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St. Louis County, MO

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Posted by Christopher Combs on February 23, 2024

Child pornography defense lawyer in St. Louis County, 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 St. Louis 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 situation.

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 St. Louis County, MO?

While there might be prevalent stereotypes, child pornography charges come up in all walks of life in and around St. Louis 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 such person knowingly or recklessly possesses any child pornography featuring a minor under 18 years of age or obscene material portraying what appears to be a minor under 18 years old.

A few examples of specific child pornography charges in the St. Louis County, MO area 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: Encompasses filming, photographing, or being involved in any aspect of the creation process of child pornography.

If you’re confronted with charges related to any of these instances or other child pornography charges, it is imperative to contact Combs Waterkotte right now at (314) 900-HELP or reach out to us online. Having an experienced advocate by your side is crucial to safeguarding your reputation, rights, and future.

Child Pornography Defense Lawyer in St. Louis County, MO | St. Louis County, MO Criminal Defense | Combs Waterkotte

What Are the Penalties for Child Pornography in St. Louis 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 St. Louis County, MO if any of the following conditions are met:

  • 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 in the form of one motion picture, film, videotape, videotape production, or other moving image
  • Prior conviction for an offense under this section

Legal Ramifications for Promotion of Child Pornography in and Around St. Louis County, 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:

  • 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, leading to imprisonment for a duration of 5-15 years.
  • If you have had a previous child pornography conviction, wholesale promotion of child porn, or promoting child porn to a minor in Missouri, it is a class D felony and could mean 4 years in prison and fines.

Legal Ramifications for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor in the St. Louis 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 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. Louis County, MO and Throughout Missouri?

According to 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 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 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. These offenses 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 Failing to Register as a Sex Offender in St. Louis 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 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. In addition to expert legal representation from our skilled St. Louis County, MO child pornography attorneys, we provide assistance in the following areas for clients in St. Louis County and anywhere in Missouri:

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

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

The Combs Waterkotte skilled St. Louis County, MO child pornography defense team boasts a collective experience of over 60 years, dedicated to defending clients in St. Louis County, MO in cases similar to yours. While each case presents its own unique circumstances, our attorneys employ various defense strategies, including:

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 St. Louis County, MO could also be considered.

Your knowledgeable Combs Waterkotte defense attorney will work to establish that you were not aware of possessing child porn. Call us right away at (314) 900-HELP or contact 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 St. Louis County and throughout Missouri, have numerous files on your computer you didn’t even know existed.

“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. 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 is vigilant in safeguarding your rights, future, and best interests. If evidence was seized illegally, your St. Louis County, MO child pornography defense lawyer will argue its inadmissibility.

Entrapment

Entrapment can occur in a variety of scenarios throughout Missouri. 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 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 know – particularly when law enforcement runs a child porn sting operation which may round up multiple 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 via a treatment program and probation. Some mitigating factors your Combs Waterkotte St. Louis 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 others.

Child Pornography Defense Lawyer St. Louis County, MO | St. Louis County, MO Criminal Defense Attorneys | Combs Waterkotte

Don’t Wait – Connect With a St. Louis County, MO Child Pornography Defense Lawyer Now at Combs Waterkotte

Child pornography charges are gravely serious and can cast enduring, if not permanent, shadows on your reputation and future in St. Louis County, 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 try to navigate the uncertainties and complexities of the St. Louis County or Missouri legal system on your own.

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

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