Jail for Child Porn Distribution & Other Punishments for Convictions

Federal child pornography laws are extremely harsh. After all, they’re designed to protect some of the most vulnerable citizens: Our minor children.

However, as technology has evolved, it’s become much easier to accidentally view or distribute illegal material – even without your knowledge or consent.

Without a good child pornography defense team, you may be convicted of distribution. That conviction comes with jail time and other possible punishments.

If you are accused of distributing child porn, then you should know:

Child Pornography: A Federal and State Offense

Pornography is a multi-billion-dollar industry with many different subcategories and genres. Creating, distributing, and viewing porn is (usually) perfectly legal.

Constant exposure can push the boundary of what is acceptable and what isn’t, from a legal perspective. In some cases, you might not even know that what you’re viewing is illegal.

However, child pornography is universally illegal. Per Maryland state and federal law, you can’t distribute any child porn, let alone make it.

Whether you’re charged with a federal or state crime depends on geography, though. For child porn distribution to be considered a federal offense, the distribution must have passed state borders. Otherwise, it’s a Maryland state crime.

For example, distribution of child pornography becomes a federal offense if:

  • The porn was distributed via the internet – no matter where it started or where it was slated to arrive;
  • The porn was mailed across state lines or internationally, or a public service like the post office was used to distribute it; or
  • The porn physically crossed state or international borders, such as a USB memory stick or photographs.

Federal and state law also differ on definitions of a “minor” or “child.” In Maryland, the age of consent is 16; nationally, it’s 18 years old.

Therefore, someone could be accused of child porn distribution in federal – but not state! – court if the individual in the porn is between 16 and 18 years old.

>>READ MORE ON CRIMINAL DEFENSE OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES<<

Jail Time for Child Porn Distribution in Maryland State & Federal Courts

You can be charged in both federal and state courts for child porn distribution. However, your charges are based on the specific language of the law – and those laws will determine possible sentences, including jail time.

Maryland Child Porn Distribution Jail Time & Punishments

In the last several years, the Maryland legislature has amped up strict requirements on convicted child pornography offenders.

If you are found guilty of distributing child pornography in Maryland, you’re looking at:

  • Up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $25,000 for a first offense.
  • Up to 10 years in state prison and/or a fine of $50,000 for every later offense.
  • Up to 5 years on probation
  • Registration on the sex offender registry, which means job issues and housing issues at the very least.
  • Possible polygraph exams
  • Possible internet and/or computer restrictions

Federal Child Porn Distribution Jail Time & Punishments

If you’re looking at federal child porn charges if it went across state lines or was distributed through the internet, then there are additional penalties and jail time to consider.

  • Judges must sentence at least 5 years in federal prison if someone is convicted of child pornography distribution, even if it’s a first offense.
  • Public prosecutors frequently recommend maximum sentencing of close to 40 years.

In both federal and state child porn cases, remember that charges to distribute child porn can also compound with accusations of simply possessing – or even creating – child porn. Rarely is someone charged with just child porn distribution.

That’s how additional jail time can apply if convicted of multiple child porn charges. Under federal convictions, maximum jail sentences also increase if the porn in question depicts a child under 12 years old, or a “prepubescent.”

Avoiding Child Porn Distribution Convictions & Jail Time

If you face charges of distributing child pornography, then you must talk to an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. They will be able to realistically tell you how your case might go – including potential jail time on conviction – and what can be done to defend.

In a child porn distribution case, a child porn defense attorney might argue that:

  • The defendant didn’t know the depicted individual was a minor.
  • The material in question is “erotic,” not “pornographic,” in nature.
  • The defendant took steps to prevent current and future damage, including telling law enforcement about the porn as soon as they became aware, meeting with a sex therapist, or participating in group therapy.

Malware on the defendant’s computer distributed the pornography without their knowledge, and so had no intent to distribute.

Child pornography cases are incredibly difficult to navigate. You need to retain an attorney who understands what these charges do to your current life through a blackened reputation, as well as their potential harm on your future through a conviction and jail sentence.

Please reach out to our Firm as soon as possible if you’re facing child pornography charges of any sort. Whatever the circumstances of your specific case, there is life on the other side of this trial.

[CHECKLIST] If you need a criminal defense lawyer in Maryland, learn the 8 questions you must ask before retaining.

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