Federal Child Pornography Laws

criminal law columbus oh Child pornography is widely considered to be among the most reprehensible of offenses under criminal law , and as such, accused offenders face extremely harsh penalties. Since it is not uncommon for child pornography cases to be prosecuted in federal court, it’s highly advisable for accused offenders to retain the services of a sex crime attorney in Columbus who has extensive experience defending clients in federal court.

Establishing Federal Jurisdiction

Child pornography is illegal under both state and federal law. It is very easy for a federal prosecutor to obtain jurisdiction of a child pornography case. A federal court will have jurisdiction if the alleged offense involved interstate travel or foreign commerce. It is not necessary for the client of the criminal defense attorney to have traveled across state lines. Rather, using the U.S. Postal Service or other carriers to transport child pornography across state lines or international boundaries would make the charge a federal case. If the Internet is used for the receipt or distribution of child pornography, federal jurisdiction nearly always applies. It is even possible for a federal prosecutor to bring federal charges if the child pornography material never crossed state or international borders, provided the computer or other device later used for child pornography purposes had previously crossed a border.

Defining Child Pornography

As your criminal defense attorney can explain to you, federal law has a very broad definition of child pornography. The legal definition considers child pornography to be any visual depiction of an individual under the age of 18 that involves sexually explicit conduct. Sexually explicit conduct does not necessarily mean sexual activity. An image can be considered child pornography if it appears sexually suggestive. Visual depictions can include photographs, videos, undeveloped film or videotape, electronically stored data, and any computer generated images that cannot be distinguished from a real minor.

Understanding Child Pornography Charges

Your criminal defense attorney can help you understand the specific charges against you. A federal prosecutor might file charges of producing, distributing, receiving, or possessing child pornography. Section 2251A of Title 18, United States Code also prohibits parents and legal guardians of minors from transferring custody of minors for the purpose of producing child pornography. An individual outside the U.S. may be prosecuted under Section 2260 of Title 18 for knowingly transporting, distributing, producing, or receiving child pornography with the intent to send the material to the U.S.

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