Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography

Lawyer for Phoenix Residents Facing Sex Crime Charges

Child pornography is also known as sexual exploitation of a minor. These charges are pursued aggressively by Arizona prosecutors and punished harshly by courts. If you are being investigated for possession or distribution of child pornography, it is important to seek legal defense counsel. Child pornography is a serious internet sex crime, and you are likely facing felony charges. James E. Novak is an experienced Phoenix sex crime attorney who has previously served as a prosecutor on a wide variety of cases. He brings insights gained as a prosecuting attorney to his work in building strong defenses for his clients, and may be able to help you assess your options and defend your legal rights.

Child Pornography

There are three acts that can be the basis for a child pornography charges: recording, distributing, and possessing child pornography. Those who knowingly record, distribute, or possess pornography that depicts children can be found guilty. Serious penalties are associated with a child pornography conviction, including at least 10 years in prison for each violation and sex offender registration. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer will be able to evaluate the extent of the penalties you may be facing.

Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography

Child pornography or sexual exploitation of a minor occurs frequently in connection with internet and smartphone use. Under Arizona Revised Statute section 13-3553, you can be convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor involving possession and distribution if a prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you: (1) knowingly, (2) distributed, possessed, received, exhibited, transmitted, exchanged, (3) a visual depiction in which somebody underage is involved in exploitative exhibition or other sexual behavior.


Sentencing for possession and distribution of child pornography is strict. If you're convicted of possessing a single image in which the minor being exploited is less than 15-years-old, you will receive at least 10 years’ imprisonment as your sentence. Courts have interpreted that possession of each individual image of child pornography is a separate crime. This means every extra image can result in additional time — a consecutive sentence.

Charges involving minors who are 15-17 in age are class 2 felony charges. If this is your first offense, you can be sentenced anywhere from 3-12.5 years. However, if it's a second offense, you may face 4.5-23.25 years. A third or subsequent conviction can result in a sentence of 10.5-35 years’ imprisonment.

Dangerous Crimes Against Children

When the pornographic images include children who are 14 or younger, you may face even more serious penalties. If the images or videos involved in the charge contain children aged 14 years or younger and you are an adult, the crime will fall under A.R.S. section 13-705 regarding Dangerous Crimes Against Children. If you distribute or possess in violation of this statute, you'll need to register as a sex offender, pay fines and deal with long probation periods, as well as serve a long sentence. The lowest term of imprisonment possible if you are convicted of a dangerous crime against children that includes possessing or distributing child pornography is 10 years. The presumptive sentence is 17 years and you can face a maximum of 24 years. If you have one prior dangerous crime against children felony, you will face at least 21 years in prison and up to 35 years.

Consult a Sex Crime Defense Lawyer in Phoenix

If you are being investigated in connection with child pornography, you should not assume a conviction is certain, and you should retain experienced counsel as soon as possible. You may be able to attack the way that evidence of child pornography was obtained. You may be able to show that your possession or distribution was not knowing. In other cases, it may be possible to raise reasonable doubt about one or more elements of the charge. A plea bargain may be appropriate, or you may have a strong defense with which to go to trial. James E. Novak is a former prosecuting attorney who provides a strong defense to those accused of sex crimes in the Phoenix area, including in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.

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