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Child Pornography Laws in California

Posted in Criminal Defense on August 16, 2019

Child pornography is illegal in California, and those found guilty of a child pornography offense can face a range of harsh penalties. Under California’s Penal Code 311, there is a broad range of ways that a person could face child pornography charges. If you or a loved one have been charged with any of the following crimes, please seek help from a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately.

Child pornography in California is defined as any images, video, data, computer files, and more that depict anyone under 18 years of age engaged in a sexual act.

In the California code, you will find that it is illegal to:

  • knowingly send, transport, produce, possess or duplicate any child pornography, with intent to distribute it (311.1 PC and 311.2 PC)
  • develop, duplicate, print or exchange any child pornography (311.3 PC)
  • knowingly hire, employ, use, persuade, or coerce a minor to participate in the production of child porn (311.4 PC)
  • knowingly advertise obscene child porn for sale or distribution (311.10 PC)
  • knowingly possess or control any child pornography that was produced using a person under 18 (311.11 PC)

Penalties for child pornography in California

Violating the laws listed above can have a range of consequences that depend on the overall facts of the case. Many child pornography crimes are charged as wobblers, meaning they can be tried as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

  • The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor child pornography crime in this state is:
    • One year in county jail
    • A fine of up to $2,000
  • If the case is tried as a felony, a person could face:
    • A range of 16 months to eight years in state prison
    • A fine of up to $100,000

A person found guilty of a child pornography charge could also be required to register as a sex offender of the rest of their lives. This will affect a person’s ability to get a job as well as restrict where they can live. Sex offender status could be ordered for a misdemeanor or a felony conviction.

What you need to do if you are charged

If you or someone you love is facing child pornography charges in California, please seek legal assistance as soon as possible. The state takes these charges very seriously, and you can face prison time, fines, a ruined reputation, and the requirement to register as a sex offender if you are found guilty. A skilled Riverside sex crime lawyer will examine all of the charges and evidence against you and work to build a defense in your case immediately.