Possession of Child Pornography
The Texas courts have defined child pornography to be “…material that visually depicts a child younger than 18 years of age … who is engaging in sexual conduct …”. Given such a “loose” definition, it is not surprising that arrests on charges of child pornography are on the increase throughout the state.
Texas Penalties for Possession of Child Pornography
In Texas, it is relatively rare for an individual to be prosecuted for simply having child pornography in their possession. Most prosecutions are for charges of possession of child pornography “with the intent to distribute” for either financial gain or exchange with another individual. Under Texas law, possession of 6 or more identical copies of a given item is sufficient for the prosecution to establish “intent to distribute.” Regardless of one’s status as a first or repeat offender, the punishments for a conviction involving child pornography are severe.
Simple Possession Penalties
Simple possession of child pornography is considered a sex crime and has the following penalties:
- A third degree felony
- Carries a sentence of between 2 and 10 years imprisonment
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Combination of fine or imprisonment
Multiple sentences for convictions on multiple charges can thus involve substantial penalties. Upon release from prison, or as a condition of probation, those convicted may be ordered to register themselves as sex offenders with their local law enforcement agencies.
Intent to Distribute Penalties
Conviction for possession with the intent to promote or distribute child pornography has the following penalties:
- A second degree felony
- A prison term of between 2 and 20 years
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Lifelong registration as a sex offender is likely
Why Hire a Child Pornography Defense Attorney?
In modern society, having a personal computer has become almost a necessity. However, given the relative ease with which others may gain access to a computer that is not their own, it is certainly possible that someone could be charged with a computer-related crime without even knowing that a crime has been committed.
As in any other criminal case, the burden of proof rests with the prosecutor. This simply means that the same standards of evidence that would apply in any other criminal case must be met or the case cannot proceed. Defenses against possession of child pornography that are often overlooked may include:
- Entrapment by a police officer
- Improper or illegal search and seizure of evidence such as a personal computer
- The honest mistake of assuming the individuals in the materials seized were of legal age
- The possibility that the materials found did not, in fact, belong to the accused
To properly explore these and other defenses it is necessary to consult a criminal defense attorney experienced in defending child pornography cases.
Contact Attorney Gary Miller
Gary Miller combines his experience as former Assistant District Attorney for Harris County with his years of experience in criminal defense law to provide you with the best possible defense against a variety of criminal charges. If you are facing any criminal charge, including possession of child pornography, your first move should be to contact Gary and the staff of Miller Law Group, PLLC at 713-866-6233.