Child pornography charges often place defendants in the public spotlight, especially if they have a high-ranking job or are a public figure. These charges can ruin people’s careers, destroy their reputation, and gravely affect their housing and social situations. If you are being investigated for a child pornography crime or have already been charged, it is vital that you talk to an attorney as soon as you can.
The Brooklawn child pornography defense lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych represent people charged with these difficult crimes. For a free consultation with our South Jersey criminal defense attorneys, contact our law offices today at (609) 625-3006.
Child Pornography Charges in Brooklawn
Child pornography crimes do not have their own statute that defines these crimes. Instead, they are classified under New Jersey’s endangering the welfare of children statute. This law, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4, makes it a crime to physically endanger the safety or welfare of a child. In addition, it creates a number of child pornography crimes.
The first of these crimes is causing or allowing a child to participate in child pornography. This is the crime that most directly betrays responsibility for the child’s welfare and directly victimizes them by participating in child pornography with the children, or allowing them to be subjugated to the acts. Because of this, it is also the most serious of these offenses.
The second crime is photographing, recording, or otherwise producing child pornography. The people who do this may be slightly removed from the victimization by sitting behind the camera, but they are also creating this material using the children. Because of this, this crime is also severe.
The third crime is distributing child pornography. This may not directly victimize children, but it spreads child pornography and increases the rate of other child pornography crimes.
The fourth crime is running a server or file-sharing program for child pornography. While you may not be directly sharing or distributing the material, maintaining the program facilitates distribution.
The fifth crime is possession of child pornography. There are two levels of possession crimes – one for possession with intent to distribute, and another for simple possession. Possession with intent to distribute is as severe as distribution itself, while there are lighter penalties for simple possession.
There are some important definitions to understand with these crimes. First, for this to be child pornography, there must be a child under 18 involved. However, the government does not need to prove that the subject was actually under 18 if they appear under 18. Second, there must be some lewd or sexual content in the material, which can include sex acts, sadism, masochism, or even simple nudity (if it is for someone’s sexual gratification).
For possession charges, the definition of “possession” is very broad. Not only is having the items under your control “possession,” but so is viewing or receiving the material.
New Jersey’s Penalties for Child Pornography Crimes
The child pornography offenses listed in N.J.S.A. § 2C:24-4 are all extremely serious offenses, to which the government has assigned very heavy penalties. First, all of these crimes are sexual offenses. That means that being convicted for any of these crimes could require you to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. This registration can keep you on lists and registries, causing trouble for you when you try to apply for work or housing, or try to do nearly anything involving children.
In addition, there is the social stigma associated with these crimes. Since they are all felonies, in that they carry more than a year in prison, you may have further difficulties getting jobs. In addition, these charges and convictions could put a strain on relationships with friends, family, and others – especially those with children.
There are also very high fines and potential prison sentences for these crimes:
Causing or allowing a child to be in pornography is a first degree crimes. This is punished with 10-20 years in prison and fines up to $200,000.
Producing child pornography, distributing child pornography, possession with the intent to distribute, or running a file-sharing service are all second degree crimes. These are punished with 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000.
Simple possession is a third degree crime. This is punished with 3-5 years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
All of these crimes may also come with additional restrictions on computer use. Since the internet and computers are common tools for these crimes, the government may restrict or monitor your computer use going forward.
South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers
The South Jersey child pornography defense lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych may be able to help you with your child pornography charges. Our attorneys use our combined decades of experience to offer strategic and confidential representation for our clients. We understand tough cases, and work to help you through yours. For a free, confidential consultation on your charges, contact our law offices today at (609) 625-3006.