Possession of Child Pornography Can Lead to Felony Charges in Illinois
The laws in Illinois are strict when it comes to the safety and privacy of children. There are several violations that can have serious consequences, and even just possessing child pornography can result in criminal charges. A child pornography conviction and registration as a sex offender can change a person’s life forever. In addition to facing jail time and fines, he or she may also be barred from being near any child, school, playground, or other locations in which children are present.
The Impact of a Child Pornography Conviction
Illinois law defines child pornography as any photo or video that depicts a person -- boy or girl -- under the age of 18 years performing any sexual activity. The law also includes photos or videos of exposed or naked minors.
Persons who are caught possessing any such material will face felony charges, and if convicted, they will be required to register as a sex offender for at least 10 years. The felony punishments vary depending on the circumstances of the violation:
Offenders who attempt to take photos and/or videos of a child under 18 years of age will be charged with a Class 1 felony, which is punishable by a fine of $2,000-$100,000 and a prison term of 4 to 15 years. This includes parents or stepparents who arrange for their minor child to be exploited sexually on camera.
Offenders who are caught possessing child pornography of a minor under 18 years of age after persuading the minor to participate in the illegal act will be charged with a Class X felony, which is punishable by a fine of $2,000-$10,000 and a prison term of 6 to 30 years.
Any person who has previously been convicted of a sexual offense will be charged with a Class X felony and face a prison term of at least nine years.
Punishments are elevated if the exploited minor is under the age of 13 years old.
Defenses Against Child Pornography Accusations
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but images can be misleading. An accused offender’s best defense against child pornography charges is claiming that the person depicted in the photos/videos is in fact over the age of 18. If the prosecution cannot prove that the alleged victim in the pornographic images is under 18 years old, the accused individual may avoid punishment.
Other defense strategies include:
Claiming ignorance that the person in the pornographic images is under 18 years old
Claiming the child pornography is not his or her property
Claiming he or she did not know of the existence of the child pornography
Claiming that the photos/videos of child pornography were obtained in an illegal search and seizure
Contact an Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney
False convictions of possession of child pornography will have a dramatic impact on your life, and you may face heavy fines, prison time, or registration as a sex offender. If you are facing these types of criminal charges, the experienced attorneys at the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa will build a strong defense and help you make sure you are not wrongly punished for a crime you did not commit. If you or someone you know needs help defending against false accusations of child pornography, schedule a free consultation with one of our St. Charles sex crimes defense lawyers. Call our office today at 630-232-1780.