Being accused of child pornography is an unnerving experience in and of itself but these situations can escalate if you are convicted of any type of child pornography crime in the state of Texas.
Defining Child Pornography in Texas
The federal government and the state of Texas prohibit the promotion, exploitation, or use of children younger than 18 for employment or performance of sexual acts or any depictions of sexual acts.
As such, a person in Texas may also be held responsible and face criminal penalties as a result of creating, promoting, or distributing materials that demonstrate any of these illegal acts with any form of visual representation.
Penalties for Employing a Child Under the Age of 18
In the event that you have employed a child under the age of 18 for sexual performance or conduct, you may be facing severe criminal penalties. These are classified as second degree felonies in the state of Texas, carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the child involved in the visual representation or pornography is less than 14 years of age, you could have your charges elevated to a first degree felony with a sentence of 5 to 99 years in state prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
In addition, any federal sex crime for which you have been convicted mandates that you register as a sex offender for every offense. A second conviction of child pornography additionally carries a penalty of up to 40 years in federal prison.
Texas Statutes Associated with Child Pornography
Texas Penal Code § 43.25 identifies the crime of child pornography, if you have induced authorized or employed an individual under the age of 18 to engage in sexual performance or sexual conduct. Texas Penal Code § 21.15 makes it illegal to record, photograph, videotape, transmit or broadcast any visual images of a child without his or her consent and with the intent to sexually gratify or arouse another person. This can even include making a video of a child in a department store fitting room or in a bathroom.
Defenses to Child Pornography
Defenses in child pornography cases in Texas typically revolve around whether or not these images depict children younger than 18 years old.
You may also have defenses associated with whether or not you knew that you possessed child pornography. The state is responsible for demonstrating sufficient evidence that the person in question actually viewed the images in his or her internet cache.
What You Need to Know About the Federal Child Pornography Statute
Child pornography charges may also be associated with a federal crime. Under 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a), the following acts are illegal in the United States:
- Reproducing child pornography
- Transferring, mailing or transporting child pornography over a computer
- Distributing or receiving any form of child pornography
- Offering to provide child pornography to a minor
- Knowingly accessing material or possessing material with the intent to view any kind of child pornography
- Promoting or advertising child pornography
- Producing child pornography with the intent to distribute it with a modified version of an identifiable minor
The Child Protection Act of 2012 increased the maximum term for imprisonment associated with possession of child pornography. If you are found guilty of having photos of a minor under the age of 12, you could be looking at 20 years in prison.
In the event that you have been accused of possessing, distributing, or otherwise engaging in child pornography or if you believe you are under investigation for similar charges, you need to consult with a Houston criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Getting an attorney’s help immediately can help to prevent further problems. Contact my Houston criminal defense office today to protect yourself from these problematic charges.