Child Pornography Laws

Child pornography crimes carry harsh penalties in New Jersey. Child pornography charges are among the most serious legal matters an individual can face. In addition to fines and incarceration, a conviction on child pornography charges will subject you to significant stigmas and lifelong consequences for your rights and liberties.

If you are facing child pornography charges in New Jersey, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The Keith Oliver Criminal Law legal team has a successful track record of having charges dropped, cases dismissed, and penalties reduced for defendants across the state. Contact us today for a free case review to learn more about how we can help you.

Legal Definition of Child Pornography in New Jersey

What is child pornography, and what is sex crime? Under New Jersey and federal child pornography laws, it is illegal to cause or permit anyone under 18 to engage in sexual acts to photograph or film them in any manner. Viewing, possessing, sharing, or distributing such images or videos, including via peer-to-peer networks, is also illegal. Child pornography counts as a sex crime.

For the purposes of this law, prohibited sex acts specifically include:

  • Sexual or anal intercourse
  • Oral sex¬†
  • Masturbation
  • Bestiality
  • Sadism or masochism
  • Nudity for the purposes of sexual stimulation or gratification of the viewer

Child pornography is also illegal under federal law because, as a form of child sexual exploitation, child pornography does not fall into the category of constitutionally protected speech.

Understanding Child Pornography Charges

Understanding the intricacies of child pornography charges in New Jersey is crucial for anyone facing these allegations. These charges aren’t just about possession or distribution of explicit material involving minors; they can also encompass a wide range of activities such as solicitation, coercion, or even manufacturing of such content. It’s important to note that these charges can be leveled against you on both the state and federal levels, leading to cumulative sentences that can dramatically affect your life.

An investigation into child pornography often starts with a tip-off to law enforcement agencies. This information could come from internet service providers, an ex-partner, or an anonymous source. Once there’s enough evidence, authorities issue a search warrant to seize computers, smartphones, and other devices that might contain explicit material. Upon discovery, you could be arrested and charged.

Potential Consequences and Penalties

New Jersey has some of the country’s harshest penalties for possessing child pornography images. These penalties include incarceration, fines, and a permanent criminal record. Penalties differ according to the severity of the charges. For example:

  • Anyone who engages a minor in child pornography must serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentence.
  • Those convicted of distributing 25 or more images face a minimum sentence of five years. Repeat offenders face a minimum sentence of ten years.
  • Certain convictions require lifetime parole supervision.
  • Many offenders must appear on the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry for the remainder of their lives.

Defense Strategies for Child Pornography Charges

When you’re accused of a crime as serious as child pornography, mounting a robust defense becomes imperative. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can tailor an approach to suit your situation. Here are some commonly employed defense strategies for these types of charges:

Challenging the Search Warrant

One of the initial lines of defense involves scrutinizing the validity of the search warrant. Was it legally obtained? Did law enforcement officers exceed the scope of the warrant during the search? Invalidating the search warrant could result in the exclusion of evidence, severely weakening the prosecution’s case.

Evaluating Chain of Custody

The prosecution must establish an uninterrupted chain of custody for the evidence. Any irregularities could make it challenging to prove that the alleged explicit material was in your possession and has not been subject to tampering.

Consent and Age Verification

Arguing that the material doesn’t involve minors could be a viable defense, provided you have irrefutable evidence that all parties appearing in the material were of legal age at the time of production.

Lack of Knowledge or Intent

Another defense strategy is showing that you were not aware of the illegal content on your device. This defense could be particularly applicable if multiple people have access to the computer or smartphone in question.

Computer and Network Forensics

In some cases, a forensic analysis of your computer or network can prove instrumental in establishing that the illicit material was downloaded or distributed without your knowledge, perhaps due to a virus or hacking activity.

Taking Action if You’re Facing Charges

If you are facing child pornography charges, you must act immediately to retain experienced criminal counsel. The prosecution will use the power and resources of the state to try to secure a conviction and the most severe punishment possible. Working with an aggressive defense attorney may be your only way of avoiding the harshest outcomes.

Rebuilding and Recovery

If you’ve faced child pornography charges and managed to make your way through the legal labyrinth, the path to rebuilding and recovery is a challenging yet vital journey. Whether you’ve secured a dismissal, reduced your charges, or served your sentence, the aftermath demands personal and professional rehabilitation. You can engage in psychological counseling, pursue vocational training, and work on restoring relationships to reintegrate into society. Consulting a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can also guide you on legally mitigating the impact of your past. Rebuilding is tough, but with a comprehensive approach, a second chance is possible.

Contact Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys Today

Facing child pornography charges is overwhelming, but you do not have to fight this battle alone. The experienced legal team at Keith Oliver Criminal Law understands the stress you are experiencing right now, and we are ready to fight for your best interests. Contact us today for a free case review. We will listen to your side of the story and inform you of your legal options.