NYC Child Pornography Lawyers
Under New York law, an individual commits the crime of child pornography, when they take pictures or videos of a child who is either unclothed or is engaging in activities of a sexual nature. For the purposes of the law, a child is defined as any individual under 18 years of age. Additionally, just possessing or distributing these kinds of recorded images violates state and federal laws. The courts pursue every case of child pornography diligently and, in some cases, animated depictions of children engaged in sexual activity may also be classified as violations of the law.
If you purchase child pornography, you may not have advanced warning that you’re even under investigation. Typically, the police will first investigate businesses that sell and distribute child pornography. Through their investigation, they will use credit card records to identify individuals who have purchased the material. From there, each individual is investigated and their homes are searched. The evidence gathered in these searches are used to identify others with whom files, videos, and pictures have been shared.
The federal laws 18 USC 2252 and 2252A (a)(5) identify the possession of child pornography as the act of intentionally possessing or knowingly trying to view any form of media that contains depictions of child pornography. This includes magazines and other periodicals, as well as videos, pictures, and other types of digital files. The law does extend to media files shared in chat rooms, instant messaging, and message boards. Additionally, investigations are permitted to include evidence shared on sites that are hosted outside of the United States.
In investigating child pornography, federal investigations focus on the distribution of this type of material via the internet. They say that nothing on the internet can ever truly be deleted and that is true. Records remain in existence, regardless of the passage of time. The F.B.I., the U.S. Postal Inspector, and the U.S. Customs Department are just some of the organizations involved in stopping child pornography and prosecuting the offenders. In so doing, law enforcement officials will try to coax a confession out of suspects, which is why it’s extremely important to contact an attorney as soon as you become aware of an investigation into your activities.
Punishments for the possession and/or distribution of child pornography are very severe in the United States. If convicted, a minimum sentence is five years in a federal prison, though most cases carry terms of up to 10 years to life. Regardless of the exact prison term one must serve, every conviction requires the individual to register as a sex offender. Even if you committed the crime while living in another state, New York State law also requires convicted individuals to register as sex offenders. In New York, the regulations for this requirement are always changing, depending on the views of the NY Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders. Currently, this is a lifetime requirement for any level 2 offender.
Simply being charged with possessing child pornography can change your life in many ways and a conviction can adversely affect your future. Having to register as a sex offender means that you may have difficulty finding a place to live or getting a job. Additionally, you may be ostracized by family, friends, and former co-workers. A conviction can follow you around for the rest of your life.
Due to the extreme social, financial, and legal ramifications, a charge of possessing child pornography is not something you should attempt to address on your own. As soon as you suspect you may be under investigation, you should contact a criminal defense attorney with experience in child pornography cases. A legal advocate at Spodek Law Group can help you protect your rights and make sure you receive a fair trial. Additionally, he may be able to help you gain an acquittal, dismissal, or reduced sentencing. The outcome will depend on the circumstances of your case.