Contact Us Today! (434) 260-7899

Child Pornography Crimes

Child pornography is taken very seriously in Virginia. Possession, trading, or soliciting child pornography can lead to serious jail time and designation as a sex offender. Unfortunately, innocent people are wrongly accused of child pornography crimes and are convinced to plead guilty rather than face more serious penalties. You have the right to a strong defense and you should not have to plead guilty just because the police make you feel like a criminal. 

If you or a loved one has been accused of possession or distribution of child pornography, contact an aggressive criminal defense attorney to protect your reputation. Bryan J. Jones can review the evidence against you and help develop a strong legal defense. Contact his office in Charlottesville today.  

Child Pornography Laws in Virginia 

Under Virginia law, there are separate child pornography statutes for production, possession, and display of child pornography. 

Possession of Child Pornography

Under Virginia Code § 18.2-374.1:1, possession of child pornography is a felony offense. Any person who knowingly possesses child pornography is guilty of a Class 6 felony. If convicted, the penalties for a Class 6 felony conviction include:

  • A fine of not more than $2,500; and
  • A term of imprisonment for 1 to 5 years; or
  • Confinement in jail for up to 12 months. 

A second or subsequent violation of possession of child pornography is a Class 5 felony. If convicted, the penalties for a Class 5 felony conviction include:

  • A fine of not more than $2,500; and
  • A term of imprisonment for 1 to 10 years; or
  • Confinement in jail for up to 12 months. 

Any person who reproduces, gives away, sells, transmits, or distributes pornography can face a minimum of 5 years imprisonment up to 20 years in a state correctional facility. 

Production of Child Pornography

Under Virginia Code § 18.2-374.1, a person shall be guilty of production of child pornography who:

  1. Accosts, entices or solicits a person less than 18 years of age with intent to induce or force such person to perform in or be a subject of child pornography;
  2. Produces or makes or attempts or prepares to produce or make child pornography;
  3. Who knowingly takes part in or participates in the filming, photographing, or other production of child pornography by any means; or
  4. Knowingly finances or attempts or prepares to finance child pornography.

Under the law, attempting to produce, attempting to solicit a minor, or attempting to finance child pornography is a crime, even if no child pornography is ever produced. 

Penalties for Child Pornography Production

The penalties for production of child pornography depend on a number of factors, including the age of child and the number of convictions.

If the subject of the child pornography is less than 15 years old, the sentence is 5 to 30 years in a state correctional facility. If the defendant is at least 7 years older than the subject, there is a mandatory minimum of 5 years imprisonment. A second or subsequent violation where the defendant is at least 7 years older than the subject can be subject to imprisonment for 15 to 40 years.

If the subject is at least 15 years old but less than 18, the defendant can be sentenced from 1 to 20 years in a state correctional facility. However, if the defendant is at least 7 years older than the child, the sentence can include 3 to 30 years imprisonment.  A second or subsequent violation can result in 10 to 30 years of imprisonment.

Display of Child Pornography

Under Virginia Code § 18.2-374.4, display of child pornography or grooming video or material to a child is a Class 6 felony. Display of child pornography or grooming material involves, “any person 18 years of age or older who displays child pornography or a grooming video or materials to a child under 13 years of age with the intent to entice, solicit, or encourage the child to engage in the fondling of the sexual or genital parts of another or the fondling of his sexual or genital parts by another, sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus, anal intercourse, or object sexual penetration.”

“Grooming videos or materials” include more than just child pornography. It can include the following: “cartoon, animation, image, or series of images depicting a child engaged in the fondling of the sexual or genital parts of another or the fondling of his sexual or genital parts by another, masturbation, sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus, anal intercourse, or object sexual penetration.”

What is Considered Child Pornography? 

Under Virginia law, “child pornography" is defined as: “sexually explicit visual material which utilizes or has as a subject an identifiable minor.” 

An identifiable minor is a person who was a minor at the time the visual depiction was created, adapted, or modified; or whose image as a minor was used in creating, adapting or modifying the visual depiction; and who is recognizable as an actual person by the person's face, likeness, or other distinguishing characteristics. 

Sexually explicit visual material depicts sexual bestiality, or a lewd exhibition of nudity, sexual excitement, sexual conduct, or sadomasochistic abuse. The material can include any of the following: 

  • Picture, 
  • Photograph, 
  • Drawing, 
  • Sculpture,
  • Motion picture film, 
  • Digital image, 
  • Book, 
  • Magazine, or 
  • Pamphlet.

There does not need to be proof of the minor's identity or proof of the suspected minor's age. That the subject is a minor can be inferred by text, title, or appearance that the person presented is less than 18 years of age.  

Defenses to Child Pornography Charges in Virginia

Many child pornography charges involve files shared or stored on a computer. Unfortunately, computers are vulnerable to invasion or attack. Malicious software can insert video or photo files onto your computer that you are unaware of. Downloading what you think is a Hollywood movie may actually contain illegal child pornography. Even clicking on the wrong link can open up a page with child pornography images that will be stored on your computer even if you never intended to look at them.

Another reason innocent people are accused of child pornography is for revenge. After a divorce, break-up, one-night-stand, or in a child custody dispute, one may make false claims of abuse or child pornography claims to try and punish the other person. They could even try and plant evidence on the other person's computer, phone, or in their house. 

Challenging the elements of the prosecutor's case can create enough doubt to get a not guilty verdict. Challenging the evidence to keep it out of court may even weaken the prosecutor's case so much that they drop the charges. Bryan J. Jones will review the evidence, including your testimony, depositions of other relevant persons, review the police report, and investigate your case to develop a strong defense strategy. 

Contact an Experienced Sex Crime Defense Attorney in Charlottesville, VA 

If you have been charged with possession of child pornography or other sex offenses, you need to contact a smart, experienced criminal defense attorney in Charlottesville today. Bryan J. Jones is committed to his clients and puts forth defense strategies that work.

CONTACT US TODAY

In criminal cases, time is a crucial factor. Retaining an attorney as soon as you are charged is important. Contact the law offices of Bryan J. Jones, LLC to defend your case and help develop a strategy tailored just for you.

Menu