New Jersey takes the safety and well-being of children and minors very seriously. As such, it is a very serious crime to engage in any sort of act that endangers the health of a child, including any engagement with child pornography. This includes the possession of child pornography, its production, distribution, or making a child participate in a sexual act for the purposes of filming. As one can imagine, child pornography charges can have a lifelong adverse effect on a person’s life, as they may end up on the Megan’s Law sex offender registry, which, in addition to jail time and steep fines, can affect the person’s job prospects and reputation long into the future.
If you’ve been charged with a crime involving child pornography, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. Contact an experienced lawyer at 973-524-7238 to learn how we can assist you in protecting your rights and defending you to the utmost extent in this very serious case.
Who Conducts Investigations Into Child Pornography Cases in NJ?
Child pornography crimes are more and more often happening on the digital platforms available today. For that reason, New Jersey State Police set up the Digital Technology Investigations Unit, which investigates various digital crimes that “utilize computers and computer technology for the purpose of exploiting children” and includes the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Once a crime is investigated, the case is tried by the criminal court system of New Jersey, as child pornography crimes are considered felonies.
Child pornography law in New Jersey is covered under New Jersey Revised Statutes 2C:24-4, which makes it a crime to endanger the welfare of children. Subjecting a child to illicit sexual acts, either actively through their creation and production or passively through their possession.
Child Pornography Possession Under NJSA 2C:24-4
According to NJSA 2C:24-4, possession of child pornography is a third-degree felony. A person who is found in possession of child pornography may face three to five years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
Law on Child Pornography Distribution and Possible Penalties
NJSA 2C:24-4 states that if a person is found in possession of child pornography with the intent to distribute or having distributed the material, they will be charged with a second-degree crime. A second-degree child pornography distribution charge carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison and up to $150,000 in fines.
Severity of Filming Child Pornography and Associated Ramifications
Filming or producing child pornography is a very serious crime resulting in a second-degree charge. The penalty associated with a second-degree child pornography production charge is between five and ten years in prison and $150,000 in fines.
Charges and Penalties for Creating or Allowing the Creation of Child Pornography
The most serious child pornography charge for private offenders is the creation of child pornography, which means the direct exploitation of a minor under the age of 18 in sexual acts or appearances thereof for the purposes of producing child pornography. This is considered a second-degree crime, though it is elevated to a first-degree felony with a prison sentence of up to 20 years in prison and up to $200,000 in fines when a parent or legal guardian of the minor is responsible for the creation of child pornography.
Is Sex Offender Registration Compulsory in Cases Involving Child Pornography?
All people convicted of sexually-related crimes, including the possession, distribution, and production of child pornography, are subject to Megan’s Law, requiring that they register as a sex offender.
The Seriousness of the Charges Requires a Solid Defense
While the charges of child pornography appear so serious that it seems a person charged with such a crime could not escape the consequences, there are common defenses. Some common defenses include proof of illegal search and seizure, non-ownership of pornography found in possession or ignorance of possession, a defendant turning themselves in upon discovering possession of material involving minors or destroying it, or entrapment by officials.
Get Experienced Advice if You are Facing Child Pornography Charges in New Jersey
As is clear, any charge involving child pornography in New Jersey is a very serious issue because of the state’s commitment to protecting the welfare of children. An experienced criminal defense attorney will go to great lengths to thoroughly investigate your charge to ensure that all charges against you are just and that the investigation was conducted legally. A child pornography charge is not something to take lightly, and a qualified legal team can help you have your charge reduced or even dismissed.
Our attorneys have decades of combined experience successfully protecting the rights of clients in Parsippany, Rockaway, Mount Olive, Madison, Florham Park, Morristown, East Hanover, and other towns in Morris County and across New Jersey when it comes to child pornography charges. Contact us today at 973-524-7238 for a confidential and free consultation.