New Jersey Child Pornography Lawyer

Child pornography is illegal in New Jersey and a conviction can lead to some of the harshest penalties in the U.S. including fees, prison, a criminal record, and lifetime registration on a national sex offender’s list.

The law relating to child pornography covers not only possession and distribution, but also the viewing and sharing of such images, as well as allowing a child to engage in sexual activity, via a photograph, computer file, video game, or any other means of reproduction.

Anyone accused of or charged with any type of child pornography should contact a New Jersey child pornography lawyer right away. These types of charges are taken very seriously, which is why you should work with a determined criminal defense attorney that can attempt to ensure that your rights are protected.

What Must the Prosecution Prove?

To prove the crime of endangering the welfare of a child, the State of New Jersey must prove both of the following beyond a reasonable doubt.

First, the defendant must have knowingly caused a child or permitted another to engage with the child in a prohibited sexual activity. A child is defined as someone under age 16, and it is completely irrelevant whether the defendant knew the victim’s age.

Second, the defendant must have known or had reason to know, that the act was to be filmed, photographed or reproduced in any way, or might be part of a performance.

Penalties Associated with Child Pornography in New Jersey

Once the prosecution proves both elements, the defendant can be found guilty. Under Megan’s Law, anyone convicted of child pornography is subject to being recorded in a sex offender Internet registry.

This means people convicted of reproducing, possessing, or distributing any item depicting sexual abuse or exploitation must register with the police and notify their neighborhood. Any time they change their address, they are required to re-register. They are also on parole supervision for the rest of their life. A New Jersey child pornography lawyer can attempt to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.

How the Degree of the Crime Can Impact Penalties

Other aspects of a convicted person’s punishment depend on the degree of the crime. If the defendant is a parent or guardian, they are guilty in the first-degree and sentenced to between 10 and 20 years. If the defendant is not a parent or guardian, they are guilty in the second-degree and the sentence they face is five to ten years.

Someone who makes or distributes pornography will be charged in the second-degree. Someone who viewed or is in possession of child pornography will be charged with fourth-degree. This charge does not presume jail time, although it may include one to one and a half years of jail time. The judge may also suspend jail time in favor of probation.

Child Endangerment

If someone is engaged in endangering the welfare of a child, they can be charged with two crimes, both of which can carry serious penalties if convicted. If a person is convicted of possession, they can be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison plus up to $10,000 in fines. If convicted of distribution, someone can be sentenced from five to ten years in prison plus up to $250,000 in fines.

New Jersey's stance against child pornography is strong. Strict liability regarding the victim's age, the relatively low mental state required to be found culpable, and the factors involved in the grading of the offense indicate the state seeks to stalwartly defend the rights of children. One facing charges of endangering the welfare of children resulting from pornography faces considerable exposure in the criminal justice system and should act accordingly. A skilled New Jersey Child pornography lawyer could work diligently to prepare a defense for the defendant.

Building a Defense

On the Internet, people can upload and download illegal images with ease. The case against these individuals can be difficult as it requires access to the defendant’s computer to see what was viewed and searched. An effective defense requires that the legal team have the necessary computer expertise to refute the evidence and review investigative methods to challenge those actions in court.

Consulting a New Jersey Child Pornography Attorney

Very complicated discovery rules are in place in New Jersey regarding child pornography cases. If you or a loved one is facing a sex crime charge, including charges of possession or distribution of child pornography, you should contact a New Jersey child pornography lawyer with many years of experience defending these kinds of cases as soon as possible.

Although under the law, each person is innocent unless proven guilty, these charges alone can devastate a reputation, and a conviction can lead to serious consequences. It is best to speak with a lawyer before speaking to police or anyone else about the case. A qualified attorney may know what a prosecutor needs to make a conviction, the steps to take to fight in your defense.