Maryland Child Pornography Lawyer
Child Pornography charges in Maryland come in several forms, possessing child pornography, and distributing child pornography. Child pornography cases require specialized knowledge about electronics, file sharing programs, networking, and technology related to both images and videos. In today's modern criminal justice system, State agencies have become much more complex in their prosecution of child pornography cases, and Maryland has developed a wealth of criminal law relating to child pornography.
If you're facing child pornography charges, you're going to need an experienced attorney who understands Maryland Criminal laws pertaining to child pornography, and the complex digital web the State will paint regarding how images are possessed or distributed.
What is considered child pornography in Maryland?
Child pornography describes a number of different types of images and videos, including any visual representation or performance that depicts a minor engaged as a subject in sadomasochistic abuse or sexual conduct.This would include any computer depiction of a minor, sometimes referred to as "hentai".
Sadomasochistic abuse is defined as:
(1) flagellation or torture committed by or inflicted on an individual who is:
(ii) wearing only undergarments; or
(iii) wearing a revealing or bizarre costume; or
(2) binding, fettering, or otherwise physically restraining an individual who is:
(ii) wearing only undergarments; or
(iii) wearing a revealing or bizarre costume.
Sexual conduct is defined as:
(1) human masturbation;
(2) sexual intercourse;
(3) whether alone or with another individual or animal, any touching of or contact with:
(i) the genitals, buttocks, or pubic areas of an individual; or
(ii) breasts of a female individual; or
(4) lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person.
Child Pornography Charges
Child Pornography charges in Maryland come in both felony and misdemeanor varieties. Many times a Defendant is charged with a mix of both, as rarely is a person alleged to have solely possessed the images they were charged with. Maryland's child pornography laws include the following criminal offenses:
Possession of Child Pornography
Simple possession of child pornography is a misdemeanor criminal offense in Maryland under MD Code, Criminal Law, 11-208 carrying a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment or a fine not exceeding $2,500 or both. A repeat offender could face a felony and on conviction and would be subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine not exceeding $10,000 or both.
If you are found to possess child pornography, you may also be required to register as a sex offender if upon conviction on the Maryland sex offender registry. Possession of Child pornography is a tier 1 offense in Maryland requiring fifteen years of registration as a registered sex offender on the Maryland Sex offender registry. There is a potential for reduction of this length to ten years if a person successfully completes probation and sex offender treatment, and does not have any new convictions that carry over one year of jail time.
Distributing child pornography
Distribution of child pornography is a felony offense in Maryland codified in Maryland MD Code, Criminal Law, 11-207, and carries a maximum penalty for a first violation, imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine not exceeding $25,000 or both; and for each subsequent violation, imprisonment not exceeding 20 years or a fine not exceeding $50,000 or both.
Distribution can come in a number of forms, including uploading files to a file sharing website, sending images on a forum, sending images over text messaging, or sending images within an encrypted messenger. This charge often arises incidentally to the actual possession of child pornography, and this is something you would need to discuss with an experienced Maryland child pornography lawyer.
Distribution of Child pornography is a tier 2 offense, and requires twenty five years of registration as a sex offender on the Maryland Sex Offender registry.
Producing child pornography
The production of Child Pornography is codified in Maryland MD Code, Criminal Law, 11-207, and carries the same maximum penalties as Distribution of Child Pornography.
This charge requires that the State prove a person did cause, induce, solicit, or knowingly allow a minor to engage as a subject in the production of obscene matter or a visual representation or performance that depicts a minor engaged as a subject in sadomasochistic abuse or sexual conduct. This charge can arise if a person is involved in the actual production of child pornography, or if a person convinced a minor to create the obscene material themselves.
Computer Generated Images of Children
Child pornography charges can arise from computer generated images of sexually explicit conduct involving a purported minor person. This becomes especially confusing in the world of computer generated images. Child porn images are commonly spread across the internet, and a person may come into contact with these images without intending to.
This is a new technology generated in the last decade, and can be the subject of a child pornography offense in Maryland. Unlike in cases where actual images are prosecuted as child pornography, the State of Maryland can seek to "prove" the age of a child in a photographic image by:
observation of the matter depicting the individual;
oral testimony by a witness to the production of the matter, representation, or performance;
expert medical testimony; or
any other method authorized by an applicable provision of law or rule of evidence.
Maryland Sex Offender Registry
The Maryland sex offender registry is a tier based system for registration of convicted sex offenders. If you are required to register, you will need to do so periodically with a local Police Officer in the county or area in which you live. Failure to register as a sex offender is a criminal act, punishable by three years in jail and a five thousand dollar fine.
For tier one offenders, sex offenders must register in person every six month with local law enforcement agencies, including a digital image update.
For tier two offenders, sex offenders must register in person every six month with local law enforcement agencies, including a digital image update.
For tier three offenders, sex offenders must register in person every three month with local law enforcement agencies, including a digital image update.
If the Court grants a [probation before judgement] and does not include the registry as a condition of probation, you may not be required to register.
Most child pornography cases involve the seizure of electronic devices, which could be subject to suppression under the fourth amendment. Many times electronics are seized during the execution of a search warrant, which is also subject to attack by an experienced child pornography lawyer.
Additionally, Police officers often question Defendants regarding the possession of illicit child pornography. In cases like these, statements can be subject to suppression for a wide array of issues including failure to advise of Miranda rights, or undue coercion by Police.
Child pornography lawyer
If you have child pornography charges in Maryland, you're going to need an experienced child pornography lawyer on your side. Child pornography convictions can have serious consequences, as many jurisdictions in Maryland punish child pornography crimes with prison sentences. If you believe that you may be under investigation for violating child pornography laws like producing child pornography, or distributing child pornography in Maryland, we can help. Child pornography charges can be fought, which we would discuss during a free consultation.