September 20, 2017 By Paul Wallin


Punishment for Federal Child Pornography Convictions

Child pornography crimes carry harsh punishment in California. In many cases involving child pornography, you could face federal charges, which are punished more severely.

So, when can you be charged with federal child pornography? What are the consequences of a federal child pornography conviction? Let our experienced child pornography attorneys explain federal laws.

When Will I Be Charged with a Federal Child Pornography Crime?

What triggers a federal prosecution? The key is whether the prohibited images are transported across state or national borders.

The Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce. The Supreme Court has held this to mean that Congress can control the paths of commerce as well as what travels on those paths. The paths include means of telecommunication, such as telephone lines and cable systems that are used in transmission of data.

What this means is that you could be charged with a federal crime if you are on the internet in California and you download an image that came from a server in Arizona. In fact, the child pornography image itself does not have to cross state or international lines for you to be charged federally. Federal law can apply if the materials used to store the image, such as the computer used to download the image or the cellphone used to take the photo, previously traveled in interstate or foreign commerce.

Federal child pornography laws have a very wide reach, and include nearly every case of child pornography involving the internet.

Punishment for Federal Child Pornography Convictions

The punishment for federal child pornography convictions is generally more severe than the punishment for the same crime under California law.

Under 18 U.S.C. Section 2256, the possession, distribution and receipt of child pornography is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison, with the maximum increasing to 20 years if the child depicted in the images is under the age of 12. However, for a second conviction, the minimum sentence increases to 10 years with the possibility of up to 20 years.

Federal distribution of or knowingly receiving child pornography images is punishable by a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 20 years in prison. A prior conviction can increase the penalties to between 15 and 40 years.

What Does the Judge Consider When Determining the Sentence?

If you are found guilty of a child pornography crime under federal law, the judge must sentence you to a punishment that is within the range provided by the statute. However, your sentence can be increased drastically if:

  • The images involved are violent, sadistic or masochistic in nature
  • The minor was sexually abused, or
  • You have prior convictions for child sexual exploitation

In some cases, you could face life in prison if you any of these circumstances are true in your case.

Contact the Child Pornography Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or someone you love is facing state or federal child pornography charges, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled criminal lawyers have over 40 years of experience successfully defending clients facing child pornography charges. Let us help you now.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich child pornography attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.

Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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