivious exhibition such as masturbation using a computer or other electronic device. An adult who transmits a lewd act that is viewed by a minor can be charged with a second-degree felony. Juveniles aged 16 and 17 can also be charged with a violation of this offense if the minor was under the age of 16. A juvenile charged with a lewd and lascivious transmission faces third-degree felony charges. Owners of internet services or online computer sights may also be punished by first-degree misdemeanor charges for knowingly permitting a subscriber to commit any offense involving unlawful sexual activity with a minor. The state must prove knowledge, which is extremely difficult. A violation of this section of the law does not require mandatory registration as a sex offender. Benjamin Herbst fights for the dismissal of all computer pornography charges in South Florida and along the Treasure Coast, and is available 7 days a week to discuss your case. He offers flexible meeting hours in his Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach office locations, and is willing to travel anywhere from Miami to Port St. Lucie to provide consultation.