In California, child pornography laws make it a crime to possess or engage in any activities related to child pornography.
In California there are five statutes that outline the crimes.
- Penal Code 311.1 and 311.2 make it illegal to knowingly produce, possess, duplicate, send, or
transport, with the intent to distribute child pornography.
- Penal Code 311.3 makes it illegal to knowingly print, duplicate, develop, or exchange any form
of child pornography.
- Penal Code 311.4 makes it a crime to knowingly employ, hire, use, persuade, or coerce a minor
to participate in the production of child pornography.
- Penal Code 311.10 makes it illegal to advertise child pornography for sale or distribution.
- Penal Code 311.11 makes it illegal to knowingly possess or control any child pornography,
that being where the images depict a minor under the age of 18.
Under California law, the penalties for a crime related to child pornography depend on the circumstance
and the statute that the alleged offender has violated.
Child pornography crimes can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.
When someone is convicted of misdemeanor child pornography, the maximum penalties are either one year in county jail or a fine up to $2,000. On the other hand, felony charges generally carry a potential prison sentence of anywhere between 16 months to 8 years in
state prison. The fines for a felony charge can be as much as $100,000.
The most severe consequence of any child pornography conviction in California is that one is subject to
register as a sex offender for life under Penal Code section 290.
There are many potential defenses for charges related to child pornography including that the prosecution can’t prove that the defendant actually possessed the child pornography, that a defense forensic analysis of the computer refutes the allegations by the prosecution, that it was another person (not the accused) who either possessed or produced the material in question, and many others. Child pornography cases are very technical in nature and thus require a high level of
experience and expertise on the part of the defense attorney handling the case.