Carteret County Child Pornography Attorney

Creating, possessing, viewing, or disseminating child pornography is illegal in North Carolina and federal law. The number of prosecutions related to child pornography charges has increased over the last few years as the distribution of it has skyrocketed online. Unfortunately, innocent people can face child pornography charges in North Carolina. 

Defendants charged with child pornography face severe criminal penalties, including jail time and significant social stigma resulting in job loss and strained personal relationships. If you’ve been accused of a crime related to child pornography, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact Hancock Law Firm, PLLC today to learn how we can advocate for you. We will carefully investigate your case and create an effective legal defense strategy on your behalf.

Types of Child Pornography Charges in North Carolina

The laws that prohibit child pornography are categorized as sexual exploitation of a minor, defined as a person under 18. These charges are among the most serious crimes you can commit in North Carolina, and they include the following:

  • Possession
  • Downloading it from the internet
  • Trading it between individuals
  • Saving or collecting as an individual 
  • Manufacturing or creating
  • Sharing with another person

I’m Innocent, What Now?

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we understand that many innocent people are charged with child pornography crimes. Additionally, child pornography crimes are complicated and require the assistance of an experienced lawyer. If you’ve been blindsided by a criminal investigation for the creation, possession, or distribution of child pornography, you need to consult with a skilled lawyer as soon as possible. One of our criminal defense lawyers will assist you in the following ways:

  • We will determine which precise allegations are at stake in your case
  • We will determine what type of an investigation law enforcement investigation is involved
  • We will provide you with an accurate legal assessment of your unique situation
  • We will create and execute a legal strategy to fight for your ideal outcome

Many criminal charges result in plea bargains or plea deals. In a plea deal, the defendant will plead guilty to a crime in exchange for the prosecution reducing the charges. When prosecutors don’t have enough evidence to prove a charge, they may pressure a defendant unnecessarily to accept a plea deal. Accepting a plea deal right away may seem tempting, but we recommend speaking with a lawyer before you do so. Taking the plea deal may not be your best legal option, especially if the prosecution doesn’t have enough evidence to secure a conviction. We will review the plea deal and can negotiate assertively with the prosecution when necessary. 

Penalties for Child Pornography Charges in North Carolina

All crimes related to child pornography are serious felonies in North Carolina. However, the exact penalty depends on the specific crime with which you’re charged. Manufacturing it carries more serious penalties than simply viewing it. For example, manufacturing pornography is considered first-degree exploitation of a minor crime, a class C felony.

The specific sentence for a child pornography conviction also depends on the number of video clips or images the defendant has of prepubescent children. The sentence will also depend on the content of the videos and images and the degree of manipulation of the material. For example, if the prosecution can prove that you saved, downloaded, resent, or create child pornography, you will face more severe penalties.

Sharing child pornography is second-degree exploitation of a minor charge, which is a Class E felony. On the other hand, viewing it is considered a Class H felony. Regardless of the specific charge, all convicted defendants must register as a sexually violent offender. Registering as a sex offender has long-time, negative consequences. Certain employers will not hire applicants who are registered sex offenders. Registering as a sex offender can also cause problems in housing and your personal relationships.

Common Defenses

The types of legal defenses you can make against child pornography charges depend on your unique case’s facts and circumstances. However, there are some common legal defenses against these charges. The first legal defense involves claiming that the judge should dismiss the criminal charges against you because there isn’t enough evidence to prove the charges. North Carolina prosecutors often bring excessive criminal charges that they can’t prove, and our legal team knows how to hold prosecutors accountable and get cases dismissed.

Another defense against these charges is accidental possession. The prosecution must prove that you knew you possessed or intended to possess sexually explicit content of children under the age of 18. We will work with a forensic specialist who can identify a reason for the presence of child pornography on your phone or computer without your knowledge. We can use the evidence we gather to petition the court to dismiss the charges against you. 

Accidentally Downloading Child Pornography

Accidentally downloading child pornography requires you to self-report to the authorities and undergo an investigation and determination of the case. Self-reporting doesn’t automatically stop criminal prosecution against you, but it gives the prosecutor discretion not to pursue your case. If you’re considering self-reporting, we recommend speaking to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible so you can protect your rights.

Contact a Carteret County Sex Crimes Lawyer Today

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, our sex crimes lawyers have the technical and legal experience necessary to provide you with the best possible defense. If you’ve been charged with a child pornography-related crime or sexual exploitation of a minor, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Don’t speak to law enforcement agents before contacting a criminal defense lawyer, as you could unintentionally hurt your defense case. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.