Child Pornography Laws in California

Examples of Illegal Pornography

Child pornography is unlawful in California in a wide range of circumstances, thanks to the state’s liberal legislation on the subject. Think about the following three instances:

Example 1: A man has a photo business with a “no questions asked” policy for returning unwanted items. He intentionally prints and mails out photographs of child pornography.

Even though he didn’t create the photographs, the business owner might be charged with knowingly generating and distributing child pornography.

Example 2: A high school student tapes an encounter with another underage student and saves it to his phone as an example of “hookup culture.”

This student may be breaching the law by possessing pornography depicting someone under the age of 18, which is unlawful.

Example 3: A adolescent recruits peers to appear in amateur pornographic videos to make money from a neighbor. The teenager isn’t involved in any of the video creation.

It is against the law to enlist the help of a juvenile in the creation of pornographic material. A teenager might still face criminal charges even if they weren’t involved in making the video.

In what ways does the state’s anti-child pornography legislation function?

Definition of Child Pornography in California

As defined by state law, “child pornography” is anything depicting sexual conduct between a person under the age of 18 in any form.

There are several types of sexual acts, including “display of the genital area for the goal of sexual enjoyment,” “oral copulation,” “masturbation,” and “intercourse.”

When determining if a person was under the age of 18 at the time of the production of the pornography, California looks at the actual age of the subject. Because the actors in these videos, who range in age from 18 to 21, were of legal drinking age at the time of production, they are not considered child pornography.

Exceptions to this rule can be found in two areas. Legally emancipated minors and consenting sex activities between married couples are not considered child pornography, respectively (e.g., a 19-year-old and his 17-year-old spouse film themselves having sex).

California Child Pornography Laws

In Penal Code 311 you will discover all of California’s child pornography statutes. Several statutes in this code outline the various ways in which child pornography is unlawful in the state of New York.

It’s against the law to

  • Doing so to distribute child pornography is a violation of federal law (311.1 PC and 311.2 PC).
  • Consciously make a kid pornographic work, then reproduce, print, or trade it. The crime of “Sexual exploitation of a kid” is the basis for the prosecution. (313.3)
  • Persuade or force a minor to participate in the production of pornography, knowing full well that it is illegal (311.4 PC).
  • knowingly promote the sale or distribution of explicit child pornography (311.10 PC).
  • Have any child pornographic material in your possession or under your control with the knowledge that it was created by someone under the age of 18 (311.11 PC).

A conviction for child pornography can lead to what kind of punishment in California?

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What are the Penalties for Child Pornography in California?

A child pornography case in California will always have different punishments depending on the facts of the situation. “Wobbler” offenses, which can be felonies or misdemeanors, are the most common.

California has a one-year county jail sentence and a $2,000 fine for misdemeanour child pornography convictions.

The state prison term for a child pornography conviction ranges from 16 months to 8 years if it is charged as a felony. The maximum penalty is $100,000.

For the remainder of your life, many convictions for child pornography include mandatory registration as a sex offender.

Child pornography charges can range from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies.

Child pornography: Felony vs. Misdemeanor

Prosecutors are more likely to pursue felony charges for a “wobbler” offense in a child pornography case if:

  • There is “obscene” material here. California law defines this as material that inappropriately depicts sexual conduct;
  • does not have any value in terms of literary or artistic content;
  • and that an average adult in California would agree that piques their interest.
  • Alternatively, the defendant tried to sell it commercially, and/or the defendant tried to show it to someone under the age of 18.
  • That is to say, a person who is apprehended and found to have child pornography on them could be prosecuted with felony possession and distribution of child pornography.

According to on the specifics of your case, you or someone you know may face charges relating to child pornography. For this reason, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible so that you can begin developing your defense.

Even a misdemeanor conviction for possession of child pornography results in a minimum of 10 years of forced registration as a “Tier one” sex offender.

A “Tier three” sex offender registration is required for the rest of your life for most other offences under 311 PC.

California Sex Offender Registry

Convicted sexual offenders in California can be found in a database kept by the state. It is feasible for friends, contacts, potential employers, and landlords to locate you on this list if the registry is publicly accessible.

Being on the sex offender registry in California is extremely damaging to your chances of finding a job or a place to live.

In addition, Jessica’s Law in California prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks, and locations where children congregate. The mandatory minimum distance is still enforced by parole officials notwithstanding recent changes in the legislation.

In California, does anime count as child pornography?

Suppose someone has a sexually-explicit anime video depicting a minor. In California, this is not child pornography.

Sexual content involving minors is prohibited by California’s 311.4 PC, however, this has been clarified over the years to highlight that this only applies if an actual person is shown in the media. Animation, cartoons and other forms of visual storytelling such as sketches are excluded.

Defenses Against Child Pornography Charges

The sooner you begin preparing your case, the better your chances of avoiding a conviction. So far, you’ve learned that child pornography laws in the state of California are quite wide-ranging and complex.

It’s critical to deal with a criminal defense attorney who has a proven track record of success to defend your rights and future.

Prosecutors must be able to show that you were aware that you were breaking the law to condemn you. You may be able to:

  • Typographical error.
  • You assumed you were viewing pornography featuring adults, but it turned out to be of people who were under the legal age of consent.
  • Your computer was infected with malware when you clicked on a file that contained child pornography.
  • I made the erroneous decision to click on the incorrect link.
  • Because you weren’t looking for it, your exposure to child pornography was probably legal in any of these scenarios.

In other circumstances, the search and seizure procedures employed by the government can be utilised to successfully defend or decrease child pornography accusations. Officials frequently seize computers, laptops, and cell phones when conducting a child pornography investigation.

However, they frequently call for:

  • The emergency basis for searching without a warrant or your permission.
  • In some cases, it is feasible to suppress evidence gathered by investigators who acted outside the scope of the law.

When Arrested, What Should I Do?

Throughout my more than three decades of legal experience in the state of California, I’ve successfully defended several clients accused of making or distributing explicit images of children.

Find out what your alternatives are by calling 310-455-8343 at any time of the day or night.

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