The crime of child pornography under Florida law is defined as the intentional possession and viewing of photographs, shows, exhibitions, motion pictures, images, data files, representations, animations, and computer depictions that involve children under the age of 18 years.
Florida’s child pornography laws are among the strictest in the country. To be prosecuted, you must be found to be in possession of several images or other materials of child pornography. Each of those images will be treated as a separate crime. Thus, if you are caught with 50 child pornography images, you will be charged with 50 counts of possession of child pornography.
Penalties for possession of child pornography
So, what are the consequences of child pornography in Florida?
Child pornography possession is a third-degree felony in Florida and is punishable by a five year probation or prison sentence and/or a $5,000 fine. If you are convicted of a single count of possession of child pornography, you may be handed a sex offender probation or be sentenced to the maximum five-year prison sentence depending on factors such as prior convictions.
If charged with more than three counts of possession of child pornography, the consequences are significantly harsher, but the statutory maximum steal remains a five year jail term. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, any person convicted of four counts of possession of child pornography will face a minimum of 12 months in prison. Additional counts carry an extra four months each. That is to say, if you are convicted of seven counts of possession of child pornography, you will be handed a 24-month prison sentence.
Additionally, anyone convicted of possession of child pornography, irrespective of the sentencing they are handed, will be registered as a sex offender and be placed on probation. Designated sex offenders are required to adhere to Florida’s sexual offender registration laws, regardless of where you are in the United States. Probation terms apply for the rest of the offender’s life.
Defenses for possession of child pornography include:
- Adult depiction
- Transitory possession
Adult depiction is applicable if the images you are prosecuted for are of persons aged 18 years or more even if some of the people in the images are below the age of 18.
On basis of transitory possession, you can evade conviction for possessing images of child pornography unwittingly. For instance, if a friend sends you a pornographic image with a child or children in it, which you open and delete immediately after learning of its illicit nature, you may not be convicted even if you are still in possession of the image’s thumbnail or memory cache.
Florida child pornography laws were put in place to protect children from being exploited in images and videos depicting sexual conduct. Sexual conduct includes; simulated and actual sexual activity; touching of the genitals of an unclothed person; or the sheer exhibition of a person’s genitals or pubic area with the intent to cause sexual arousal or gratification. If one or more of the depicted persons in the images is a child in legal terms, you will be prosecuted for possession of child pornography.
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