Possession of child pornography may seem like a victimless crime. In many cases, simply having pictures may not create obvious victims. However, one person’s possession means that others are distributing and creating this material, directly victimizing children. Because of this, there are various levels of crime for child pornography crimes – but they are all quite serious.
If you have been investigated for, arrested for, or charged with child pornography crimes, contact an attorney right away. The Haddonfield child pornography defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych may be able to help. For your free consultation, contact our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.
Child Pornography Charges in Haddonfield
Child pornography crimes have a few requirements and definitions that are important to understand. First, the definition of “child” is, unsurprisingly, anyone under 18 years old when the picture was taken. Even if the person in the picture is the one who took it, it may still count. Second, the picture must depict something sexually explicit. This can involve sexual intercourse, any sex act, or simple nudity, if it is intended to give someone sexual gratification.
Some crimes require possession of the child pornography, while others punish different aspects. For this offense, the term “possession” is defined to include not only having the material under your control, but also receiving or viewing it.
In total, five different forms of conduct involving child pornography are illegal in New Jersey. The statute that governs these crimes is the law against endangering the welfare of a child, codified under N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4. These five child pornography crimes are:
- Causing or allowing a child to participate in child pornography. This crime most directly victimizes the children involved, and carries the harshest penalties.
- Photographing, recording, or producing child pornography. This also directly victimizes children and carries the second highest penalty.
- Distribution of child pornography. This crime spreads this illegal material and increases the demand for more. While it does not directly victimize children, it still spreads the images and leads to more material, so it is punished strongly. This treats traditional distribution and internet distribution equally.
- Possession of child pornography. Possession with the intent to distribute is barely a step removed from distribution itself, and carries the same penalties. Simple possession without the intent to distribute carries a lighter penalty.
- Running child pornography file-sharing programs. If you run a computer or internet program or service for sharing child pornography files, you face the same penalties as the distribution offense, even if you personally do not transfer or possess the material.
All of these crimes are serious offenses. Many of these crimes can be charged alongside each other, and penalties may stack for each specific item of child pornography police discover. This can mean very high penalties.
Child Pornography Penalties in Haddonfield
Because these crimes have varying levels of severity and victimization of children, they carry similarly varied levels of punishment. The most severe form of these crimes is causing or allowing a child to participate in child pornography. This is a first degree crime in New Jersey, on the same level as murder and rape. The penalties for this crime may include 10-20 years in prison and fines up to $200,000.
Producing child pornography, distributing child pornography, possessing it with the intent to distribute, and running a web server for distribution all carry the same penalties. These are second degree crimes in New Jersey. This means a potential of 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000.
Simple possession of child pornography is the lightest of these offenses, but still carries harsh penalties. This third degree crime can result in 3-5 years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.
Many of these penalties can activate, even for possession, distribution, or creation of one item of child pornography. Even without being convicted, you can still face serious social stigmas and penalties. News of your charges may affect your job, public position, or reputation in the community. In addition, conviction for this crime could magnify these effects. As conviction for any felony offense can carry strong stigmas, the stigma for a felony sex crime conviction is even worse.
Since these crimes are often classified as sexual offense, they can require sex offender registration. This can follow you for years and damage your options for work, housing, and social situations. There may also be additional penalties regarding computer use. Many people convicted of these crimes have their computer or internet access limited for a long period, or on an ongoing basis.
Our Haddonfield, NJ Defense Lawyers Can Help
The South Jersey defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych represent those accused of serious crimes in Haddonfield and throughout South Jersey. Our lawyers have decades of experience working in criminal law, and may be able to help you with your case. Our attorneys also work hard to protect our clients’ rights and attorney-client privilege. Because of this, our consultations and services are always completely confidential. For a free consultation with our attorneys, call our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.