Washington Possession of Child Pornography Law
In recent years, there has been an increasing crackdown on child pornography related offenses in the US and Washington. Due to the fact that children are weaker than adults and can be easy exploited, the state views it as an imperative to either stamp out child pornography or reduce it to the barest minimum.
Unfortunately, this can result in overzealous prosecution of alleged offenders. In many cases, law enforcement officers end up violating the rights of suspects in their bid to prevent youngster abuse. Sadly, this violation may often result in the arrest and possible conviction of innocent persons.
If you have been arrested or charged with the offense of child pornography, you may be in for some rough treatment. The state of Washington takes child sex abuse very seriously and prescribes extremely stiff punishment for these crimes. You will require the deep expertise of a Washington sex crimes lawyer for a positive outcome.
The Curtis Firm, LLC has diligently protected the rights of individuals arrested and charged in relation to child pornography. With more than 14 years' experience, Attorney James Curtis has created a reputation for fierce advocacy and staunch legal defense.
If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with possession of child pornography in Washington, call The Curtis Firm, LLC promptly.
Washington child pornography laws
Under the Revised Code of Washington, child pornography is defined as either viewing or possessing material depicting sexually explicit conduct by minors. A minor is defined as a person under 18 years of age.
The statute punishes knowing possession of such material, whether in digital, printed or video form. It also prohibits viewing such material without immediately reporting to law enforcement.
While it may seem the offense may be in breach of the First Amendment rights under the constitution, the opposite is the case. Child pornography is considered to be sexual exploitation, which is not covered under the First Amendment. Persons that illegally view or possess this material are deemed to encourage child sexual exploitation.
The laws relating to child pornography are further divided into two sub-categories, first degree and second degree possession or viewing.
The offense of possession of child pornography is committed when a person knowingly possesses visual or printed matter depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
The offense is committed in the first degree when it depicts a minor involved in sexually explicit conduct including:
- Sexual intercourse, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, or with animals. It includes genital-genital, oral-genital, genital-anal, oral-anal sex.
- Penetration of the vagina or rectum by any object or body part
- Sadomasochistic abuse
- Defecation or urination for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer
In the second degree, the offense is committed under RCW 0.68A.011(4) (f) or (g) when it involves:
- Depiction of the genitals or naked pubic or rectal areas or naked breasts of any minor, for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer. It is not necessary that the minor know that he or she is participating in this conduct or any aspect.
- Touching of a person's clothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks or breasts for sexual stimulation of the viewer.
Viewing consists of intentionally watching (on the internet) or viewing visual or printed matter showing a minor performing sexually explicit acts. The offense is committed in the first degree if the sexually explicit conduct is the same as possession in the first degree.
The second degree offense is committed if the sexually explicit conduct is the same as possession in the second degree.
Federal charges for Child Pornography
Since most child pornography offenses include using an electronic connection or mail, the offense may likely include federal charges. Apart from this, child pornography is also prohibited under federal law, which can be even harsher than state law.
The law prohibits “possession, receipt, distribution, copying or advertising of images containing sexual portrayals of minors. Conviction usually carries mandatory sentences and may also include enhancements involving other federal offenses.
As these charges may be filed alongside state and local charges, it can seem like you are fighting on two fronts. Persons charged with child pornography will need a lawyer with the understanding of both laws and the resources to help you fight on both fronts.
Prosecutions in the Internet Age
Much of today's child pornography prosecutions are based off digital evidence, including images and videos obtained over the internet.
A large number of law enforcement investigations rely on sting operations. In many of these operations, officers try to get unwary individuals to accept offending material over the internet.
Many investigations will result in the confiscation and thorough search of computers, phones and other digital devices in order to find offending material. But there are many ways in which this material could get on a device.
Some of these may be due to interaction with a suspicious link that then dumps offending material on your device without your knowledge. Images in pop-up ads may remain in the temporary files of your web browser unknown to you.
Malware, or even hackers, could take control of your computer and leave offending material behind. There are instances where some people had their device hijacked by hackers and used to transmit child pornography, without their knowledge.
In all these cases, establishing your innocence will require the services of a committed child pornography lawyer. Prosecutions such as these will turn on the technical evidence related to the source of the material. You need a lawyer that can focus on examining your devices to determine the true source of the material or whether it was ever present at all.
Consequences of a Washington Child Pornography Charge
Possession of child pornography in the first degree is treated as a Class B felony in Washington. It carries a penalty of 12-14 months in prison. Multiple counts may be sentenced up to 10 years in prison. The jail time will be followed by 3 years of mandatory Community Custody.
Second degree possession is a Class C felony and attracts 3-9 months in county jail. Multiple counts may result in a sentence up to 5 years in prison. Conviction and jail time will also be followed by 1 year of Community Custody.
Viewing in the first degree attracts the same punishment as first degree possession. 12-14 months in jail followed by 3 years of Community Custody.
Second degree viewing is a Class C felony and attracts 0-12 months in jail plus 1 year of Community Custody. Multiple counts may attract a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.
These penalties will also include mandatory registration as a sex offender, which can have devastating, life-long consequences.
Reach out to us for first rate defense
If you have been arrested or charged with child pornography, it is important that you reach out to the child pornography lawyers at The Curtis Firm, LLC immediately. We can provide the fierce advocacy and aggressive defense you need to successfully defeat the charges.
We can focus on examining your digital devices to determine if it was hacked, if the offending material was placed there by malware or if it existed at all. We are aware of the technical evidence that cases of this nature will involve, can retain the services of experts who will leave no stone unturned in examining the evidence.
Call us on 253-327-1063 today for a free and confidential case evaluation.
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