Florida Child Pornography Laws
Overview of Florida Child Pornography Laws
Child pornography laws protect children from exploitation in visual materials depicting sexual conduct. Florida criminalizes the production or promotion of child pornography when an individual makes prohibited materials such as pornographic photos or films involving minors under the age of eighteen. In addition, Florida state laws prosecute individuals who possess, control, or view child pornography, even if they do those activities within the privacy of their own homes.
State laws prohibit the promotion of "sexual performance by a child," which the Florida Statutes define as any performance including sexual conduct by a minor. The state prosecutes offenses related to the promotion of child pornography; these prohibited activities include the directing, filming, recording, or production of a sexual performance by a child. The state also criminalizes the promotion of child pornography by someone who shares, lends, gives away, or sells prohibited visual materials. In addition, a state prosecutor may charge a defendant with the promotion of child pornography if the defendant possessed multiple copies of a sexual performance involving a child--the state uses the copies as evidence of the defendant's intent to distribute or sell the materials to others.
Florida laws also criminalize the viewing, possession, or control of visual material showing children engaged in sexual conduct. A prosecutor may charge the defendant with a child pornography offense for viewing photos, computer images or videos, films, and other materials showing children performing sexual acts. The prosecutor must show that the defendant knowingly and voluntarily engaged in the prohibited activities. To show that the defendant violated state laws, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant viewed more than a "single image" over a period of time. However, when the defendant has viewed, accessed, or collected multiple examples of child pornography, each image, photo, or video might serve as the basis for a separate charge by the prosecutor without violating the principle of double jeopardy.
Defenses to Child Pornography Charges
- Lack of knowledge or bona fide mistake regarding the participation of a child is not a defense to the promotion of child pornography.
- Entrapment by law enforcement officials might be a defense if the defendant can show that there was no predisposition to engage in the crime otherwise.
Penalties and Sentences
For each offense based on the viewing, control, or possession of child pornography, Florida state laws allow the prosecutor to pursue a third degree felony charge. A conviction for a third degree felony may result in a sentence of imprisonment for a term up to five years, a fine in an amount up to $5,000, or both.
For each offense charged for the production or promotion of child pornography, the state can pursue a second degree felony. Florida state laws allow a sentence of imprisonment for up to fifteen years, a fine in an amount up to $10,000, or both.
Florida state laws also permit increased sentencing for defendants who have prior felony convictions. The state can consider whether to pursue sentencing meant for career criminals and habitual felony offenders.
In addition, convictions for some of the offenses related to child pornography require registration as sex offenders in the Florida Sex Offender Database.
Florida Child Pornography Statute
Florida Statutes Section 827.071
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.