Pennsylvania Child Pornography Defense Lawyer | Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys

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Accused of Child Pornography in PA? Call Today

One of the most heinous accusations you can face in Pennsylvania is that you created, possessed, or promoted child pornography. When allegations of child pornography in Pittsburgh arise, your first response should be to call a veteran child pornography defense attorney from Worgul, Sarna & Ness.

You are going to need a knowledgeable, experienced, and aggressive defense lawyer to protect your rights and act as a voice on your behalf during the investigation and legal process. Our sex crime lawyers in Pittsburgh will work towards limiting the evidence against you and pursue the best possible outcome, which may be a dismissal, plea agreement, or acquittal.

To discuss your rights and options when you’ve been confronted with child porn charges, contact us online or call (412) 281-2146. We offer free and always discreet initial consultations.

Statewide Representation for Sex Offenses

Based in Pittsburgh, Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys offer comprehensive and aggressive legal representation for those accused of sex offenses throughout the Commonwealth.

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Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2437

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Child Pornography Laws in Pennsylvania

Child pornography offenses are covered under 18 Pa. Code §6312, Sexual Abuse of Children:

  • 18 Pa. Code §6312(b): Knowingly photographing, videotaping, depicting on computer, or filming sexual acts involving a child under 18 years old;
  • 18 Pa. Code §6312(c): The knowing dissemination of photographs, videotapes, computer depictions, and films that depict children under the age of 18 years old engaged in sexual acts; and
  • 18 Pa. Code §6312(d): Viewing or possessing child pornography.

What Constitutes Child Pornography?

You may wonder what constitutes child pornography. For instance, how does child pornography differ from an innocent photo of a naked baby?

Under Pennsylvania law, child pornography may be any book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photo, film, videotape, computer, depiction, or other material that depicts a child under the age of 18, engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act.

A prohibited sexual act includes another adult performing traditional sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, penetration with a foreign object, indecent contact, masturbation, sadism, masochism on a minor, or a minor performing one of these acts on another person or bestiality, masturbation, lewd exhibition of the genitals, or nudity for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification. Child pornography also encompasses depictions of minors engaged in prohibited sex acts without another person present in the depiction.

If you have been arrested in Pittsburgh and charged with child pornography based on any of these circumstances, call our child pornography lawyers immediately.

Online Sex Crime Sting Operations

In Pittsburgh and across the country, child pornography users and distributors are increasingly the subjects of online police sting operations. Authorities often use the Internet to launch undercover operations, including fake websites selling illegal child pornography images.

However, people who are arrested for having child pornography on their computers in Pennsylvania aren’t necessarily entrapped by sophisticated sting operations. They are often caught by their own employers who can legally view the content of their work computers, or by family members who accidentally stumbled upon the explicit material.

If you are arrested on child pornography charges, you will not only face a possible prison sentence. You will also be confronted by your family’s fury and humiliation, as well as bitter community condemnation. Contact our child porn lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA, to schedule a free initial consultation by calling today.

Attorney Matthew Ness Will Listen & Fight for You

As a defense attorney, Matthew Ness believes that the rights of people accused of crimes are worth upholding and fighting for. He does that every day as a trial defense lawyer. Matthew upholds his clients’ rights to fair and speedy trials, just punishment, and not having rights violated. He’s ready to help you in your sex crimes case. He understands what’s at stake.

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Child Pornography Charges & Penalties

The charges against you will depend on the facts of your case.

An offense under 18 Pa. Code §6312(b), the creation of child pornography, is a second-degree felony.

An offense under 18 Pa. Code §6312(c) & (d), the dissemination or possession of child pornography, is a third-degree felony.

In either case, if indecent contact with the minor is depicted, then you will be charged with one grade higher, which means facing a first-degree felony offense.

Here are the statutory punishments for child pornography based on the level of the felony:

  • First-degree felonies: Up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Second-degree felonies: A maximum of 10 years of incarceration and $25,000 in fines.
  • Third-degree felonies: Up to seven years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine.

Sex Offender Registration

A child porn conviction in Pennsylvania also requires mandatory registration as a sex offender.

Under 18 Pa. Code §6312(d), possession of child pornography is a Tier I sexual offense with a requirement to register for 15 years. If you are convicted of any Tier II offenses, according to 18 Pa. Code §6312(b) & (c) you must register for 25 years. However, if the offense occurred before December 20, 2012, then a child pornography conviction mandates registration for 10 years.

Federal Child Porn Charges

Child pornography charges are often brought under federal law. In the U.S., it is illegal to view, buy, sell, or distribute child pornography on the Internet. This includes sending links to child pornography in email, emailing images across state lines or international borders, and downloading images. It is also against federal law for an individual to employ, use, persuade, entice, or coerce any minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct to create pornography that will be transmitted across state or international lines.

U.S. law does not require that the image depict a child engaged in any sexual activity. A photo of a naked child can be considered child pornography if it is sexually suggestive.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could be charged under the following federal laws:

  • 18 U.S.C. § 2251: Sexual Exploitation of Children
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2251A: Selling and Buying of Children
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252: Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252A: Certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2260: Production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the U.S.

Federal Child Pornography Penalties

If you are charged under one of these federal laws, you face harsh penalties. Producing child pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2251 can be penalized with between 15 and 30 years in prison. Transporting child pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2252 can lead to between five and 20 years in prison. If you have previous convictions or certain other circumstances apply, you could face life in prison.

Additionally, if you have been one prior conviction under U.S. law or under any state’s laws for aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact with a minor, sex trafficking of children, or the possession, production, receipt, mailing, sale, distribution, transportation, or shipment of child pornography, you face at least 25 years in federal prison and up to 50 years. Two or more prior convictions mean that you face penalties of at least 35 years and up to life in federal prison.

If you have been charged with child pornography at the federal level or you know someone who has, do not delay in hiring an experienced Pittsburgh sex crimes lawyer today.

What to Do If You Are Facing Child Porn Charges in Pennsylvania

If you have been charged with a child pornography offense in Pennsylvania, you should hire an experienced Pittsburgh child pornography attorney as soon as possible. It’s important that you also do not let the police search your home or computer without a search warrant, and ideally, your child porn lawyer will be with you when they do.

Don’t talk to the police or prosecutors unless your defense attorney is with you.

If you have been picked up in an undercover operation, be especially cautious about anything you say because it is likely you are being recorded by the arresting officer.

When you meet with your Pittsburgh sex crime attorney, give them as much information as you can about what happened. If the pornography was discovered on your computer, make sure your child porn attorney has a list of everyone else who had access to it so they can determine if anyone else might have added the images.

How a Pittsburgh Child Pornography Attorney Can Help

It’s possible that you were mistaken about the age. However, you do not have a defense if you did not know the age of the child. Neither misrepresentation of age nor a bona fide belief that the person depicted was over the age of 18 will stand up as a defense against child porn charges.

What does that mean for you? Hiring an experienced child pornography lawyer near you will be essential to getting your child porn charges reduced or getting the charges dismissed altogether. There are other circumstances around the child pornography charges that can usually be evaluated in order to see what evidence is admissible or not.

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Acquittal for Client Charged With Multiple Sex Crimes

When an Allegheny County man was falsely accused of raping his minor daughter, he trusted the accomplished sex crimes defense attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, LLC to protect his reputation.

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Call Our Pittsburgh Child Porn Defense Attorneys Today

When facing child pornography charges in Pennsylvania, your rights are at stake and you need the best defense to keep them. Our child porn lawyers will fight using the strongest defense available to get your Child Pornography charge reduced or dismissed so you can move on with your life.

Don’t wait to protect yourself. Call (412) 281-2146 or submit a request 24/7 for a free consultation. An experienced sex crime lawyer in Pennsylvania will explain your options and what comes next.