New Jersey Possession of Child Pornography Defense Lawyer

Modern computers, smartphones, and the internet make it easy to download hundreds–even thousands–of files in just a few seconds. These files can include certain types of images that may be considered child pornography under New Jersey law. And if you are accused of knowingly possessing such photos, you may face serious criminal charges.

A conviction for possession of child pornography can lead not only to jail time but in many cases require someone to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives. Given these dire consequences, it is essential that if you are charged it is imperative that you work with an experienced New Jersey possession of child pornography defense lawyer. Attorney Matthew V. Portella has more than 25 years of experience representing clients accused of serious crimes throughout New Jersey. He can provide you with skilled legal advice and representation during this difficult period when you are fighting for your freedom.

How Does New Jersey Define Child Pornography?

New Jersey classifies possession of child pornography under the heading of “endangering the welfare of children.” Under N.J.S.A. Section 2C:24-4, a person commits a crime of the third degree–what most other states call a felony–if they knowingly possess, view, or have under their control an “item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child.”

A child in this context means any person under 18 years of age. It is not a defense to a child pornography charge that you did not know–or mistakenly believed–that the person depicted in an image was under 18. The law only cares about whether or not the person was in fact a minor when the image was created.

Punishments for Child Pornography Crimes

Possession of child pornography can be punished in the first-degree, second-degree, or in third-degree. Regardless of the degree, child pornography crimes can result in years of prison time, thousands of dollars worth of fines, and a lifetime of other effects.

Possession of Child Pornography

One may face the charge of possession of child pornography in the first degree if they possess over 100,000 images and can face anywhere from 10-20 years in prison, a $200,000 fine, a possible “lifetime” status on Megan’s Law sex offender registry, and parole supervision for life.

If someone possesses less than 100,000 images, they face a second-degree charge for endangering the welfare of the child. A penalty in the second-degree can result in a non-expungeable felony criminal record, a prison sentence of 5-10 years, a fine up to $150,000, and other penalties determined by the courts.

One facing a third-degree possession of child pornography charge may be required to serve up to five years in prison, pay up to $15,000 in fines, and being required to register under Megan’s Law if they knowingly are found in possession of less than 1,000 illicit images. It’s important to also understand and know that viewing any photo, video, computer program, file, or any other items that contain minors engaging in prohibited sexual activity, is also deemed a third-degree crime. A conviction of a crime in the second degree in New Jersey generally carries a “presumption of imprisonment”. Crimes of the third degree normally do not carry such a presumption, but New Jersey law requires prison if a defendant is found to possess 100 or more items of child pornography.

The court may still decline to order jail time for a first offender if the judge determines that imprisonment “would be a serious injustice” based on the defendant’s character and condition. This leniency, however, is not available for second or subsequent convictions. In addition to prison time, persons convicted of child pornography-related crimes can be required to register as a sex offender under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law.

Possession With Intent to Distribute

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a), the state can try and convict a person of intent to distribute child pornography in the first or second degree if they attempted to sell or distribute images or other media related to child pornography. They can also try to convict a person if they had images of child pornography on a computer or similar device that was accessible by others over the internet, such as through a file-sharing network. The state does not have to prove that anyone else actually accessed such images, only that they were made available by the defendant.

According to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a), one commits a crime if, by any means, they:

● knowingly distribute an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child;
● knowingly possesses an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child with the intent to distribute that item; or
● knowingly stores or maintains an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child using a file-sharing program which is designated as available for searching by or copying to one or more other computers.

First-Degree Distribution of Child Pornography Penalties

● A prison sentence of 10-20 years
● A fine of up to $200,000
● Non-expugnable felony on one’s criminal record
● Inclusion on Megan’s Law list of sex offenders
● Parole supervision for life

Second-Degree Distribution of Child Pornography Penalties

● A prison sentence of 5-10 years
● A fine of up to $150,000
● Non-expugnable felony on one’s criminal record
● Inclusion on Megan’s Law list of sex offenders
● Parole ineligibility if convicted with 25 or more items

Manufacturing of Child Pornography

The most serious offense related to the possession, distribution, and manufacturing of child pornography is the manufacturing of it. One faces steep fines (upward of $200,000), prison time if convicted (20 years in state prison), a felony criminal record that is ineligible for expungement, and registration under Megan’s Law.

The Benefits of Working with our New Jersey Child Pornography Defense Attorney

At The Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC, we understand the severity of these accusations. Our founding attorney, Matthew Portella, has decades of legal experience navigating the complexities of the New Jersey criminal justice system. Attorney Portella’s goal with each and every case is to provide effective behind-the-scenes preparation, aggressive negotiations, and equally effective courtroom performance. We understand the effects these accusations can have on you and your family and we’re here to help protect your rights and freedoms.

Contact The Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC Today

As you can see, New Jersey takes the possession of child pornography quite seriously. That is why you must be prepared to defend yourself against such charges. An experienced New Jersey possession of child pornography defense lawyer can review your case and advise you of your options. Contact the Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC, today at (856) 245-5911 to schedule a consultation.

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