In the state of Rhode Island, child pornography is a serious offense. The penalty for it can have long-lasting consequences. It’s important that you understand Rhode Island child pornography laws and try to avoid the charges. But it’s also important to know that there are ways to fight the charges. Here’s everything you need to know about Rhode Island Child pornography laws.
What is child pornography?
Child pornography laws vary from state to state. In Rhode Island, child pornography is any visual representation that shows the sexually explicit conduct of a minor. Film, videos, pictures, and computer-generated images all qualify as a visual representation. It doesn’t matter if the minor actually committed the sexually explicit acts. Even a modified or adapted image qualifies as child pornography.
For you to understand what child pornography means, you need to understand the definition of sexually explicit conduct. The term doesn’t only refer to sex. In fact, there are a variety of activities that fall under the category of sexually explicit conduct.
Graphic sexual intercourse is the most obvious offender. Any type of intercourse, including anal to genital and oral to anal intercourse, fits in the category. There’s also bestiality. When bestiality occurs, someone is shown while having intercourse with an animal. Masturbation, masochistic abuse, and sadistic abuse all qualify as sexually explicit conduct. Finally, the graphic demonstration of genitals or the pubic area is sexually explicit conduct.
When any of those acts are on visual media and involve someone who is under the age of 18, child pornography is occurring. And that means that you may be at risk for facing child pornography charges in court.
Rhode Island Child Pornography Laws
In the state, it’s a violation to produce child pornography. Reproduction of child pornography can also get you in trouble. The same is true for owning any material that contains child pornography. Specifically, books, magazines, films, and computer files all count as material. If you have child pornography on any one of those materials, you may face charges.
You also cannot mail or deliver child pornography. For example, sending an email to someone with a video of an underage girl committing sexual acts is an offense. Any type of delivery of pornography, including email, is illegal.
Like most states, Rhode Island considers child pornography a felony. Producing, delivering, and reproducing child pornography are charges that come with the most severe penalties. You may face a fine of up to $5000, and you may face jail time of a maximum of 15 years.
People who possess any type of child pornography face up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5000. It’s possible that a judge may give you only a fine or only jail time. However, it’s also possible that a judge may give you both a fine and jail time. It all depends on the circumstances surrounding your charges. Anyone found guilty of possessing child pornography must register as a sex offender. This can cause trouble at home and work. You may have a hard time finding housing and obtaining a job.
Defenses to a Child Pornography Charge
Fortunately, there are ways to defend a child pornography charge. An experienced lawyer knows how to handle the situation. Every situation is different, and your lawyer can evaluate your situation to determine the best course of action. Here are a few possibilities:
1. Fourth Amendment Violation
When police searched your property, they may have violated your Fourth Amendment. Regardless of whether the police officer had consent or a search warrant, a lawyer may be able to show a violation. This would make the results of the search inadmissible and would get you out of trouble.
2. Fifth or Sixth Amendment Violation
Many suspects cave under pressure and tell the police that they knew they possessed child pornography. If you gave such a confession, a lawyer might be able to suppress it. Doing so could do a lot of damage to the state’s case against you.
3. There was no child pornography
The definition of child pornography is stringent. It’s possible that your pornography does not fit under that definition. If it doesn’t meet the criteria of child pornography, there is no case against you.
4. The pornography was not yours
If a computer has multiple users, there’s no way of knowing who downloaded pornography. As a result, a lawyer may be able to prove that the pornography could be someone else’s. This weakens the case against you.
What You Should Know
Rhode Island actively pursues people who may be guilty of child pornography. To catch internet child pornography, the police have a computer crime unit. They look into the file sharing sites that are often used for child pornography. Then, they identify an IP address and trace it back to the user. With a search warrant, the police can look through your computer and your data. They may be able to get your child pornography as well as a confession from you.
If you want to fight a child pornography charge, you need help. You can’t do it alone. An experienced lawyer knows the Rhode Island child pornography laws. They can help you get a good outcome and can save you from severe penalties.