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Howell County, MO

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Posted by Christopher Combs on February 23, 2024

Child pornography defense lawyer in Howell 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’re facing charges for possessing or distributing child pornography in Howell County, MO, you may be confronted with 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.

Call the criminal defense attorneys at Combs Waterkotte immediately at (314) 900-HELP or contact 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 Howell County, MO?

While there might be prevalent stereotypes, child pornography charges come up in all walks of life throughout the Howell County, 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 of age as a participant or portrayed observer of the material.

As per RSMo § 573.037, a person commits the offense of child pornography if such person knowingly or recklessly possesses any child pornography of a minor less than 18 years of age or obscene material portraying what appears to be a minor below 18 years old.

A few examples of specific child pornography charges in Howell County and across the state of Missouri are:

  • Possessing Child Pornography: Having child pornography in your possession, regardless 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: Encompasses 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 the Howell County, MO area – 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, your rights, and your future.

Child Pornography Defense Lawyer in Howell County, MO | Howell County, MO Criminal Defense | Combs Waterkotte

What Are the Legal Ramifications for Child Pornography in Howell County, 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 Howell County, MO if you:

  • Possess more than 20 still images of child pornography
  • Possess more than 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

Penalties for Promotion of Child Pornography in Howell County, 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.
  • 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 Howell County, MO Area

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

Mandatory Sex Offender Registration in Howell 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 classifies 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 more 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 Howell County and Throughout Missouri

Failure to register as a sex offender is 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. In addition to expert legal representation from our skilled Howell County, MO child pornography attorneys, we provide help in the following practice areas for clients in Howell County and anywhere in Missouri:

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

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

The Combs Waterkotte skilled Howell County, MO child pornography defense team has a combined 60-plus years of experience defending clients throughout Howell County, MO in cases just like yours. While each case presents its own unique circumstances, our attorneys employ a variety of defense strategies, including:

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 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 Howell County, MO.

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

Accidental Possession Defense

The internet can be a treacherous environment. Your computer is continuously subjected 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 Howell County 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 material in question involves any individual under the age of 18. Also, 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 may make procedural errors, violating an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights under the Constitution. The defense team at Combs Waterkotte is vigilant in safeguarding your rights, future, and best interests. 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 manifest in various situations throughout Missouri. This defense asserts that you would not have committed the offense if law enforcement hadn’t contacted 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 happens more often 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 it isn’t necessarily a winning defense, claiming a psychological addiction to child pornography is a possible means to reduce your sentence or, in some cases, avoid imprisonment through participation in a treatment program and probation. Some mitigating factors your Combs Waterkotte Howell 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 Howell County, MO | Howell County, MO Criminal Defense Attorneys | Combs Waterkotte

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

Child pornography charges are gravely serious and can have lasting, if not permanent, implications on your reputation and future in Howell 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 Howell County or Missouri along is ill-advised.

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

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