Criminal Defense Attorney Fighting for Clients Accused of Child Pornography
Few criminal charges elicit more scorn, derision, disgust, and even outright horror than child pornography offenses. If you are caught with pornographic depictions of minors, people will judge you. Friends will abandon you. In the court of public opinion, you will be guilty until proven innocent rather than innocent until proven guilty. This is something that is completely and utterly unfair, but it is still the truth.
When your world is crashing in around you, it becomes even more important that you work with a skilled Denver criminal defense attorney who has experience handling cases like these and who will treat you with compassion and understanding when it feels like no one else will. Attorney Jeff Weeden understands exactly how serious your situation is, and if you decide to work with him and his team at WeedenLaw, they will do everything in their power to make sure you are treated fairly and help you craft a strong defense designed to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
It starts with understanding what being charged with child pornography means in Colorado. Here’s what you should know about child pornography charges in Colorado.
What Constitutes Child Pornography in Colorado?
In the state of Colorado, child pornography charges essentially fall under the larger umbrella of “sexual exploitation of a child.” Depending on the nature of the child pornography crime, this can be further broken down into three charges:
- Sexual Exploitation of a Child (C.R.S. 18-6-403)
- Procurement of a Child for Sexual Exploitation (C.R.S. 18-6-404)
- Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child (C.R.S. 18-6-405.4)
Collectively, these crimes cover a wide variety of illegal acts, such as:
- Possessing child pornography
- Making child pornography
- Publishing child pornography
- Distributing child pornography
- Promoting child pornography
- Causing, inducing, enticing, or permitting children to participate in sexually exploitative material
In other words, under Colorado’s child pornography laws, it is illegal to make, possess, or allow kids to be involved in material that exploits them sexually.
Is Sexting Considered Child Pornography?
Did you know that teenagers can potentially be charged with child pornography for “sexting” with other teenagers?
In large part, this issue was resolved by a teen sexting law that was passed in 2017. Before then, any teens sexting with each other were technically guilty of the crime of possessing and distributing child pornography based on the way the statutes were written. Now, most instances of teen sexting only represent civil infractions, petty offenses, or fairly minor misdemeanors.
However, it is still possible for teens to face felony exploitation charges for sexting if certain aggravating factors are present.
Take a look at our blog Consequences of Sexting in Colorado to learn more.
What is Considered Possession of Child Pornography?
It is important to understand what “possessing” child pornography means in general. In an age where we use computers for pretty much everything – even carrying them around in our pockets – it is all too easy to download illicit pornographic material without ever even realizing it.
Does this count as possession? What if you open it, realize what it is, and try to delete it? What if you were not the one who downloaded the material? What if someone hacks into your computer and – unbeknownst to you – uses it to store and distribute child pornography?
These things may sound far-fetched, but they happen.
Another possible scenario is that you might meet someone online and develop a relationship with them, believing them to be of legal age. What level of responsibility should you have if they turn out to be a minor and you have been sending each other explicit images?
As you can see, there are a lot of legal gray areas when it comes to possessing child pornography, and it is entirely possible for someone to be charged with this computer crime when they did not have any idea that they had done anything wrong. When you hire Denver criminal defense attorney Jeff Weeden, these are the kinds of details he will look into in an effort to fight for you.
Penalties for Child Pornography Crimes in Colorado
Child pornography charges in Colorado may be handled in both state and federal courts depending on the unique circumstances surrounding the crime. In either case, however, prosecutors will do everything in their power to secure a conviction and put you away for as long as possible.
The criminal penalties a person can expect to face when convicted of child pornography vary depending on which statute the crime is charged under. As we mentioned before, this may be either Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Procurement of a Child for Sexual Exploitation, or Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child. Below, we’ll outline the prison sentences and other penalties associated with each crime.
Sexual Exploitation of a Child in Colorado
This is considered a Class 3 felony in Colorado and may include the following penalties:
- Between 4 to 12 years in prison, with mandatory parole of five years to life;
- Probation from a minimum of 20 years to as much as the offender’s natural life, with a potential jail sentence of up to 90 days or up to a two-year work release sentence;
- Mandatory sex offender registration.
Procurement of a Child for Sexual Exploitation in Colorado
Procurement of a child for sexual exploitation is also a Class 3 felony. As such, this charge may warrant the same penalties as mentioned above, including:
- Between 4-12 years imprisonment plus mandatory parole of five years to life;
- Probation from at least 20 years to up to the offender’s natural life, plus a potential jail sentence of up to 90 days or up to a two-year work release sentence;
- Mandatory sex offender registration.
Internet Exploitation of a Child in Colorado
This charge is considered a Class 4 felony. A conviction may bring about the following:
- Between 2 to 6 years in prison, with mandatory parole of five years to life;
- Probation between 10 years to as much as the offender’s natural life, with a potential sentence of up to 90 days in jail or up to a one-year work release sentence.
- Mandatory sex offender registration.
Other Consequences That Come With Facing Child Pornography Charges
Even the least serious child pornography offenses in our state come with the possibility of years in prison, but that is just the beginning of the consequences you will face. Because very few people are going to want to listen to what you have to say, and if you are unable to effectively fight back, you are likely to suffer life-destroying consequences far beyond probation and time spent in prison. Even without a conviction, a mere criminal accusation of such a sex crime can have significant social repercussions.
Regardless of whether your offense involves possession or trafficking, if convicted, you will be required to register as a sex offender. That means that this charge will be public record, and anyone from your employer to a potential dating prospect can access this information. As you can imagine, this creates serious limitations on what jobs you can do, where you can live, who you can date, and more. Not only that, but sex crimes are not eligible for expungement or record sealing in Colorado, so, if convicted, this charge WILL haunt you forever.
Defenses Against Child Pornography
There are a number of defenses a criminal defense attorney like Jeff Weeden may use to help get your case dismissed, dropped, acquitted, or at the very least have your charges reduced. Some of the more common defense strategies we use for our clients include:
- NO KNOWLEDGE. Quite simply, you did not know that you were in possession of child pornography. Perhaps someone else was viewing, downloading, or creating it using your computer, but they were good at hiding their tracks from you. Or maybe you downloaded it without realizing it because some cyber prankster changed out the link, but then you never actually opened the files and learned what they were.
- NO CONTROL. You got a virus. Your computer was hijacked. Another used your computer to access the materials in question. Whatever the situation, it was not you – someone else was in control. Often, lack of knowledge and lack of control go hand in hand.
- NO CONSTRUCTIVE POSSESSION. Perhaps the materials and evidence in question were accidentally downloaded, you realized it, and then immediately deleted them. Technically, they still exist on your computer, and someone could potentially find them later. However, you could argue that they were not really in anyone’s possession based on their location. This is an argument that could be used for physical pornographic material as well if you live with others and it is found in a common area where possession cannot be determined.
- MISTAKE OF FACT. In this context, a mistake of fact argument could be used to show that there was no intent to possess, make, or distribute child pornography. You shared a file without opening it and believing it to be harmless, you exchanged explicit pictures with someone you believed to be of age, etc.
Protect Your Future – Contact Jeff Weeden Now to Start Fighting Your Colorado Child Pornography Charges in Denver
You cannot stop others from judging you if you are charged with child pornography, but you can fight for your rights, your future, and your reputation. The best way to do that is to secure the professional skill, knowledge, and experience of a qualified child pornography attorney. If you’re seeking top-notch legal representation for your Denver child pornography case, contact Jeff Weeden of WeedenLaw as soon as possible.
As a renowned Colorado sex crimes attorney, Jeff Weeden knows how to help, but he will not be able to start until you reach out to him. Get in touch right now for a free consultation to learn what options are available to you and what your next steps should be.