California PC 311 | Possession of Child Pornography

Being accused of possessing child pornography has devastating consequences and irreparable injury on someone’s reputation. Even if a person is never formally charged, simply being investigated or accused can ruin someone’s life. However, prosecuting child pornography cases is more burdensome and challenging to a prosecutor than one would imagine. There are numerous defenses available that can help substantially reduce the charge or dismiss it completely. Depending on the circumstances and what is being alleged, child pornography cases may be prosecuted in both California state and federal court. One can face time in state prison in addition to the required lifetime sex offender registration. It is important that one retain an attorney at the earliest possible stage and make no statement to anyone, especially law enforcement.

LEGAL DEFINITION

In California, Possession of Child Pornography is defined under Penal Code 311.11(a) which provides, “Every person who knowingly possesses or controls any matter, representation of information, data, or image, including, but not limited to, any film, filmstrip, photograph, negative, slide, photocopy, videotape, video laser disc, computer hardware, computer software, computer floppy disc, data storage media, CD-ROM, or computer generated equipment or any other computer generated image that contains or incorporates in any manner, any film or filmstrip, the product of which involves the use of a person under 18 years of age, knowing that the matter depicts a person under 18 years of age personally engaging in or simulating sexual conduct is guilty under this statute.”

LEGAL DEFENSES

  • You were not in “possession” of the material.
  • You did not have knowledge that you were in possession of the material.
  • The material is not considered “obscene” for the purposes of this statute.
  • Police unlawfully searched & seized your electronic devices.
  • Someone else planted / hacked your computer to hide the material.

PUNISHMENT FOR CHILD PORNOGRAPHY – PC 311

pc-311-punishment

Possession of child pornography is categorized as a wobbler, which means that the prosecutor holds discretion on whether or not to charge someone with a felony or a misdemeanor. The major factors a prosecutor considers are the defendant’s prior criminal record and the amount of pornography the defendant possessed.

If convicted under this charge as to a misdemeanor, the consequences are:

  • Up to one year of incarceration in the county jail
  • A fine up to $2,500
  • Lifetime Sex Offender Registration
  • Court Supervised Probation
  • Stay away from children order
  • Temporary Loss of Search & Seizure Rights
  • Counseling Classes

If you are convicted under this statute as to a felony, the consequences are:

  • 16 months, 2, or 5 years in state prison
  • Fine of up to $2,500
  • Formal Supervised Probation or Parole
  • Lifetime Sex Offender Registration
  • Loss of Firearm Rights
  • Temporary Loss of Search & Seizure Rights
  • A Felony Conviction on your Record
  • Counseling Classes
  • Stay away order / Protective Order

CHILD PORNOGRAPHY EXAMPLES

Police raid Dan’s house with a search warrant and seize his computer. A forensic analysis of Dan’s computer revealed a substantial amount of child pornography. Dan was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography. Dan hired a criminal defense attorney who in turn appointed a computer forensics expert. The expert’s analysis revealed that a computer hacker hacked into Dan’s computer and was running a child pornography website utilizing Dan’s information and files. In this case, Dan would not be guilty because he did not knowingly possess the child pornography.

Police knock on Dan’s door and start asking him questions about a child pornography investigation against him. Dan let the police officers into his house for questioning. Once questioning was finished, Police seized Dan’s computer for further investigation. A police computer analyst discovered child pornography on Dan’s computer. In this case, Dan’s defense attorney would argue that police officers unlawfully searched Dan’s computer in violations of his Fourth Amendment right because they searched and seized his computer without his consent and without a search warrant. As a result, the material will be suppressed and the prosecutor will be unable to proceed and the case will be dismissed.

FREE CRIMINAL DEFENSE CONSULTATION

If you are under investigation, accused, or have been arrested for possession of child pornography under PC 311, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers immediately. Mr. Rogers is located at 1801 Century Park East, 24th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Call 877-888-9820 now for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.