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By Benson Varghese

Last Updated: October 20th, 2020 at 1:52 AM
Published on: July 9th, 2015 at 7:15 PM

Varghese Summersett offers aggressive child pornography defense in North Texas at the state and federal level. In fact, our firm was one of the first in the country to go to a federal jury trial over the now infamous Operation Pacifier, a child pornography investigation that involved the FBI hacking into the dark web. Possession of child pornography is a violation of both Texas law and federal law and is taken extremely seriously by law enforcement.

What Federal Laws Make Possession of Child Pornography a Crime?

In the federal system, 18 USC 2252 makes the receipt, distribution, and possession of child pornography a federal offense. Producing child pornography is a federal offense under 18 USC 2251. Enticing a child to engage in prostitution or engage in sexual activity is an offense under 18 U.S.C. 2422. For purposes of most federal offenses, a child or “minor” is a person under the age of 18.

What are the Federal Child Pornography Sentencing Ranges?

The federal sentencing guidelines, although they are only advisory and not mandatory, set out heavy sentences for individuals who are found guilty of a child pornography related offense. There are a number of ways to prosecute child pornography charges at the federal level:

Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to 10 years for a first-time offender.

Receipt or distribution of child pornography carries with it a punishment range of 5 to 20 years for first-time offenders.

Production of child pornography carries a basic punishment range of 15 to 30 years in prison for a first-time offender. A person who has been previously convicted of production of child pornography may face a mandatory life sentence.

Enticing a child to engage in prostitution or engage in sexual activity carries a punishment range of 10 years to life.

Federal Child Pornography Sentencing Ranges

OffenseMandatory MinimumStatutory MaximumStatutes
Possession of Child PornographyNone10 years18 USC 2252, 2252A
Possession of Child Pornography (with prior sex conviction)10 years20 years18 USC 2252, 2252A
Transportation, receipt, distribution, possession with the intent to distribute or sell child pornography5 years20 years18 USC 2252, 2252A
Transportation, receipt, distribution, possession with the intent to distribute or sell child pornography (with prior sex offense)15 years40 years18 USC 2252, 2252A
Possession of obscene visual of sexual abuse of a childNone10 years18 USC 1466A
Possession of obscene visual of sexual abuse of a child (with prior sex offense)10 years20 years18 USC 1466A
Receipt distribution or production of obscene visual of seuxal abuse of children5 years20 years18 USC 1466A
Receipt distribution or production of obscene visual of seuxal abuse of children (with prior)15 years40 years18 USC 1466A

Federal Child Pornography Sentencing Considerations

As a result of the high guideline sentencing ranges for these offenses, defense attorneys often ask the sentencing court to consider 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors in hopes of obtaining a non-guideline sentence. Specifically, skilled federal defense attorneys will ask that the court’s sentence reflect the seriousness of the offense and protect the public but also provide the defendant rehabilitation, training and treatment in the most effective manner.

Supervised Release after a Federal Child Pornography Sentence

A person convicted in a federal child pornography case may have to report to a federal probation officer for the rest of his or her life. 18 USC 3583(k) authorizes the court to impose a lifetime of supervised release after getting out of federal prison.

Don’t Miss: The Application of Federal Sentencing Guidelines in Child Porn Cases

What Constitutes Possession of Child Pornography Charges in Texas?

In Texas, pursuant to Penal Code Section 43.26, it is illegal to intentionally possess or access with intent to view material depicting a child younger than 18 years old engaging in sexual conduct. Possession of Child Pornography is a third-degree felony, carrying a punishment range of 2 to 10 years in prison. Possession with the Intent to Promote Child Pornography (by selling, exhibiting, or sharing) is a second-degree felony, which carries a punishment range of 2 to 20 years in prison.

There are affirmative defenses under Penal Code Section 43.25(f) that apply to Possession of Child Pornography charges in Texas.

It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that:

(1) the defendant was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense;

(2) the conduct was for a bona fide educational, medical, psychological, psychiatric, judicial, law enforcement, or legislative purpose; or

(3) the defendant is not more than two years older than the child.

If there is a question before the jury as to whether or not the person depicted in the recording is age 18, Section 43.25(g) provides that the determination can be made by:

  • Personal inspection of the child
  • Inspection of the photograph or motion picture that shows the child engaging in the sexual performance
  • Oral testimony by a witness to the sexual performance as to the age of the child based on the child’s appearance at the time
  • Expert medical testimony based on the appearance of the child engaging in the sexual performance
  • Any other method authorized by law or by the rules of evidence at common law.

Contact Us

If you are being charged with possession of child pornography at the state or federal level, it is important to have a child pornography defense attorney in Tarrant County who understands the law, the available defenses, how out-of-state subpoenas work, and how electronic evidence can be tracked or challenged in court. Call us today for a free consultation at (817) 203-2220.

State and Federal Possession of Child Pornography Charges
Varghese Summersett offers aggressive child pornography defense in North Texas at the state and federal level. In fact, our firm was one of the first in the country to go to a federal jury trial over the now infamous Operation Pacifier, a child pornography investigation that involved the FBI hacking into the dark web. Possession of child pornography is a violation of both Texas law and federal law and is taken extremely seriously by law enforcement.

What Federal Laws Make Possession of Child Pornography a Crime?

In the federal system, 18 USC 2252 makes the receipt, distribution, and possession of child pornography a federal offense. Producing child pornography is a federal offense under 18 USC 2251. Enticing a child to engage in prostitution or engage in sexual activity is an offense under 18 U.S.C. 2422. For purposes of most federal offenses, a child or “minor” is a person under the age of 18.

What are the Federal Child Pornography Sentencing Ranges?

The federal sentencing guidelines, although they are only advisory and not mandatory, set out heavy sentences for individuals who are found guilty of a child pornography related offense. There are a number of ways to prosecute child pornography charges at the federal level:

Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to 10 years for a first-time offender.

Receipt or distribution of child pornography carries with it a punishment range of 5 to 20 years for first-time offenders.

Production of child pornography carries a basic punishment range of 15 to 30 years in prison for a first-time offender. A person who has been previously convicted of production of child pornography may face a mandatory life sentence.

Enticing a child to engage in prostitution or engage in sexual activity carries a punishment range of 10 years to life.

Federal Child Pornography Sentencing Ranges

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Federal Child Pornography Sentencing Considerations

As a result of the high guideline sentencing ranges for these offenses, defense attorneys often ask the sentencing court to consider 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors in hopes of obtaining a non-guideline sentence. Specifically, skilled federal defense attorneys will ask that the court's sentence reflect the seriousness of the offense and protect the public but also provide the defendant rehabilitation, training and treatment in the most effective manner.

Supervised Release after a Federal Child Pornography Sentence

A person convicted in a federal child pornography case may have to report to a federal probation officer for the rest of his or her life. 18 USC 3583(k) authorizes the court to impose a lifetime of supervised release after getting out of federal prison.

Don't Miss: The Application of Federal Sentencing Guidelines in Child Porn Cases

What Constitutes Possession of Child Pornography Charges in Texas?

In Texas, pursuant to Penal Code Section 43.26, it is illegal to intentionally possess or access with intent to view material depicting a child younger than 18 years old engaging in sexual conduct. Possession of Child Pornography is a third-degree felony, carrying a punishment range of 2 to 10 years in prison. Possession with the Intent to Promote Child Pornography (by selling, exhibiting, or sharing) is a second-degree felony, which carries a punishment range of 2 to 20 years in prison.

There are affirmative defenses under Penal Code Section 43.25(f) that apply to Possession of Child Pornography charges in Texas.

It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that:

(1) the defendant was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense;

(2) the conduct was for a bona fide educational, medical, psychological, psychiatric, judicial, law enforcement, or legislative purpose; or

(3) the defendant is not more than two years older than the child.

If there is a question before the jury as to whether or not the person depicted in the recording is age 18, Section 43.25(g) provides that the determination can be made by:

Contact Us

If you are being charged with possession of child pornography at the state or federal level, it is important to have a child pornography defense attorney in Tarrant County who understands the law, the available defenses, how out-of-state subpoenas work, and how electronic evidence can be tracked or challenged in court. Call us today for a free consultation at (817) 203-2220.
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2020-10-20T01:52:02-06:00
Varghese Summersett PLLC
Varghese Summersett PLLC