December 4, 2018By Brian Manchester
Photographing, filming and possessing child pornography are prohibited by Pennsylvania state law, as well as federal law. Pennsylvania prohibits the photographing, videotaping, depicting on a computer or filming of children under the age of 18 engaging in a sexual act or simulating such an act. Conviction for this offense constitutes a second degree felony and may carry a sentence of imprisonment for up to ten years.
The dissemination of photographs, videotapes, computer depictions and films depicting children under the age of 18 engaging in a sexual act or the simulation of such an act is also prohibited under Pennsylvania statute. Those convicted for this offense will be punished for a felony of the third degree and will face up to five years’ imprisonment.
Possession of Child Pornography in Pennsylvania
Possession of child pornography is also illegal in Pennsylvania. Intentionally viewing or knowingly possessing child pornography violates state law and anyone found to do so will be guilty of a third-degree felony. Pennsylvania has increased the punishment for the possession and dissemination of child pornography. The offense gravity scores have increased and there are now enhancement added to the base offense gravity score after so many images are possessed. What is worse is each single picture or video can be sentenced separately. Unlike the federal system where sentence is determined in part by the quantity of pictures possessed, Pennsylvania can charge for each individual picture. Someone possessing dozens of pictures in theory could receive a de facto life sentence.
Collateral Consequences of a Conviction
An accusation alone related to child pornography can severely damage one’s life due to the stigma surrounding these crimes. Other than the possibility of significant state or federal sentences, Pennsylvania also has mandatory sex offender registration for child pornography charges under Meghan’s Law. Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law, 42 Pa.C.S § 9799.32(1) and § 9799.67(1), requires the State Police to create and maintain a registry of persons who reside, or is transient, work/carry on a vocation, or attend school in the state and who have either been convicted of, entered a plea of guilty to, or have been adjudicated delinquent of Certain Sexual Offenses in Pennsylvania or another jurisdiction.
Pursuant 42 to Pa.C.S. § 9799.28 and § 9799.63, the State Police established a website to provide information to the public on registered sexual offenders who reside, or are transient, attend school, or are employed/carry on a vocation, within the state of Pennsylvania. This means that a child pornography conviction will follow you for the rest of your life, as the information about your case, as well as where you live at any given time, is easily accessible to the public.
What Can You Do If Charged with Child Pornography Charges in Pennsylvania?
If you or a loved one are facing Child Pornography charges in Pennsylvania, it is important to contact an criminal defense lawyer for legal counsel as soon as possible. For a Free Strategy Session to begin building a defense against these charges, call Manchester & Associates at (888) 994-7616. We want to help you.