One of the most common and stigmatizing sex crimes in the State of Florida is the possession or distribution of child pornography.
These offenses can be charged a number of ways. Florida Statute section 827.071 makes if a third-degree felony (punishable by 5 years in state prison) to “knowingly possess a photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, or other presentation” that involves the sexual conduct of a child.
A child, under Florida law, is a person under the age of 18.
Possessing child pornography with the intent to promote it, or distribute it, is a second-degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison.
Note that the statutory requires proof that the pornography was “knowingly” possessed.
The lack of knowledge is not a defense to promoting, or distributing child pornography, but it is a defense to possession of child pornography.
What’s scary about this offense is that the law has not caught up with the manner in which technology permits files to be downloaded onto your computer, even without your knowledge.
If your IP address is hacked, videos and images that may be encrypted can wind up on your hard drive. These files are often tracked by law enforcement and if they have a reason to suspect that the images may be on your computer, expect a nasty six a.m. knock on your door and the execution of a search warrant by police officers with guns.
Check out Justice For Matt, a website about the horror of an innocent man charged with possessing material that was unknowingly downloaded to his hard drive through an IP address that had been infiltrated by hackers.
We live in a world where technology itself has exceeded our ability to comprehend it. The laws, the police, and the prosecutors, have failed to adapt, still believing that the simple possession of a child pornography video or image on your computer is legal proof that you knowingly downloaded and viewed the image.
If you are facing investigation or prosecution for the possession, transmission, promotion, or distribution of child pornograph in Miami or Broward, call me.