What To Know About Child Pornography Charges In Texas
As with other sex crimes in Texas, possession, distribution, or production of child pornography are serious offenses that carry not only harsh criminal penalties, but severe collateral consequences that can affect a person’s life for years to come. These punishments exist to hold accountable those that use or spread child pornography, but can also affect people falsely accused of the crime. Those that maintain their innocence must obtain an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible when charged with any crime involving child pornography.
What is Child Pornography?
Pornography is defined as the use of sexually explicit material including videos and other images. When this explicit material involves one or more child, the acts are defined as involving child pornography. Texas Statutes Sec. 43.26 defines child pornography as “visual material that visually depicts a child younger than 18 years of age at the time the image of the child was made” when that person is engaging in any sexual conduct. Child pornography charges occur more often than most would think, and a federal survey showed Texas having some of the highest rates for child pornography offenders in the nation.
It is a crime under Texas law to “knowingly or intentionally” possess or intend to view and access explicit sexual content involving anyone under 18. The intent aspect of this statute is what often separates the worst purveyors of child pornography from those that might have accidentally or unknowingly viewed exploitative material involving someone under 18.
What Are the Penalties for Involvement with Child Pornography in Texas?
Knowingly or intentionally possessing child pornography as defined within Texas Statutes Sec. 43.26 is a third-degree felony in Texas. It can be enhanced to a second-degree felony if the defendant has been convicted of the same offense previously. If the defendant was previously convicted twice or more, this charge becomes a first-degree felony. If the State can prove that a person possessed child pornography with intent to promote the material, this can be charged as a second-degree felony.
In any of these cases, punishments can include anywhere from 2 to 20 years in prison, and fines up to $10,000.00. Lifetime registration as a sex offender is a potential punishment in nearly all child pornography cases.
The real-life consequences of a child pornography conviction can be nearly as bad. In addition to the stigma of being registered as a sex offender, a person will have a hard time shedding labels and avoiding judgment from employers, family members, friends, and others in their communities. Even after a jail sentences is served, those found guilty of child pornography crimes serve lifelong punishments in some other respects.
Our Pearland, Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help if You Are Charged With Possession of Child Pornography in Texas
A criminal charge of child pornography possession is one of the more frightening things a person can face. This is doubly true if they believe they were innocent, or did not knowingly possess the materials in question. For these cases, you need to build a careful but aggressive legal defense. At Keith B. French Law, our Pearland criminal lawyers understand your fears and the questions you will have when facing these types of charges. For questions and potential strategies regarding your case, contact the offices of Keith B. French Law, PLLC online or call 832-243-6153 today.