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Albuquerque Child Porn Laws from Skilled Albuquerque Defense Attorneys

Experienced Defense Attorneys Serving Santa Fe, Belen, Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Rio Rancho, and all of New Mexico

Punishments regarding the exploitation of children are very serious in nature. Recently, the federal government placed concerted emphasis on catching and punishing those who possess or distribute child pornography on the internet. This is a criminal offense and is dealt with very harshly. At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we are committed to providing legal defense for those accused of violating child porn laws. If you have recently been charged with viewing, possessing, or distributing child pornography in Albuquerque, New Mexico, or suspect you may be in the near future, don’t hesitate to contact us immediately. The sooner you team up with a defense attorney, the better the outcome.

What is Child Pornography?

From a legal standpoint, child pornography is any visual depiction involving a minor (or an individual appearing to be a minor) engaging in sexually explicit conduct. These visual depictions could be pictures, photographs, film, video, or computer-generated images. While child pornography has become particularly problematic with the spread and adoption of the internet, it does not only pertain to online content.

The term ‘minor’ refers to any individual under the age of eighteen years old, while ‘sexually explicit conduct’ means actual or simulated sexual intercourse, including oral, anal, bestiality, masturbation, sadistic abuse, or lewd exhibition of genitals.

Prohibited Acts Related to Child Pornography

While the production of child pornography demands the strictest punishments, it is also illegal to knowingly distribute, receive or possess any form of child pornography. While inadvertent access is usually not considered illegal, repeated patterns of behavior can be proof enough for conviction.

Child Pornography Laws

The federal law prohibiting child pornography is 18 U.S.C. Chapter 110, Sexual Exploitation and Other Abuse of Children. Additionally, the Child Online Protection Act and Children’s Internet Protection Act also prohibit child pornography. Child pornography laws provide minimum sentences for each type of offense. They are as follows:

  • Possession of child pornography – No minimum sentence
  • Receipt of child pornography – Minimum of 5 years
  • Distribution of child pornography – Minimum of 5 years
  • Possession of child pornography with intent to distribute – Minimum of 5 years
  • Transportation of child pornography – Minimum of 5 years
  • Production of child pornography – Minimum of 5 years

In the last 15 years, the length of child pornography sentences has increased 500 percent. This is just one example of the federal government’s crackdown on child pornography.
Alleged child pornographers can be prosecuted by any number of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DOJ, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Attorney General, U.S. Customs, state attorneys general, local prosecutors, and state and local law enforcement.

Exceptions to Child Pornography Laws

There are exceptions to child pornography laws if it can be proven that the alleged pornography has serious artistic, literary, scientific, or political value. In many cases, if the definition of pornographic images is questioned, the court will refer to the case of U.S. v Dost to determine the legality. The Dost Test has six criteria:

  1. Whether the focal point of the visual depiction is on the child’s genitalia or pubic area.
  2. Whether the setting of the visual depiction is sexually suggestive (i.e., in a place or pose generally associated with sexual activity).
  3. Whether the child is depicted in an unnatural pose or inappropriate attire given the age of the child.
  4. Whether the child is fully or partially clothed/nude.
  5. Whether the visual depiction suggests sexual coyness or a willingness to engage in sexual activity.
  6. Whether the visual depiction is intended or designed to elicit a sexual response in the viewer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The age of consent in New Mexico is 17. Does that mean a 17-year-old is not considered a “minor” for the purposes of a child porn charge?

No. Anyone under 18 is considered a minor for the purpose of child porn offenses. This is true even though the age of consent for sexual relations in New Mexico is 17. Ironically, it is possible to be convicted of viewing sexual images of a 17-year old girl even though it would have been legal to have had consensual sexual relations with her.

Is parental consent a defense to child pornography charges?

No. Parental consent is irrelevant, just as the consent of the child is irrelevant. In fact, parents themselves can be criminally charged for allowing their minor child to participate in child pornography.

What does it take to be charged with having child pornography on your computer?

You can be charged if you view an image depicting a minor engaged in sexual activity, or one that displays the genitals or buttocks of a minor. It is important to remember that you can be charged for even saving these items, even if you did not view them.

What if I accidentally received child pornography on my computer?

This is a dangerous situation that could result in you being falsely accused. The state of modern technology is such that you can download child pornography without even realizing it. If this happens, contact a New Mexico criminal lawyer immediately, because there are ways to defend yourself.

How do people get caught with child pornography?

  • Your computer (its activities can be tracked through its IP address)
  • You may have been the subject of a law enforcement “sting” operation.
  • Computer repair personnel may have found child porn on your hard drive while repairing your computer. They are obligated by law to report this.

Can my child be charged with a child pornography offense for “sexting”?

New Mexico child porn laws do not prohibit sexting between two consenting minors, and at present, the federal government does not prosecute people for that offense either.  New federal legislation is in the pipeline that could change that, however.

Can an Internet Service Provider be held criminally liable for child porn on its system?

There are certain actions that an ISP is required to take if it detects an apparent violation of child porn laws. An ISP can be subjected to criminal penalties for knowingly and willfully failing to report child porn on its system. Negligent failure to report does not constitute a criminal offense, although it will almost certainly result in adverse consequences for the ISP.

How are child porn offense “sting” operations conducted?

Following are some of the most common methods:

  • Posing as Internet sellers of child pornography and then arresting people attempting to buy it
  • Posing as Internet purchasers of child pornography and then arresting people attempting to sell it
  • Visiting pedophile chat rooms posing as participants, and then baiting people into sharing child porn images.

Contact Us

If you have been accused of possessing, distributing, or viewing child pornography in Albuquerque, New Mexico, or the surrounding areas, please contact us today. At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we are committed to providing top-notch legal services to all of our clients. Call us at 505-200-2982 to schedule a free initial consultation.