Federal Sex Crime Offenses
Most sex crimes are covered by California state law and handled by local state courts. However, some crimes which violate federal law are punishable under federal statutes, and prosecuted in federal court. This also means that penalties for incarceration will be served in a federal penitentiary rather than state prison.
Two common sex crimes which are tried as federal crimes involve child pornography or human trafficking. The federal courts have jurisdiction to hear these cases because they involve activity which often crosses state lines, or happens on the internet. Both of these crimes have received increased public awareness in recent years. As a result, the minimum and maximum penalties have been increased, and may include five (5) years to life imprisonment.
Federal Child Pornography Charges
While state law does govern child pornography, when material is on the internet, it becomes a federal crime. Most child pornography cases involve the internet, as an accessible worldwide network used to buy, share, and trade images and videos. Online child pornography cases increase as technology improves and more people gain faster access to online content.
There are different federal statutes and penal codes to differentiate penalties by the possession; distribution; receipt; and production of child pornography. Most federal child pornography case involve people charged with possession, receipt or distribution of child pornography. This includes the advertisement of child pornography.
Possession of child pornography includes downloading images to the computer, even if they are later deleted. Distribution of child pornography does not have to be by intentionally buying, selling or trading images or videos. It can be done more passively, such as by having a peer-to-peer account such as BitTorrent, µTorrent or Gnutella, where others have access to the files. Production of child pornography involves creating the images, and could include manipulation of digital images, even where there was no actual contact with a child.
Federal Human Sex Trafficking
Sex trafficking is generally defined as causing a person to engage in commercial sex by force, fraud, coercion or conduct involving someone under the age of 18. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 established methods for prosecuting sex traffickers, treating it as a federal crime. As a result, trafficking may be prosecuted as both a California state and U.S. federal crime.
Human sex trafficking can be both local and international in scope. It could involve a pimp moving underage prostitutes around to different cities, advertising their sex services through backpage classifieds. It could also involve trafficking women from abroad under the false pretense that they will be working as housekeepers, models, or even for marriage, only to end up providing sex services.
Federal Sex Crime Penalties
Federal sex crime penalties are severe, and will depend on the facts surrounding the crime. Federal prison sentences for receipt or distribution of child pornography could result in incarceration for a minimum of five (5) or even ten (10) years. Production of child pornography carries a greater minimum penalty of at least 15 years in federal prison.
The penalties for sex trafficking will depend on the situation, such as the force used, the number of people involved, and age of individuals trafficked. Sex traffickers will receive a sentence of up to life in prison. Additionally, traffickers may face civil penalties from their victims.
Sex Offender Registration
Although each state has slightly different requirements for sex offender registration, the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section oversees the national sex offender registration system. Upon release from jail, a defendant sex offender is required to register as a sex offender with the local police, with regular mandatory reporting duties, which is a lifetime requirement in California.
Federal Sex Crime Defense
Federal courts, laws and procedures are treated very differently from state courts. Most lawyers have experience in their local Los Angeles courts, without having even stepped foot in a federal courthouse. If you are charged with federal child pornography charges or sex trafficking crimes, you need a lawyer with significant courtroom experience at the federal level, to protect your rights and freedom.
Federal sex crime defense is a complex area of the law, with unique norms of the court and practice requirements. At White Goldstein, we have represented many clients charged with federal sex crimes, including child pornography charges and human sex trafficking charges. We will investigate the facts of your case in depth to determine the best legal strategy. This could include arguing that the alleged harmful material was for an educational or scientific purpose, downloading was accidental, or that someone else was responsible for the online contact and internet usage.
Free Confidential Consultation
We will provide you or your loved one with superior legal representation facing federal criminal charges. We are dedicated to giving all our clients the highest level of service. We will thoroughly investigate the charges you or your loved one face and will tirelessly work to have them dismissed.Call White Goldstein today at (310) 295-1810 for a free, confidential consultation.