Being arrested on a child pornography charge is serious and nothing to take lightly. The penalties for a conviction can be life-changing – it could mean the loss of your freedom and the inability to find a job or even a place to live.
If this has happened to you, contact a Sand Law attorney immediately. We’ll do everything we can to either have your charges reduced or dropped altogether. Contact us online or call 701-609-1510 for a free consultation.
You Are Innocent Until Proven Guilty
This is the most critical thing you should remember. Many people assume that when law enforcement and prosecutors pursue a case, it always means the accused is guilty. But that’s not the case at all. You’ll need an attorney who will fight as hard as possible to clear your name.
Offenses Under Child Pornography
The following is brief information on common child pornography offenses.
In North Dakota, a person is considered to be in possession of child pornography if they knowingly possess any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. “Sexually explicit conduct” is defined as actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviant sexual conduct, sexual contact, or lewd exhibition of the genitals.
A person can be convicted of distributing child pornography if they knowingly sell, distribute, or transfer any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct to another person or if they publish or exhibit such a depiction in any way.
Creation & Manufacturing
Creating and manufacturing child pornography involves knowingly producing, directing or assisting in the production or direction of any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Penalties for Child Pornography Offenses
Any conviction of an offense related to child pornography carries severe penalties. These include the following:
A person is guilty of a class C felony if, knowing of its character and content, that person knowingly possesses any motion picture, photograph, or other visual representation that includes sexual conduct by a minor. The penalties are a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The distribution of child pornography is considered a Class B felony, with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. However, in some cases, the court will consider the distribution of pornography a Class A felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.
Creation & Manufacturing
The penalties for creating and manufacturing child pornography depend on the specific circumstances of the offense. Such as the age of the victim depicted and the number of images or videos involved. The defendant’s prior criminal record will also be taken into account.
The court generally considers this offense a Class A felony. There are instances where the charge increases to a Class AA felony. The maximum sentence is life in prison and a fine of as much as $20,000.
What are Your Rights After Arrest?
If you’ve been arrested for child pornography in North Dakota, you have certain legal rights protected by the U.S. Constitution and North Dakota state law. These rights include:
- The right to remain silent: You have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. Anything you say can be used against you in court. It is generally advisable to exercise this right and only provide information to law enforcement in the presence of an attorney.
- The right to an attorney: You have the right to an attorney and to have them present during questioning. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest to understand your legal options and protect your rights.
- The right to a fair and speedy trial: You have the right to a fair and speedy trial by an impartial jury.
- The right against self-incrimination: You have the right against self-incrimination. This means that the prosecution must prove their case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Also, you do not have to testify or present evidence against yourself.
What to Expect After an Arrest for Child Pornography
There are several things that you can expect to happen after an arrest, including the following:
- Booking: You’ll be taken to the police station or jail for booking, where your personal information will be collected, and you’ll be photographed and fingerprinted.
- Initial appearance: You’ll appear before a judge or magistrate for an initial appearance, usually within 24-48 hours of your arrest. The judge will inform you of your charges. They’ll also set bail and appoint an attorney if you can’t afford one.
- Bail: If you’re eligible for bail, the judge will set a bail amount based on the seriousness of the charges, your criminal history, and other factors. If you can’t afford to pay the bail, you may be able to request a bail reduction or a bail bond.
- Arraignment: At your arraignment, you’ll enter a plea to the charges against you. Arraignment is typically scheduled within a few weeks of your initial appearance. You may plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
- Pretrial hearings: If you plead not guilty, pretrial hearings will be scheduled to address any pretrial motions. This may include motions to suppress evidence or dismiss the case.
- Trial: If your case proceeds to trial, a jury will be selected, and the prosecution will present evidence to support the charges against you. Your defense attorney will cross-examine witnesses and present evidence in your defense.
- Sentencing: If you’re found guilty or plead guilty, the judge will sentence you. Sentencing for child pornography offenses in North Dakota can include imprisonment, fines, probation, and sex offender registration.
Do You Need to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?
You not only need to hire a criminal defense attorney, but you also need to do so as fast as possible. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights, provide legal advice, and guide you through the criminal justice system.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney is an important decision. It can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Choose an attorney experienced in defending clients against child pornography charges and who you feel comfortable hiring.
Contact Sand Law to Speak to an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Contact Sand Law online or call 701-609-1510 as soon as you can for a free case review. We’ll listen to the details of your case and tell you how we may be able to help.