Child internet sex crimes are increasing in Texas and elsewhere. Pornography has been rampant online for more than a decade and advances and technology as well as the millions of images that are online, has fueled sex crimes.
Against the backdrop of this rise in offenses, Texas and the federal government has boosted enforcement against those who promote or exploit children under 18.
If you manufacture, distribute or promote these kinds of images, you will receive a stiff sentence. You don’t have to know or abuse the victim to have committed a crime. If you disseminate materials of a sexual nature involving minors, you will face serious consequences.
It’s also a crime to possess child pornography, even if it’s not shared. To secure a conviction, a prosecutor must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant knowingly and intentionally possessed pornographic materials depicting a child under the age of 18 engaged in sexual conduct.
In the State of Texas, the pornography laws state if six or more identical images of a child taking part in sexual conduct are discovered, there is a presumption that the owner had intent to promote the materials.
The offense of employing a child for a sexual performance or conduct in Texas, is a second-degree felony. If convicted, you will face a state prison term of two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
When the child is under 14-years-old, the charge may become a first-degree felony, carrying a term of five to 99 years in state prison.
Knowingly producing or directing a performance involving sexual conduct by a child may be a third-degree felony carrying a sentence of two to 10 years in a state prison and a fine up to $10,000. The offense may be elevated to a second-degree felony if the child is under 14.
Possessing child pornography is charged as a third degree felony. If the prosecution can prove an intent to promote or distribute the material, the charge is raised to a second degree felony.
Child pornography is often charged as a federal offense, particularly if it’s part of a larger operation that crosses state lines.
The punishments are even tougher in the federal system and the fact it is your first offense will make little difference.
Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to 10 years in prison for a first-time offender. Receiving or distributing child pornography carries with it a punishment range of 5-20 years for first-time offenders in the federal courts.
There are some defenses to this crime, including:
Child pornography offenses are taken very seriously by the authorities and are abhorrent to the public. If you are charged with a crime of this nature, it’s very important to hire an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer.
The Medlin Law Firm has a long record in defending people accused of sexual offenses in Texas. To protect your rights and your reputation, call us for a free consultation.