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Clay County, MO

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Posted by Christopher Combs on February 23, 2024

Child pornography defense lawyer in Clay County, MO. Confronting accusations or charges related to the possession or distribution of child pornography poses a significant risk to your personal and professional standing. If you find your accused of possessing or distributing child pornography in Clay County, 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 scenario.

Reach out to the criminal defense attorneys at Combs Waterkotte as soon as possible by calling (314) 900-HELP or contacting us online to schedule a complimentary, no-strings-attached consultation. Our skilled child pornography defense lawyer is ready to meet with you personally, analyze the details of your case, and offer insights on the appropriate course of action.

What Can Lead to Child Pornography Charges in Clay County, MO?

While there might be many stereotypes, child pornography charges come up in all walks of life in and around Clay County, 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 featuring a minor less than 18 years old or obscene material portraying what seems to be a minor below 18 years of age.

A few specific instances of child pornography charges in Clay County and elsewhere in Missouri are:

  • Possessing Child Pornography: The act of having child porn in one’s possession, irrespective of the quantity or form – digital, physical, etc.
  • Promoting Child Pornography: Involves distributing or selling child pornography to an adult, or promoting adult pornography to a minor.
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor: Filming, photographing, or being involved in any aspect of the creation process of child pornography.

If you are facing charges or have been questioned regarding any of these examples – or any other child pornography charges in Clay County, MO – call Combs Waterkotte right away 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 Clay County, MO | Clay County, MO Criminal Defense | Combs Waterkotte

What Are the Legal Ramifications for Child Pornography in Clay County, MO?

From a statutory perspective, as outlined in RSMo § 573.037, the offense of child pornography is considered a class D felony when possessing just one still image of child pornography or one still image considered obscene. The severity of the offense escalates to a class B felony in Clay County, MO if any of the following conditions are met:

  • Possess over 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
  • Have previously been found guilty of an offense under this section

Legal Ramifications for Promotion of Child Pornography in and Around Clay County, MO

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

  • If you knowingly promote child porn to a minor, or promote obscene material of a child under 14 years of age, you could be facing a class B felony – punishable by 5-15 years imprisonment.
  • Individuals 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 Clay County, MO Area

If you are facing sexploitation charges, you are facing a class B felony. However, if the child involved was under 14 years of age 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 Clay County, MO and Throughout Missouri?

According to RSMo § 589.400, any individual charged with the following crimes is required 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. Those include:

  • Tier I Offenders: These individuals 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 more for misdemeanor sexual offenses or minor statutory offenses.
  • Tier II Offenders: These have 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. These offenses include violent acts such as rape, child molestation, sexual assault, as well as repeat offenses.

Penalties for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender in Clay County and Throughout Missouri

Failure to register as a sex offender is considered a class E felony unless the individual is required to register after being charged with an offense in chapter 566 which was 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 an award-winning criminal defense law firm based in St. Louis. In addition to expert legal representation from our skilled Clay County, MO child pornography attorneys, we provide assistance in the following areas for clients in Clay County and anywhere in Missouri:

Child Pornography Defense Lawyer Clay County, MO | Criminal Defense Law Firm in Clay County, MO | Combs Waterkotte

What Are Common Defenses Against Child Pornography Charges in Clay County, MO?

The Combs Waterkotte skilled Clay County, MO child pornography defense team has a combined 60-plus years of experience defending clients throughout Clay County, 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

Also known as “unintended possession,” this defense argues that you did not intend to possess child pornography in or around Clay County, MO, or that the material did not belong to you. You also may not have even been aware of the existence of child porn. This may be used if child porn was discovered on a computer or hard drive that is shared, or to which individuals other than you may have had access without your knowledge. You also could have used an unsecured or shared network which enabled another individual to download child porn. An angry co-worker, employee, friend, ex-spouse, or other revengeful individual may be motivated to download child porn on your computer or hard drive in order to frame you in Clay County, MO.

Your knowledgeable 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.

Accidental Possession Defense

The internet poses various threats, and your computer may be exposed to viruses, spyware, malware, spam, or other elements without your knowledge. These intrusions could include child pornography or other obscene materials. Many individuals throughout Clay County and Missouri have files on their computers that they are in the dark about. An accidental possession defense argues that you did not knowingly possess child pornography, emphasizing the unintentional nature of its presence on your device.

“Not Child Porn” Defense

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

Illegal Search and Seizure

Law enforcement often makes procedural errors violating an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights under the Constitution. The Combs Waterkotte defense team is vigilant in protecting your rights, future, and best interests. Law enforcement can occasionally push the limits on getting a warrant or may search beyond the scope of said warrant. If evidence against you was seized illegally, your child pornography defense lawyer will argue it is inadmissible.

Entrapment

Entrapment can manifest in various circumstances throughout the Clay County, MO area. The defense is rooted in the fact that you would not have committed the offense if law enforcement hadn’t initiated contact with you and persuaded you to do so. In some cases, officers may induce individuals to purchase content that 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 numerous individuals, 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 minimize your sentence or, in some cases, avoid imprisonment through participation in a treatment program and probation. Some mitigating factors your Combs Waterkotte Clay County, 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 more.

Child Pornography Defense Lawyer Clay County, MO | Clay County, MO Criminal Defense Attorneys | Combs Waterkotte

Don’t Hesitate – Reach Out to a Clay County, MO Child Pornography Defense Lawyer Right Now at Combs Waterkotte

Child pornography charges are gravely serious and can cast enduring, if not permanent, shadows on your reputation and future in Clay County, MO. But, as serious as they are, there are defenses available from the skilled and tenacious Combs Waterkotte legal team. Attempting to navigate the uncertainties and intricacies of the legal system in Clay County or Missouri along is risky.

We know that good people often find themselves caught in unfortunate circumstances in Clay County and throughout Missouri. We are here to help. Call our expert Clay County, MO child pornography defense lawyers right away at (314) 900-HELP or complete our online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

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