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What is possession of child pornography?

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Criminal Defense

In Pennsylvania, possession of child pornography is an offense that falls under the category of sexual abuse of children. It involves intentionally viewing, owning or displaying any image of a minor engaging in prohibited sexual acts, whether simulated or not. Because of the seriousness of this crime, just facing an accusation may have life-changing implications.

Prohibited sexual acts include the depiction of nudity for the viewer’s sexual stimulation or gratification. An individual may face possession of child pornography charges if they view such materials willingly, not accidentally or inadvertently.

Potential penalties for possession of child pornography

Both the law and society do not look kindly on those who commit crimes involving child sexual abuse. A first offense is a third-degree felony that can lead to jail time of up to five years. Previous convictions may escalate the charge into a second-degree felony, resulting in jail time of up to 10 years.

The impact of such allegations extends beyond prison. A history of similar offenses may require mandatory sex offender registration. This can restrict a person of their living and employment options, take away child custody rights or reduce privacy. Moreover, the individual could be subject to severe isolation and scrutiny anywhere they choose to settle down.

Challenges of defending against child pornography charges

The nature of such crimes can sway public opinion against the defendant, potentially making it harder to achieve a fair trial. Moreover, challenging the seizure of evidence may become vital to crafting a defense. Doing so without legal representation can be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Those accused may benefit from having legal support. Dealing with the criminal justice system demands familiarity with complex laws and processes. Partnering with an experienced law firm may help minimize or prevent mistakes. During such a critical time, even the most minor lapses can hurt the outcome of a case.