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St. Joseph, MO

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Posted by Christopher Combs on February 23, 2024

Child pornography defense lawyer in St. Joseph, 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 St. Joseph, 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 reach out to us online for a free, no-obligation consultation. 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 St. Joseph, MO?

While there might be prevalent stereotypes, child pornography charges come up in all walks of life in and around St. Joseph, 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 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 of age.

A few specific instances of child pornography charges in the St. Joseph, 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 St. Joseph, MO – call Combs Waterkotte right away 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 St. Joseph, MO | St. Joseph, MO Criminal Defense | Combs Waterkotte

What Are the Penalties for Child Pornography in St. Joseph, 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 St. Joseph, MO if any of the following conditions apply:

  • Possess over 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 in the form 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 and Around St. Joseph, MO

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

  • 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.
  • If you have had a previous child pornography conviction, wholesale promotion of child porn, or promoting child porn to a minor in Missouri, it’s a class D felony and could mean 4 years in prison and fines.

Legal Ramifications for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor in the St. Joseph, 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 are elevated to a class A felony, which carries a minimum prison sentence of 10 years with a maximum of life imprisonment.

Who Has to Register as a Sex Offender in St. Joseph, 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 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 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: Individuals in this tier 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 Failing to Register as a Sex Offender in St. Joseph and Throughout Missouri

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 is elevated to a class D felony.

Combs Waterkotte is an award-winning criminal defense law firm based in St. Louis. Along with expert legal representation from our skilled St. Joseph, MO child pornography attorneys, we provide assistance in the following areas for clients in St. Joseph, MO:

Child Pornography Defense Lawyer St. Joseph, MO | Criminal Defense Law Firm in St. Joseph, MO | Combs Waterkotte

What Are Common Defenses Against Child Pornography Charges in St. Joseph, MO?

The Combs Waterkotte skilled St. Joseph, MO child pornography defense team boasts a collective experience of more than 60 years, dedicated to defending clients across the St. Joseph, MO area in cases similar to 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. 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 St. Joseph, MO could also be considered.

Your knowledgeable Combs Waterkotte defense lawyer will work to establish that you were not aware of possessing child porn. Call us today at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online.

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 St. Joseph and Missouri have files on their computers that they are unaware of. An accidental possession defense argues that you did not knowingly possess child pornography, emphasizing the unintentional nature of its presence on your device.

A “Not Child Porn” Defense

This defense challenges the prosecution’s burden to prove that the subject of the material in question was under 18 years of age. 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 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 St. Joseph, MO. If evidence was seized illegally, your St. Joseph, MO child pornography defense lawyer will argue its inadmissibility.

Entrapment

Entrapment can manifest in various situations throughout the St. Joseph, MO area. 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 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. Your Combs Waterkotte St. Joseph, MO defense attorney may present a variety of mitigating factors, such as 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 St. Joseph, MO | St. Joseph, MO Criminal Defense Attorneys | Combs Waterkotte

Don’t Wait – Contact a St. Joseph, MO Child Pornography Defense Lawyer Now at Combs Waterkotte

Child pornography charges are serious and can have lasting, if not permanent, implications on your reputation and future in St. Joseph, 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 St. Joseph or Missouri legal system alone.

We understand that good people often find themselves caught in unfortunate circumstances in St. Joseph and throughout Missouri. We’re here to help. Call our expert St. Joseph, MO child pornography defense lawyers today at (314) 900-HELP or fill out our online contact form to arrange a free, confidential case review.

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