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Festus, MO

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Posted by Christopher Combs on February 23, 2024

Child pornography defense lawyer in Festus, MO. Confronting accusations or charges related to the possession or distribution of child pornography poses a significant risk to your personal and professional reputation. If you find your accused of possessing or distributing child pornography in Festus, MO, you may be looking at serious felony charges and mandatory Missouri sex offender registration upon conviction. It is crucial not to leave your defense to chance in such a critical scenario.

Reach out to the criminal defense attorneys at Combs Waterkotte immediately by calling (314) 900-HELP or contacting us online to schedule a complimentary, no-strings-attached case review. 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 Festus, MO?

While there might be prevalent stereotypes, child pornography charges come about in all walks of life throughout the Festus, MO area. 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, a person commits the offense of child pornography if such person knowingly or recklessly possesses any child pornography of a minor below 18 years old or obscene material portraying what seems to be a minor less than 18 years of age.

A few specific instances of child pornography charges in Festus and across the state of 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: Distributing or selling child pornography to an adult, or promoting adult pornography to a minor.
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor: Filming, photographing, or participating 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 Festus, MO – call Combs Waterkotte now at (314) 900-HELP or reach out to us online. You need an knowledgeable advocate on your side to protect your reputation, rights, and future.

Child Pornography Defense Lawyer in Festus, MO | Festus, MO Criminal Defense | Combs Waterkotte

What Are the Penalties for Child Pornography in Festus, 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 Festus, MO if you:

  • Possess over 20 still images of child pornography
  • Possess more than 20 obscene still images
  • Possess child pornography in the form 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 Festus, MO

The promotion of child pornography to an adult is a class C felony, carrying potential penalties of up to 7 years in prison and fines. Also:

  • 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 – punishable by 5-15 years imprisonment.
  • Festus, 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.

Penalties for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor in the Festus, 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 of age the charges are elevated to a class A felony, carrying a minimum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Mandatory Sex Offender Registration in Festus, 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 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: Individuals in this tier 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 Not Registering as a Sex Offender in Festus, MO

Failure to register as a sex offender is a class E felony unless the individual is 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 the age of 14, in which case it turns into 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 Festus, MO child pornography lawyers, we provide help in the following practice areas for clients in Festus and anywhere in Missouri:

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

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

The Combs Waterkotte skilled Festus, MO child pornography defense team boasts a collective experience of over 60 years, dedicated to defending clients across the Festus, MO area in cases similar to yours. While every case is different with unique circumstances, some defense strategies our lawyers have used include:

Unintentional Possession Defense

Also known as “unintended possession,” this defense argues that you did not intend to possess child pornography in or around Festus, MO, or that the material did not belong to you. It could 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 Festus, MO could also be considered.

Your knowledgeable Combs Waterkotte defense lawyer can establish the most important factor – that you didn’t possess child pornography to your knowledge. Call us now at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online.

An Accidental Possession Defense

The internet poses various threats, and your computer is susceptible to viruses, spyware, malware, spam, or other elements without your knowledge. These intrusions could include child pornography or other obscene materials. Many individuals throughout Festus 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. If the material serves a scientific, religious, or educational purpose, it may be argued that it should not be classified as child pornography.

Illegal Search and Seizure

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

Entrapment

Entrapment can occur in a variety of circumstances 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. In some cases, officers may 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 numerous people, not all of whom are guilty.

Psychological Addiction/Mitigating Circumstances

While it isn’t necessarily a winning defense, claiming a psychological addiction to child pornography is a possible means to minimize your sentence or, in some cases, avoid imprisonment via a treatment program and probation. Some mitigating factors your Combs Waterkotte Festus, 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 Festus, MO | Festus, MO Criminal Defense Attorneys | Combs Waterkotte

Don’t Hesitate – Contact a Festus, MO Child Pornography Defense Lawyer Right Away at Combs Waterkotte

Child pornography charges are gravely serious and can cast enduring, if not permanent, shadows on your reputation and future in Festus, MO. However, even in the face of such severity, there exist defenses that can wield effectively by the adept and relentless Combs Waterkotte legal team. Don’t risk navigating the uncertainties and complexities of the Festus or Missouri legal system on your own.

We know that good people often find themselves caught in bad situations in Festus and throughout Missouri. We are here to help. Call our expert Festus, MO child pornography defense lawyers as soon as possible at (314) 900-HELP or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free, confidential case review.

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