Child Pornography

A conviction for child pornography (also known as child porn) can ruin your life. Florida law prescribes harsh penalties for those convicted of child pornography. These charges may include transmitting, possessing, promoting, or producing the material. In many cases, these charges stem from an accident or misunderstanding. 

If you fail to defend against the charges, it is likely you’ll be ordered to pay a substantial fine and complete a long prison term. Even if you accessed child porn by accident, you could be stuck with a felony charge and penalties you don’t deserve. The best way to secure a favorable outcome is to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Defense Attorney for Child Pornography in West Palm Beach, Florida

The legal team at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. is composed of experienced attorneys who have worked cases as both prosecution and defense. This combination of experience allows our lawyers to better anticipate what the prosecution may use against you. Our firm is committed to delivering the best possible outcome for each of our clients.

We offer a free initial consultation. Call (561) 557-8686 to speak with a knowledgeable sex crimes attorney about your case. You may also complete our online form. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents Palm Beach County clients just like you in West Palm Beach, Belle Glade, Jupiter, and other South Florida communities.


Overview of Child Pornography in West Palm Beach


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How is Child Pornography Defined in Florida?

Child pornography in Florida is referred to as the sexual performance by a child. According to Florida Statutes 827.071(5)(a), a child is any person under the age of 18. Sexual performance is defined to include photos, video, shows, exhibitions, and any other form depicting sexual conduct by a child. 

Sexual performance of a child does not only describe the act of a child engaging in sexual conduct, but also the media depicting the act. The Florida Statutes specifically outlaw possessing, promoting, creating, and transmitting child pornography. If you are found guilty of any of these charges, your freedom is in grave danger.


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Is Sexting Considered Child Pornography in Palm Beach County?

Sexting, or electronically sending a sexually explicit photograph of oneself to another person, is an increasingly popular activity often taking place between two people in an intimate relationship. As long as this exchange occurs between two consenting adults, no laws are violated. Sexting is a criminal violation when one party is a minor and the other is an adult.

If a teenager takes a nude photo of themselves and sends it to anyone 18 years or older, they have committed transmission of child pornography. If an adult knowingly possesses a sext from a 16-year-old, they can be charged with possessing a sexual performance by a minor. Even if the adult and the minor are acting consensually, they are still committing serious crimes.

According to Florida Statutes 847.0141, a first sexting offense by a minor is classified as a noncriminal violation. However, subsequent violations are deemed criminal acts. The following punishments are provided by the sexting statute:

  • First-time offense: noncriminal violation; eight hours of community service or $60 fine.
  • Second-time offense: first-degree misdemeanor; up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
  • Subsequent offenses: third-degree felony; up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.

The law is designed to lightly punish minors who sext each other, not to stick them with a criminal record. Adults, on the other hand, are rarely afforded the same leniency.


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What Are the Penalties for Child Pornography in South Florida?

All child pornography charges are felonies. Whether you were charged with possession, transmission, promotion, or creation of child pornography, there’s a good chance you could be sentenced to a lengthy prison term without proper representation. Crimes involving child pornography are charged and sentenced as follows: 

  • Possession of child porn: third-degree felony; maximum five-year prison sentence and $5,000 fine.
  • Transmission of child porn: third-degree felony; maximum five-year prison sentence and $5,000 fine.
  • Production/promotion of child porn: second-degree felony; maximum 15-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine. 

If convicted for a child pornography charge, you will also be required to register as a sex offender. Sex offender registration is burdensome, and you’ll likely be required to register for the rest of your life. As a registered sex offender with a felony record, you’ll struggle to find work, housing, and live a normal life. 


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Aggravating Factors That Increase Penalties for Child Porn in West Palm Beach

Certain circumstances increase the penalties for child pornography in Florida. Florida Statute 775.0847 allows for child porn offenses to be reclassified or bumped up to the next felony class. For example, a second-degree felony would become a first-degree felony. Reclassification can occur if the following criteria are met:

  • The charges involve more than 10 instances of child pornography and at least one instance of child pornography includes:
    • A child younger than 5 years old; or
    • Sadomasochism (S&M) with a child; or
    • Sexual battery of a child; or
    • Bestiality featuring a child; or
    • Any movie featuring a child

The maximum penalty for possession of child porn, a third-degree felony, is up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If this crime meets the above criteria for reclassification, you could instead be facing up to 15 years in prison. It’s in your best interest to contact a sex crimes attorney to help you secure the best possible defense. 


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Additional Resources

Child Sexual Abuse Material | NCMEC – The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a private non-profit that focuses on, among other missions, reducing the sexual exploitation of children. Visit this website to view information about how NCMEC helps combat child pornography (referred to by NCMEC as “child sexual abuse material”). 

Frequently Asked Questions | FDLE – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement oversees the state’s sex offender registry. Here you can find a list of the most common questions people have about the registry. Visit this website to learn about Florida’s “Romeo & Juliet” law and how a predator is defined by Florida law.


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Defense Lawyer for Child Pornography in West Palm Beach

If you are facing child pornography charges, you are in a dire situation. The resolution of your case will determine the rest of your future. Don’t give up hope, and don’t fight the charges by yourself. You need the help of a dedicated criminal defense attorney.

Meltzer & Bell, P.A. offers a free initial consultation. Our attorneys will closely review your case to identify any opportunities to reduce or dismiss the charges against you. Call (561) 557-8686 or complete our form online to schedule your consultation. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We represent South Florida clients in Boca Raton, Belle Glade, Riviera Beach, and other communities in Palm Beach County.


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