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Two Key California Child Pornography Laws: Possession and Distribution

Posted on in Criminal Defense

child pornography, child pornography laws, California Penal Code, California child pornography law, criminal defenseIn California it is illegal to both possess and to distribute child pornography. This simplified restatement of the law may seem very straightforward at first glance. However, in reality, it is actually quite complicated. For instance, what exactly qualifies “child pornography”? Moreover, legally speaking, what does it mean to “possess” or to “distribute” something? In order to answer these questions let us start by taking a look at what constitutes child pornography in California.

What Constitutes Child Pornography?

Under California state law, child pornography is defined as any material depicting a minor engaging in or simulating sexual conduct. Again, this restatement seems simply enough, but only if we keep the following three definitions in mind:

  • Material: Any matter, data, representation of information, or image, including, but not limited to any film, photograph, filmstrip, negative, photocopy, slide, video laser disc, videotape, computer software, computer hardware, data storage media, computer floppy disc, computer-generated equipment, CD-ROM, or any other computer-generated image.
  • Minor: Any person (male or female) who is less than 18 years old.
  • Sexual Conduct: Sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, oral copulation, masturbation, anal oral copulation, sexual sadism, bestiality, penetration of the vagina or rectum in a lewd or lascivious manner with any object, exhibition of the genitals, pubic, or rectal area in order to sexually stimulate the viewer, sexual masochism, any lewd or lascivious sexual act, or excretory functions conducted in a lewd or lascivious manner.

Possession 

California Penal Code section 311.11 states that it is a crime to knowingly possess or control child pornography in California. Possessing child pornography is a felony offense that is punishable by imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine of up to $2,500. However, increased penalties can be handed down if the offender:

  • Was previously convicted of possessing child pornography, or a crime for which he or she was required to register as a sex offender;
  • Was previously convicted of attempting to possess child pornography, or a crime for which violators are required to register as a sex offender;
  • The offender possessed more than 600 images depicting child pornography with at least 10 of these images featuring a minor who is less than 12 years old; or
  • The possessed images depict a minor engaging in sexual sadism or sexual masochism.

Distribution 

Furthermore, section 311.1 and section 311.2 of the California Penal Code criminalize the distribution of child pornography. Under these code sections it is illegal to knowingly possess, transport, duplicate, send, or produce child pornography with the intent to distribute it. The penalties for violating these code sections can be severe and vary significantly depending on a variety of different factors, including whether or not the offender intended to distribute the pornography for commercial benefit and whether the material at issue was obscene.

Reach Out to Us for Help Today

If you have been charged—or suspect that you may soon be charged—with violating a California child pornography law, then the time to act is now. Consult with a dedicated San Jose child pornography defense lawyer without delay. Contact Jachimowicz Law Group today.

Source:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=311.11

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