Child Pornography Penalties in Maryland
Safeguard Your Future with Our Baltimore Criminal Defense Attorney
Maryland has very strict laws regarding the possession, development, and distribution of child pornography. In fact, state and federal laws make it a criminal offense for a resident to even knowingly own or retain visual representations of children under the age of 16 if they are engaging in sexual acts.
If you’re arrested and charged with any offenses relating to child pornography, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. If convicted, you could be sentenced to prison and forced to pay exorbitant fines. At The Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, we can help you fight child pornography allegations and protect you from the devastating consequences associated with a criminal record.
Contact our Baltimore criminal defense lawyer at (443) 709-9999 to fight your charges today.
Possession of Child Pornography
Depending on the circumstances and severity of the charges, a defendant could be prosecuted in state or federal court. According to Maryland Code Section 11-208, “a person may not knowingly possess and intentionally retain a film, videotape, photograph, or other visual representation showing an actual child under the age of 16 years: (1) engaged as a subject of sadomasochistic abuse; (2) engaged in sexual conduct; (3) in a state of sexual excitement.”
If convicted of a misdemeanor, a defendant my face the following penalties:
- Up to 5 years in prison
- A fine up to $2,500
If convicted of a felony, a defendant my face the following penalties:
- Up to 10 years in prison
- A fine up to $10,000
There are affirmative defenses available to people charged with possession of child pornography. For example, it may be easier to secure a case dismissal or acquittal if the defendant accidentally or inadvertently acquired the visual representation and tried to destroy it or willingly reported the matter to the police.
Production or Distribution of Child Pornography
A defendant can face serious legal penalties for producing or distributing child pornography. Maryland Criminal Law Section 11-207 states that a “person may not (1) cause, induce, solicit, or knowingly allow a minor to engage as a subject in the production of obscene matter or a visual representation or performance that depicts a minor engaged as a subject in sadomasochistic abuse or sexual conduct; (2) photograph or film a minor engaging in an obscene act, sadomasochistic abuse, or sexual conduct…(4) knowingly promote, advertise, solicit, distribute, or possess with the intent to distribute any matters, visual representation, or performance: (i) that depicts a minor engages as a subject in sadomasochistic abuse or sexual conduct.”
If convicted of a first violation, an offender may face the following penalties:
- Up to 10 years in prison
- A fine up to $25,000
Subsequent convictions could result in the following penalties:
- Up to 20 years in prison
- A fine up to $50,000
Any child pornography conviction can also include the following probationary requirements:
- Special education classes
- Mandatory reports to a probation agent
- House arrest
- Completing the COMET program
- Mandatory therapy sessions
- Restricted internet use
- Registering as a sex offender
When someone if convicted of a child pornography-related crime, they are required to register with the state as a sex offender. Sex offenders are legally responsible for registering in the following jurisdictions: where they were convicted, where they reside, where they attend school, and where they are employed. A criminal background like this can prevent you from obtaining employment, purchasing a home, and pursuing an education. It can also damage your personal life by preventing you from maintaining healthy relationships with friends and family members.
Federal Child Pornography Charges
State and federal law enforcement agencies work together on task forces to arrest people who receive, produce, and distribute child pornography. For example, the Maryland State Police’s Computer Crimes Division is funded just to investigate reports of child exploitation and pornography. Most child pornography cases start as state-level investigations before developing into federal cases.
Federal pornography charges include:
- Production of child pornography (18 U.S. Code Section 2251)
- Selling and buying of children (18 U.S. Code Section 2251A)
- Possession, distribution and receipt of child pornography (18 U.S. Code Section 2252)
- Online solicitation of children (18 U.S. Code Section 2252A)
- Production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States (18 U.S. Code Section 2260)
First time offenders receive of a mandatory sentence of 5-20 years in prison, while repeat offenders could face up to 40 years.
Facing Criminal Charges? Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you’re facing child pornography charges, you need to hire an experienced and aggressive attorney as soon as possible. At The Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, our legal team is led by a Baltimore criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience. We have helped countless clients secure charge reductions, case dismissals, and acquittals. When your life is in jeopardy, depend on a legal team that can effectively guide you through each step of this legal process.
Contact The Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates today at (443) 709-9999 to schedule a free consultation.