Child pornography charges are many people’s worst nightmare. This is quite understandable, since the child pornography charges in Texas come with serious penalties.
Texas law defines child pornography as the promotion, use or exploitation of children under age 18 for performance, employment or depictions of sexual acts. You can also face child pornography charges for possessing child pornography.
Potential penalties for a child pornography conviction
A child pornography charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. Penalties if you are convicted can range from fines and probation to jail or prison time. You must also register on the Texas Sex Offender Registry.
As if that wasn’t enough, being branded a sex offender can cost you your job and damage relationships with friends and family. These are all reasons why a strong criminal defense is necessary.
There are some common defenses to child pornography charges and one could apply to your situation.
Mistake of fact and lack of knowledge
Mistake of fact and lack of knowledge are two often used defenses. As with any criminal charge, the prosecution must prove that you knew what you were doing.
To be convicted of child pornography under Texas law, the prosecution must prove that you knew the character and content of the material. If you are charged with possession of child pornography, you may have downloaded or viewed the material not knowing what it was or that the content depicted individuals under age 18.
The same reasoning applies if you are charged with more active involvement with child pornography. Without knowledge that the individuals involved were under age 18, you cannot be convicted.
Entrapment is another commonly used defense to child pornography charges. To successfully assert this defense, you must show that you were induced to engage in an act that you would not have otherwise committed. Using this as a defense can be tricky, so you should fully understand it before attempting to use it.