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What the federal law says about child pornography

Most everyone will agree that the exploitation of children is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. However, regardless of the circumstances, some people find themselves facing these kinds of charges. Child pornography falls under the exploitation umbrella and the federal government takes a harsh view of any alleged pornography involving children.

For the record, federal law defines child pornography as "any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct" involving anyone under 18 years of age. Further, the law states that these visual depictions do not have to involve sexual activity to be considered pornography. For example, a visual depiction of a naked child in a sexually suggestive manner is also child pornography.

Other activities related to child pornography include distributing illicit visual depictions of children, transmitting them, receiving them and of course, producing them. Possible penalties associated with even a first offense child pornography conviction can include 15 years to 30 years in prison in conjunction with hefty fines.

If the alleged pornography represents violent, sadistic or abusive actions with the child, a conviction could result in life imprisonment. Further, if the pornography is transmitted via the Internet or involves the U.S. mail, it will be treated as a federal offense. Another important consideration is that an alleged offender can be prosecuted on both the state and federal levels for child pornography depending on the circumstances.

As you can see, any charges that have to do with the exploitation of children should always be viewed seriously. The best course of action for defendants is to seek legal representation immediately and prepare to work closely with a Maryland criminal defense attorney.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, "Citizen's Guide to U.S. Federal Law on Child Pornography" accessed Jan. 22, 2015

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