Being charged with crimes involving child pornography can be embarrassing, can gravely affect your reputation, and can put you in prison for a long time. If you or a loved one has been charged with possession or distribution of child pornography, it is vital to take the case to a criminal defense attorney.
The Collingswood child pornography defense attorneys understand the seriousness of these charges, and represent our clients with special attention to the complexities of these cases. The criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych also take special care to protect attorney-client privilege, and your rights against unreasonable searches and self-incrimination. For a free, confidential consultation on your cases, contact our South Jersey law offices today at (609) 616-4956.
Child Pornography Charges in Collingswood, NJ
There is no “child pornography” statute that deals only with child pornography crimes. Instead, New Jersey’s criminal statutes deal with child pornography crimes under the endangering the welfare of a child statute. N.J.S.A. § 2C:24-4 creates 5 child pornography crimes:
- It is illegal to cause or permit a child to engage in child pornography. This usually occurs when parents or other adults with authority over the child subject them to child pornography or participate in the recorded acts. Since they are directly victimizing children, this is the most serious of these offenses.
- Photographing, recording, or otherwise producing child pornography is the second most serious crime. This crime also directly victimizes the children, and carries the second highest classification.
- Distributing child pornography is another form of child pornography offense. This crime may not directly victimize the children, but it still fuels the trade of child pornography and encourages more production and child victimization.
- Managing or running a file-sharing program for child pornography distribution is also illegal. While this may not mean you are distributing child pornography, it still helps others distribute, and is a crime.
- Lastly, it is a crime to possess child pornography. This can take two forms: possession with the intent to deliver, and simple possession. If there is evidence that you intend to share or distribute this material, but not enough for distribution charges, your intent to distribute is enough to increase the penalties over simple possession.
The definition of “possession” under this statute is broad. It includes not only having the material under your control, but also receiving or viewing the material. This includes viewing it online, and does not necessarily require that the items were downloaded in any way.
Lastly, for the material to be “child pornography,” it must depict persons under 18 involved in sexual activity. This includes nearly any sexual activity, or simple nudity that is intended to cause someone sexual gratification.
Penalties for Child Pornography Crimes
Because, even for simple possession, these crimes ultimately harm children, the penalties are very severe. The most severe crime, having a child participate in child pornography, is a first degree crime in New Jersey. This puts it on the same footing as murder and rape. This crime carries a potential sentence of 10-20 years in prison and fines up to $200,000.
Multiple forms of this offense are second degree crimes in New Jersey. These crimes carry a potential of 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000. This level of crime covers production of child pornography, distribution, possession with the intent to distribute, and running a file-sharing program.
Simple possession without the intent to distribute is a third degree crime. Though this is the lowest level of child pornography offense, it still carries a potential fine of up to $15,000 and 3-5 years in prison.
Being convicted of a child pornography fine also has dozens of social and societal penalties. While these may not be built into the law anywhere, they are certainly struggles you may face for a child pornography conviction – or even for being charged. First, the stigma associated with these crimes may prevent you from getting jobs, may ruin your reputation, and may change the way friends and family see you. Second, being investigated for or convicted of a crime can have adverse employment consequences. Many felons find it hard to get jobs, especially after sex crime convictions.
Other legal consequences are also severe. You may be required to register as a sex offender if you are convicted, which can have systematic consequences for your work, where you live, and other aspects of your life. You may also have your computer or internet use restricted or monitored for a period of time, or as an ongoing consequence.
Collingswood, NJ Child Pornography Possession Lawyers
The Collingswood criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych represent those accused of serious crimes throughout South Jersey. Our lawyers have decades of experience dealing with difficult cases, and offer free, confidential consultations. To schedule your free consultation, contact our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.