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Transmission of child pornography continues to be an area of focus for state and local law enforcement agencies, who are actively searching for offenders each day. The main state law that prohibits transmission of child pornography is section 847.0137 of the obscenity statute. This section makes it a felony to send or cause to be delivered child pornography through any medium, including the internet, by use of an electronic device or other equipment. Florida law defines child pornography as any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct. Sexual conduct has a broad definition, which law enforcement often interprets as including basic nudity. There is also an element of knowledge that the state must prove when prosecuting this statute, so the defendant must have known or should have known the transmission was taking place. Transmission of child pornography under Florida law is similar to federal laws that prohibit the distribution of child pornography. Although the federal law is generally perceived as providing harsher punishments, in reality the state law is just has strict. Transmission of child pornography is a third-degree felony, which carries a potential 5-year penalty for each count. Prosecutors routinely file charges with multiple counts, so defendants often face the possibility of far more than 5 years if the case is not handled properly. Each transmission or each separate image/video can be considered a separate count. If you have been charged or are being investigated for transmission of child pornography contact South Florida criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst. Benjamin specializes in defending child pornography cases in the Tri-County jurisdictions of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County, and he also has extensive experience in Martin and St. Lucie County. Benjamin offers free consultations at (954) 543-0305, and can meet 7 days a week at his Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach offices.
In addition to potential jail time and a permanent felony conviction, defendants who are charged with electronic transmission of child pornography face the possibility of being required to register as a sexual offender with FDLE. Registry can be permanent and transfers from state to state, which makes it a lifelong sentence. Florida law also provides harsh punishment for defendants that are accused of distributing child pornography by any other means under statute 857.011. This law is less common, but is used as a catchall when materials are not transmitted electronically.
Under section 857.0138 and 857.0133 adults are prohibited from transmitting or providing any type of obscene or lewd materials to a minor (including adult pornography), and a violation of these provisions can carry the same punishment as transmitting child pornography. This law requires that the state to prove the defendant had actual knowledge the recipient was a minor or in cases involving undercover law enforcement that the defendant believed the recipient was a minor. A violation of this statute also carries the potential requirement that the defendant register as a sexual offender with FDLE and maintain that registration with future states.
The potential for incarceration and mandatory registration on the sexual offender registry is present in all child pornography cases, which makes it imperative to retain a lawyer with experience and success handling these cases. Benjamin Herbst has successfully defended numerous clients in child pornography cases, and is standing by to fight for you. Contact Benjamin anytime at (954) 543-0305 to find out what defenses may be available in your case, and what strategies may be utilized to dismiss or reduce your charges. Defendants facing sexual offense charges are rarely treated with dignity and respect by the judicial system, but a skilled and experienced South Florida criminal defense lawyer will make sure this does not happen to you.