Washington law makes it a crime for a person to both view and possess child pornography. A child pornography conviction is a felony offense that can be punished by over a year in state prison. If you or someone you know is facing a child pornography charge, it is critical to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney now.
Convictions for Viewing and Possession
RCW 9.68A sets forth the criminal code sections regarding child pornography. Under these laws, a person can be charged with knowingly possessing and/or intentionally viewing “sexually explicit images” that involve child pornography. The crimes are charged as follows:
- possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and
- viewing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct
For each offense, there are two degrees representing the severity of the crime, with first degree charges being the most severe.
A person commits a first-degree possession or viewing offense when the sexually explicit conduct or images in question involve:
- Sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal contact, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex or between humans and animals,
- Penetration of the vagina or rectum by any object,
- Sadomasochistic abuse, or
- Defecation or urination for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer.
A person commits a second-degree possession or viewing offense when the sexually explicit conduct or images in question involve:
- Depiction of the genitals or unclothed pubic or rectal areas of any minor, or the unclothed breast of a female minor, or
- Touching of a person’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or breast area for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer.
As to the first type of material, note that it is not necessary that the minor knew that he or she was participating in the described conduct, or any aspect of it.
For the purposes of these laws, a “minor” means any person under eighteen years of age.
Viewing and Possession Penalties
First-degree viewing and possession crimes are Class B felonies in Washington State. The crimes are punishable by 12-14 months in state prison that is followed by three years of community custody or probation. Note that multiple counts of either offense can lead to a prison term of up to 10 years.
Second-degree viewing and possession crimes are Class C felonies. The crimes are punishable by 3-9 months in county jail, and then one year of community custody or probation. Note that multiple counts of either offense can lead to up to five years in prison.
Are there Legal Defenses?
Persons in Washington accused of child pornography viewing and possession crimes can challenge any accusation with a legal defense. One of the most common defenses is for the defendant to show that any image or depiction involved in a case did not include a minor. Computer experts are often used in these cases to help make this showing.
Further, charges are often brought in these cases after law enforcement execute a search warrant. Keep in mind, though, that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that we have the right to be free from “unreasonable” searches and seizures. If authorities obtain evidence from an unreasonable, or unlawful search and seizure, then that evidence can get excluded from a criminal case. This means that any child pornography charges could get reduced or even dismissed.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help!
While defendants can challenge child pornography charges with a legal defense, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise and assert the best defense. That is where we come in. Our firm’s Seattle child pornography attorneys have over 25 years of combined experience fighting these types of charges. These criminal lawyers are tireless in their efforts and passionate in their representation. Contact our firm now to get true help that makes all the difference.