You were browsing some adult content sites on your computer when you came across some links to other photos. You clicked on the links and to your horror, they were photos of children in suggestive poses. Somehow, the police found out and now you are charged with child pornography.
What can happen to you? What can you do?
The Illinois Child Pornography law prohibits the obscene use of children ranging from taking the photos to soliciting the models. But what if you came across the photos accidentally online?
Illinois law specifies that it is illegal to knowingly possess any “film, videotape, photograph or other similar reproduction or depiction by computer of any child” whom you reasonably should know was under age 18. (This offense also includes depictions of severely intellectually disabled adults.) Each separate photo or computer depiction can be charged as a separate offense.
You may have a defense if you reasonably believed the child in the image was over age 18 after you made diligent inquiry. Your possession of the images must also be voluntary. However, possession is considered voluntary if you had the image long enough that you could have terminated your possession.
If the computer image you possessed was a photo, you can be charged with a Class 3 felony, punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison. If the child was under age 13, the offense is upgraded to a Class 2 felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years. The offense is also a Class 2 felony if the images were a film or video.
Besides prison and fines, the Court may order you to register as a sex offender, which can bar you from many normal activities such as choosing where you live, who you visit or where you work.
If you are charged with child pornography, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not make any statements to a third party or the police. An attorney can review your options and help you determine the best possible defense.
If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)