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Cape Girardeau, MO

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Posted by Christopher Combs on February 23, 2024

Child pornography defense lawyer in Cape Girardeau, MO. Confronting accusations or charges related to the possession or distribution of child pornography poses a substantial risk to your personal and professional reputation. If you’re facing charges for possessing or distributing child pornography in Cape Girardeau, MO, you may be looking at serious felony charges and mandatory Missouri sex offender registration upon conviction. It is vital not to leave your defense to chance in such a critical situation.

Call the criminal defense attorneys at Combs Waterkotte immediately at (314) 900-HELP or reach out to us online for a free, no-obligation case review. Our expert child pornography defense lawyer will meet with you one-and-one, discuss the specifics of your case, and provide guidance on next steps.

What Can Lead to Child Pornography Charges in Cape Girardeau, MO?

While there might be many stereotypes, child pornography charges come about in all walks of life in and around Cape Girardeau, MO. Missouri Revised Statute § 573.010 defines child pornography as any obscene material or performance depicting sexual conduct, contact, or sexual performance, including a minor under 18 years old as a participant or portrayed observer of the material.

According to RSMo § 573.037, an individual is charged with the offense of child pornography if they knowingly or recklessly possess any child pornography of a minor less than 18 years old or obscene material portraying what seems to be a minor under 18 years of age.

A few specific instances of child pornography charges in the Cape Girardeau, MO area are:

  • Possessing Child Pornography: Having child pornography in your possession, regardless of the quantity or form – digital, physical, etc.
  • Promoting Child Pornography: Distributing or selling child pornography to an adult, or promoting adult pornography to a minor.
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor: Encompasses filming, photographing, or participating in any aspect of the creation process of child pornography.

If you’re facing charges or have been questioned regarding any of these examples – or any other child pornography charges in the Cape Girardeau, MO area – call Combs Waterkotte now at (314) 900-HELP or reach out to us online. You need an experienced advocate on your side to protect your reputation, rights, and future.

Child Pornography Defense Lawyer in Cape Girardeau, MO | Cape Girardeau, MO Criminal Defense | Combs Waterkotte

What Are the Penalties for Child Pornography in Cape Girardeau, MO?

Statutorily, under RSMo § 573.037, the offense of child pornography is a class D felony if you possess only one still image of child pornography or one obscene still image. The offense becomes a class B felony in Cape Girardeau, MO if you:

  • Possess more than 20 still images of child pornography
  • Possess over 20 obscene still images
  • Possess child pornography comprised of one motion picture, film, videotape, videotape production, or other moving image
  • Possess obscene material comprised of one motion picture, film, videotape, videotape production, or other moving image
  • Prior conviction for an offense under this section

Penalties for Promotion of Child Pornography in Cape Girardeau, MO

Engaging in the promotion of child pornography to an adult is classified as a class C felony, punishable by up to 7 years in prison and fines. Additionally:

  • Knowingly promoting child pornography to a minor or distributing obscene material featuring a child under the age of 14 could escalate the charges to a class B felony, leading to imprisonment for a duration of 5-15 years.
  • Cape Girardeau, MO residents with a prior child pornography conviction, engaging in widespread promotion of child pornography or promoting it to a minor, may face a class D felony, punishable by 4 years in prison and fines.

Legal Ramifications for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor in the Cape Girardeau, MO Area

Charges related to sexual exploitation of a minor are categorized as a class B felony. However, if the child involved was under 14 years old the charges increase to a class A felony, which carries a minimum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Who Has to Register as a Sex Offender in Cape Girardeau, MO and Throughout Missouri?

Under RSMo § 589.400, individuals charged with specific crimes are obligated to register with the Missouri Sex Offender Registry within three days of their conviction or release from jail, prision, or probation:

  • Possessing and/or promoting child pornography
  • Using children in sexual performances
  • Promoting sexual performance by children
  • Sexually exploiting a minor
  • Public display of sexually explicit material
  • Promoting pornography for minors
  • Promoting obscenity
  • Coercing others to accept obscene materials
  • Promoting prostitution
  • Sexual contact with nursing home residents

Missouri also breaks down offenders into different tiers for sex offender registration requirements, including:

  • Tier I Offenders: These have a 15-year registration requirement and must report to the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) in person once a year. These offenses do not include child pornography, and are for misdemeanor sexual offenses or minor statutory offenses.
  • Tier II Offenders: Offenders in this tier face a 25-year registration requirement and must report to the CLEO in person semiannually. Offenses in this category may include possession of child pornography, indecent exposure, and other nonviolent sexual crimes against minors.
  • Tier II Offenders: These have a lifetime registration requirement and must report to the CLEO in person every 90 days. Offenses in this category usually involve violent acts like rape, child molestation, sexual assault, as well as repeat offenses.

Penalties for Not Registering as a Sex Offender in Cape Girardeau, MO

Failure to register as a sex offender is considered a class E felony unless you are required to register after being charged with an offense in chapter 566 as an unclassified felony, a class A or B felony, or a felony involving a child under 14 years of age, in which case it becomes a class D felony.

Combs Waterkotte is a leading criminal defense law firm based in St. Louis. Along with expert legal representation from our skilled Cape Girardeau, MO child pornography lawyers, we provide assistance in the following areas for clients in Cape Girardeau, MO:

Child Pornography Defense Lawyer Cape Girardeau, MO | Criminal Defense Law Firm in Cape Girardeau, MO | Combs Waterkotte

What Are Common Defenses Against Child Pornography Charges in Cape Girardeau, MO?

The Combs Waterkotte skilled Cape Girardeau, MO child pornography defense team has a combined 60-plus years of experience defending clients throughout Cape Girardeau, MO in cases just like yours. While every case is different with unique circumstances, some defense strategies our lawyers have used include:

An Unintentional Possession Defense

The basis of this defense, also commonly referred to as “unintended possession,” is that you didn’t mean to have child porn in your possession, or that the material didn’t belong to you. It may be applicable if child pornography was found on a shared computer or hard drive or on a device accessible to individuals other than yourself without your knowledge. An unintentional download through an unsecured network or the malicious actions of a vengeful ex-spouse or someone else in Cape Girardeau, MO could also be considered.

Your Combs Waterkotte defense attorney will work to establish that you were not aware of possessing child porn. Give us a call right away at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online.

An Accidental Possession Defense

The internet can be a treacherous environment. Your computer is continuously susceptible to viruses, spyware, malware, spam, or various other inputs without your knowledge or consent. These intrusions could easily include child pornography or other obscene materials. You, like many other individuals in Cape Girardeau and throughout Missouri, have numerous files on your computer you didn’t even know existed.

A “Not Child Porn” Defense

This defense is based on the prosecution’s burden to prove that the subject of the material in question was under 18 years of age. Also, if the material serves a scientific, religious, or educational purpose it should not be considered child pornography.

Illegal Search and Seizure

Law enforcement may make procedural errors violating an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights under the Constitution. The Combs Waterkotte defense team always has your rights, your future, and your best interests in mind in Cape Girardeau, MO. If evidence was seized illegally, your Cape Girardeau, MO child pornography defense lawyer will argue its inadmissibility.

Entrapment

Entrapment can occur in a variety of situations throughout Missouri. This defense asserts that you would not have committed the offense if law enforcement hadn’t initiated contact with you and persuaded you to do so. Officers could also try to induce individuals to purchase content which wasn’t clearly labeled or believed to be child porn, only to arrest them for buying child porn. Entrapment occurs more frequently than we might realize, especially in instances where law enforcement conducts child porn sting operations, rounding up a multitude of people, not all of whom are guilty.

Psychological Addiction/Mitigating Circumstances

While not guaranteed to result in acquittal, claiming a psychological addiction to child pornography is a possible means to reduce your sentence or, in some cases, avoid imprisonment via a treatment program and probation. Some mitigating factors your Combs Waterkotte Cape Girardeau, MO defense lawyer can present could include mental health issues, a history of abuse or neglect, extreme stress or anxiety, family conflict, lack of guidance as a child, and others.

Child Pornography Defense Lawyer Cape Girardeau, MO | Cape Girardeau, MO Criminal Defense Attorneys | Combs Waterkotte

Don’t Wait – Connect With a Cape Girardeau, MO Child Pornography Defense Lawyer Now at Combs Waterkotte

Child pornography charges are serious and can cast enduring, if not permanent, shadows on your reputation and future in Cape Girardeau, MO. But, as serious as they are, there are defenses available from the skilled and tenacious Combs Waterkotte legal team. Don’t try to navigate the uncertainties and complexities of the Cape Girardeau or Missouri legal system on your own.

We understand that good people often find themselves in unfortunate circumstances in Cape Girardeau and throughout Missouri. We are here to help. Call our accomplished Cape Girardeau, MO child pornography defense lawyers today at (314) 900-HELP or complete our online contact form to arrange a free, confidential consultation.

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