Potential Penalties for Child Pornography Offenses
Interviewer: Let’s talk about some of the penalties that someone could be facing from normal minimum to maximum when it comes to these kinds of cases.
Paul Cramm: At the minimum level, if you’re prosecuted at the state level in the State of Kansas, the offense is called sexual exploitation of a minor. That’s a severity level-five felony offense. There’s a broad guideline range from 31 all the way up to 136 months in custody, depending the on the person’s criminal history. If someone appears with no criminal history at all and is prosecuted at the state level, they’ll be facing a sentence of 31 to possibly 36 months.
The most important thing is that with minimal criminal history, or misdemeanor history only, a person charged at the state level with sexual exploitation of a minor or possessing these types of images is eligible for probation. It’s not a guarantee that they’ll have probation, but they’re eligible. Now, by contrast, at the federal level, the penalty for merely possessing a single image of child pornography has a mandatory minimum, non-negotiable 60 months in prison. There is no eligibility for probation.
If it is believed that the person has engaged in trafficking, sending and receiving images, paying for images, or trading images, the charge is significantly more serious than a simple possession charge, and people face a mandatory minimum sentence of 120 months and up. At the federal level, it can be a five-year sentence for possession. In a couple of these cases, the most important facet of the case is getting involved very early on in the investigation, so that you can at least attempt to negotiate for prosecution at the state level as opposed to the federal level. That immediately will have mitigated an enormous amount of risk that your client would otherwise face.
For more information on successful defense of Federal Child Pornography charges, click here.
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