Being accused of possessing unlawful image files is an overwhelming and frightening experience. Not only are certain pornography charges serious, but, understandably, the last thing most people facing this type of accusation want to do is talk about it.
Merely being charged will have negative effects on a person’s life. A conviction regarding knowingly possessing unlawful digital files charges, of course, will bring devastating consequences that will affect and follow you for the rest of your life.
The Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys at the Law Firm of Feeney & Gurwitz have experience defending unlawful digital files and Internet sex crimes cases. Our team knows what it takes to plan an aggressive and successful defense against these types of charges and accusations. We have contacts with the experts that can evaluate the legal and technical aspects of these very serious charges. An experienced criminal trial lawyer working with computer forensics experts and/or psychosexual experts can make a huge impact on the ultimate outcome of these cases.
What Constitutes Unlawful Digital Files In Pennsylvania?
There are several individual crimes that stem from certain pornography from which one can be charged. The most basic definition of a unlawful image crime in Pennsylvania is possessing, viewing, distributing, producing, or coercing a minor to participate in any type of material that shows or simulates a person under 18 years of age in a sexual act.
Specific crimes and their definition are outlined in Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18, § 6312. The law defines three specific criminal charges related to sexual child abuse and unlawful pornography:
- Photographing, videotaping, depicting on a computer, or filming sexual acts involving anyone under 18 is a second-degree felony and is defined as:
- Any person who causes or knowingly permits a child under the age of 18 years to engage in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such act commits an offense if such person knows, has reason to know, or intends that such act may be photographed, videotaped, depicted on computer or filmed.
- Any person who knowingly photographs, videotapes, depicts on computer or films a child under the age of 18 years engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act commits an offense.
- Dissemination of photographs, videotapes, computer depictions, and films is a third-degree felony and is defined as:
- Any person who knowingly sells, distributes, delivers, disseminates, transfers, displays or exhibits to others, or who possesses for the purpose of sale, distribution, delivery, dissemination, transfer, display or exhibition to others, any book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction or other material depicting a child under the age of 18 years engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such act commits an offense.
- Possession of Unlawful Pornography is a third-degree felony and is defined as:
- Any person who intentionally views or knowingly possesses or controls any book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction or other material depicting a child under the age of 18 years engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such act commits an offense.
In some circumstances, charges can also be graded one degree higher. So, in short, if you are convicted of any type of unlawful pornography charge in Pennsylvania you will be found guilty of a third-degree felony at best, and a first-degree felony at worst.
A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 7 years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine. Second and third-degree felonies are punishable by up to 10 and 20 years in prison respectively, plus a fine of up to $25,000. Each image can be charged as a separate crime.
Speak With An Experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing possession or distribution of unlawful pornography charges in Pennsylvania, or think you will be, the Law Offices of Feeney & Gurwitz can help. Our team of criminal defense attorneys has the experience and tenacity to make sure that your rights are protected, your defense is strong, and your case is closed with the best possible results.
With any type of criminal charges, it is crucial to speak with a competent and qualified defense attorney as soon as possible. The more time you and your lawyer have to work on defense, the better the chances that you will see good results.
Your initial consultation is free and confidential at Feeney & Gurwitz. Call us at (610) 378-7000 to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to go over the details of your case and discuss what we can do to help you.