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What am I facing on a charge of possession of child pornography?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | child pornography |

In Maryland, the law distinguishes between possession of child pornography and the production or distribution of it, either physically or digitally. That second aspect of “digitally” is key to any modern-day analysis of our state’s child pornography laws.

In recent years, the evolution of computers and image processing software has forced State lawmakers to update the primary child pornography statute to now include any “computer-generated image that has been created, adapted, or modified to appear as an actual and identifiable child.” As a result, it is now illegal for a person to knowingly possess and intentionally retain any kind of visual representation showing a child under the age of 16 years—whether real or computer-generated— who is engaged as a subject of sadomasochistic abuse, engaged in sexual conduct, or in a state of sexual excitement.

The advent of video-streaming technology prompted another revision to the law. In the past, someone had to actually maintain a copy of a photo or video, either physical or digital, in a location or on a digital storage device that belonged to them. Nowadays, streaming technology has allowed for someone to watch video content without ever needing to maintain a long-term version of the video on their device.  Section 11-208(b)(2) of the Maryland Criminal Law article was added to address this specific situation. The language in this section expands the prohibition to include knowingly or intentionally accessing and viewing a visual representation of a child under the age of 16 years under the same circumstances described above.

So now that we know what’s prohibited, let’s discuss the penalties. First-time offenders convicted of possession are guilty of a misdemeanor and could face imprisonment not to exceed five years, a $2,500 fine, or both. If someone has broken this law before and is convicted on a subsequent charge of possession of child pornography, it becomes a felony and that penalty jumps up to 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

How can Maronick Law help?

If you think you may be facing a charge of possession of child pornography, the attorneys at Maronick Law stand ready and eager to help defend you.

In order to find you guilty, the prosecutor in your case would have to prove the various elements of possession of child pornography beyond a reasonable doubt, which equates to a level of certainty of roughly 98-99%. Anything less certain that that, and a judge or jury must find you not guilty. There is also a special defense that we could help you assert if you took reasonable steps to destroy each visual representation or if you reported the ported the matter to a law enforcement agency. It is also not a violation of the statute for a parent to have a visual representation of their own child in the nude, so long as they’re not engaged as a subject of sadomasochistic abuse or in a state of sexual conduct and in a state of sexual excitement. Our attorneys have the training, knowledge, and experience to understand the elements of a firearm charge that are ripe for attack and are fully prepared to represent you through trial.

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