One of the most serious crimes that someone can be charged with in Columbia, MO are those involving child pornography. In order to protect children from exploitation, criminal penalties for those found guilty of child pornography charges can be severe. The state of Missouri takes this issue very seriously and has enacted strict laws to punish those who engage in such activities. If you have been charged with child pornography in Missouri, it is paramount that you seek the help of a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and develop an effective strategy for your case.
According to data from the United States Sentencing Commission, there were 1,215 convictions involving child pornography cases in the US in 2021. The report also indicates that the conviction rate of those who commit child pornography offenses is extraordinarily high, with nearly 99% ending up in prison. Moreover, these offenders are typically detained for an average of nine years.
According to the FBI, charges related to child pornography can include not only possession and distribution but also the promotion and production of child pornography materials.
In Columbia, MO, child pornography is defined as any visual or auditory representation that depicts sexually explicit conduct involving minors. This includes photographs and videos as well as stories and audio recordings that are intended to depict minors engaged in sexual conduct. It also includes messages sent electronically or through the mail if they contain such material.
In Missouri, it is illegal to produce, distribute, or possess child pornography. This means that if someone is found to have created, shared, or stored child pornography, they can be charged with a crime. The Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is a statewide organization that investigates and prosecutes cases of child exploitation, including child pornography.
Under Missouri criminal law, the penalties associated with child pornography convictions are among the most severe criminal penalties. If convicted of child pornography charges, a person can face up to life imprisonment depending on the severity of their case and criminal history.
Penalties vary depending on the circumstances of your case. For example, if you are charged with producing child pornography, you may face much more severe criminal penalties than if you were charged with possession or distribution. These range from a Class A felony, which carries imprisonment of 10-30 years or life imprisonment to a Class B felony, resulting in imprisonment of 5-15 years, to a Class C felony, which carries imprisonment for 7 years or less and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
In addition, those convicted of child pornography crimes are required to register as sex offenders.
If you have been charged with child pornography in Columbia, it is essential that you seek out the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. A skilled child pornography attorney will be able to review your case and develop a strategy for defending yourself against the charges. They will thoroughly review all the evidence, including any search warrants, statements by witnesses, and police reports.
They will also challenge all aspects of the case against you, including the legitimacy of the evidence collected and how it was gathered, arguing that the evidence was obtained illegally or that it does not accurately reflect their client’s activities. They can also challenge the credibility of witnesses, arguing that their testimony is unreliable or that they have a bias against their client.
A knowledgeable lawyer will also negotiate with prosecutors to reach a plea bargain that may result in reduced charges or a lesser sentence. By working with a criminal defense lawyer, you can better ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.
The Law Office of Chris Miller is a criminal defense law firm located in Columbia, Missouri that specializes in defending those charged with child pornography crimes. We are highly experienced and aggressive defenders who have successfully represented many clients facing a variety of criminal charges including child pornography charges. Contact us today for a free consultation and case review.