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Possession of Child Pornography

Florida has enacted harsh laws to punish defendants who are charged with child pornography, and a violation of these laws could result in a permanent felony conviction and the possibility of a jail sentence. Simple possession of child pornography is a third-degree felony under Florida law, and can be charged under multiple statutes. While it is generally considered a less serious offense compared to transmission of child pornography, possession cases are not taken lightly by prosecutors and judges. Anyone who has been charged or is being investigated for possession of child pornography should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Law enforcement officers are trained to elicit incriminating statements from unrepresented defendants, and they will use their power to take advantage of anyone who does not have a lawyer. Speaking to police is never a good idea, and this is especially true regarding child pornography investigations. Police can use seemingly harmless statements to support future search warrants, and uncover damaging evidence. Statements can also limit the type of defenses you can use at trial down the road. If you think you may be the target of a law enforcement investigation contact South Florida child pornography lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation. Benjamin specializes in defending clients charged with possession of child pornography in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County, and also has extensive experience defending clients in Martin and St. Lucie County. He is available 7 days to offer a free consultation at (954) 543-0305, and has flexible meeting hours in his Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach offices. Contact Benjamin today to learn how he can fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed.

Florida law defines child pornography as any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct. Sexual conduct has a broad definition, and is not limited to actual sex acts. Sexual conduct often includes “lewd exhibition of the genitals”, which for the purpose of charging a person can be interpreted to mean no more than nudity. This does not necessarily mean a picture showing nudity can be enough evidence to support a conviction, but the state will certainly try. The basic child pornography possession law is classified under 847.011. This statute deals with all obscene material, but is most commonly used in child pornography possession cases. Possession of obscene or lewd materials that depict a minor engaged in sexual conduct or other conduct that is harmful to minors is considered a felony, and each separate video or picture can be charged as a separate count. Prosecutors are notorious for piling on the counts in order to increase the maximum exposure that a defendant may face. In many cases a defendant can face more than 50 years of combined imprisonment, though multiple consecutive jail sentences are rare in child pornography possession cases. It is not a defense that the suspect was unaware the person depicted in the material was a minor, even if the minor misrepresented is or her age. It is also not a defense that the minor consented to appearing in the obscene material. A conviction for possession of child pornography under 847.011 does not require registration as a sexual offender, but this does not mean all defendants will avoid registry requirements.

The state commonly uses the computer pornography statute under 847.0135 to prosecute cases involving child pornography. This statute is typically used to prosecute those who transmit child pornography or travel to meet minors, but the language also prohibits compiling the visual depiction of minors engaged in sexual conduct. Compiling does not require anything more than storing child pornography on a computer, which is akin to possession. A violation of the computer pornography laws related to compiling material is a third-degree felony, but a conviction may require registering as a sexual offender, so the stakes are much higher. If you have been charged with possession of child pornography do not gamble with your future by facing the state without a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer. Benjamin Herbst fights for all defendants facing sexual offenses in South Florida and along the Treasure Coast. He is available anytime to offer a free consultation, and provides all clients with his cell phone number for access on nights and weekends.

Client Reviews
My family and I could not be more grateful for everything you did for me. I truly thought my future would be permanently impacted and I would never be able to join the military or even go to college. Because of your hard work I still have the opportunity to do both. Thank you so much! - T.S.
Hiring you was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. Thank you for supporting me and for your willingness to take the state to trial. Another lawyer may have tried to get me to take a plea, but you were ready to fight from day one. I’m so glad to have this case behind me, and have you to thank for it. - R.D.
I can’t thank you enough for your personal attention to the mess I got myself into. You don't know what a relief it is to be done with this criminal case. I never ever thought I would have been charged with a crime, but having you as my lawyer made the entire situation bearable. You gave me confidence that I would be able to overcome this from day one, and you followed through. Take care of yourself and your family, and thanks again for everything! - S.S.
You never backed down from the state, and you supported my decision to go to trial. Then you delivered in court. I appreciate you Ben. - T.C
I appreciate the hard work you put into my case, and my wife and I can’t thank you enough. Without you I could have lost everything. I’ll never forget what you did for me. - J.B.