Defense of Child Pornography or Sexual Exploitation of a Minor Charges

Child pornography is illegal under both North Carolina and Federal law.  The NC statutes that address images of underage children are grouped under the heading of sexual exploitation of a minor and they prohibit viewing, creating and disseminating visual representations of minors engaged in sexual activity.  A minor is defined as a person under 18 years of age.  Since the explosion of the internet, the number of charges and prosecutions related to creating, recording, possessing, sharing, distributing or selling child pornography have skyrocketed. The legal defense of child pornography accusations has evolved into a highly specialized type of criminal defense that requires both the legal acumen needed to defend against allegations of a sex offense combined with the technological expertise required to defend against allegations of having committed a computer crime.

Sexual Exploiation of a Minor ChargesOf course, the manufacture or creation of child pornography (CP) is considered much worse than simply sharing existing CP which is itself more serious than simply viewing CP.  All are serious felonies, however.  The difference between manufacture, sharing and possessing child pornography is that manufacture gives rise to first degree exploitation of a minor charges, a class C felony; sharing child pornography is charged as second degree exploitation of a minor, a class E felony; and simple viewing child porn is a class H felony.  All require sex offender registration as a sexually violent offender.

Like laws against sexual acts with minors such as statutory rape, sex offenses and taking indecent liberties with children, mistake of age is not a defense.  Similarly, specific intent is not required.  Thus, when there are leaks online of celebrity sex photos or tapes, if one of the celebrities is underage and that image is downloaded to your computer as part of a larger download, it would still be sufficient for a charge of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor in NC. 

The stigma associated with being charged with sexual exploitation of a minor is tremendous.  There are few charges that evoke such a negative emotional response.  The stigma combined with the extremely complex nature of the case law surrounding sexual exploitation charges combine to make defending such charges exceptionally challenging.  Moreover, as most exploitation charges now involve digital evidence from computers, smart phones and tablets, the technical skill-set required to handle exploitation charges now means that only the most tech savvy lawyers are truly prepared to handle such cases.  Federal child pornography defense lawyers must be both versed in Federal criminal defense as well as technologically savvy.

At Kurtz & Blum, our experienced criminal defense attorneys have both the legal and technical expertise required to ensure you are armed with the best defense.  If you have been charged with sexual exploitation of a minor or child pornography, or you believe that you may be the target of an investigation into sexual exploitation of a minor or CP, call us immediately.  We can help.

Accepting Child Exploitation Cases Throughout North Carolina