Texas is known for taking a tough position on most types of crime. However, law enforcement and prosecutors take an especially aggressive stance against child pornography offenses. A conviction for any child sex offenses, such as possession of child pornography, results in the potential for severe criminal punishments. Additionally, these offenses carry the possibility of mandatory sex offender registration. At Guest and Gray Criminal Defense Lawyers, we work closely with clients to develop comprehensive and compelling defenses to even the most serious allegations. Regardless of the charges you face, your criminal record, or the evidence in the prosecutor's file, the Dallas criminal defense lawyers at Guest and Gray Criminal Defense Lawyers can help.Types of Child Pornography Crimes
In Texas, child pornography includes any visual material that “depicts a child younger than 18 years of age at the time the image of the child was made who is engaging in sexual conduct.” In this context, “material” consists of both physical and digital images or videos. There are two main types of child pornography crimes in Texas:Possession
Possession of child pornography is a felony of the third degree, unless you have a prior conviction under the same subsection, in which case the offense is graded s a second-degree felony. Two prior convictions result in a first-degree felony charge.Promotion
Charges of promotion of child pornography often accompany possession charges, as the definition of “promotion” is very broad. Under Texas law, promotion means to “procure, manufacture, issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, transfer, transmit, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise.”
The promotion of child pornography is a second-degree felony unless you have a prior conviction for the same, in which case it becomes a first-degree felony.
In addition to the criminal penalties imposed, a conviction for possession or promotion of child pornography results in mandatory sex offender registration. The default term is lifetime registration, although there are some situations in which you can terminate sex offense registration requirements.The Related Offense of Lewd Material Depicting a Child
While child pornography involves images or videos of minors engaged in sexual activity, under Texas Penal Code § 43.262, state law criminalizes the possession of lewd material depicting a child. This offense involves material that does not rise to the level of child pornography but still meets the following criteria:
- Depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of an unclothed, partially clothed, or clothed child;
- Appeals to the “prurient interest in sex”; and
- Lacks “literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”
Possession of lewd material depicting a child is a state jail felony. However, if you have a prior conviction for possession of child pornography or possession of lewd material depicting a minor, the gradation increases to a third-degree felony. Two prior qualifying convictions will make the offense a second-degree felony.
While the punishments for lewd material depicting a child are severe, unlike child pornography charges, a conviction does require mandatory sex offender registration.
Regardless of the type of child sex offense you face, it is imperative you secure experienced counsel to assist in your defense.Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys Standing Up for the Rights of Those Accused of Serious Sex Crimes
If you or a loved one was recently arrested for a child pornography offense, it is imperative that you do not give up hope. As serious as these crimes are, there are defenses, and an experienced criminal defense attorney at Guest and Gray can help you identify and pursue the best possible defense in your case. Our experienced lawyers have decades of combined experience handling high-stakes sex crimes. Guest and Gray will provide you with the defense you need, deserve, and are entitled to. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer, give us a call at (972) 564-4644 today. You can also reach us through our online form. We proudly represent clients in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin and Kaufman counties.