West Chester Internet Crimes Lawyer
Internet sex crimes—also known as Cybersex crimes—can include minor crimes such as a 17-year old boy sexting his girlfriend with nude photographs, or a much more serious crime such as a child pornography distribution ring. Internet sex crimes can be tried by both State and Federal governments. Below are some of the most common types of Internet sex crimes:
· Video child pornography;
· Downloading images of child pornography for yourself (possession);
· Using the Internet for the solicitation of a minor;
· Using the Internet to distribute sexually explicit photographs to minors;
· Using the Internet to distribute sexually explicit photographs of minors;
· Using the Internet to traffic in child pornography;
· Sexual assault of a minor contacted online, or
· Sexting (usually by teens to one another);
You Could Face Extremely Harsh Punishments for Internet Sex Crimes
Because the punishments for a conviction of any type of sex crime, including Internet sex crimes, are extremely harsh, the moment you are aware you are under investigation, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney immediately. If you are being accused of an Internet sex crime, you could potentially face a mandatory five-year minimum prison sentence, as well as a lifetime requirement to register on the sex offender registry under Megan’s Law. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the Internet, it is possible for totally innocent people to be charged with an Internet crime or to get caught up in an Internet crime task force investigation.
You Could be “Set Up” by Undercover Law Enforcement or Marked Files
There are instances in which the Pennsylvania Wire Tap Act can be used to entrap those who are intending to travel for a sexual encounter with a minor, and it is much more common for the Cybercrime officers to go undercover, pretending they are minors, or that they are selling child pornography. In other instances, files can be “marked” by law enforcement, and, once downloaded, will trigger law enforcement to contact your ISP to track your location, even accessing your e-mail.
Statutes Pertaining to Online Child Pornography in the State of Pennsylvania
The primary Pennsylvania Statute which governs Internet sex crimes, is:
· Online Child Pornography—18 Pennsylvania Statutes, Section 6312, prohibits the intentional viewing or possessing a computer depiction of a minor under the age of 18, who is engaging in a sexual act. A first offense for viewing or possessing child pornography is a third-degree felony. If you are convicted of viewing or possessing online pornography, you could be sentenced to a fine of up to $15,000, and could serve up to seven years in prison. Sexting (discussed below) usually applies only to teens who send nude photographs of themselves or another teen via text or e-mail, however the charge of child pornography must include children engaging in a prohibited sexual act. Photographing child pornography, or causing a child to participate in child pornography will be charged as a second-degree felony. If you are convicted of this offense, you could face up to ten years in prison, and up to $25,000 in fines.
Sexting in the State of Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania’s current sexting law, it is a criminal offense for a person under the age of 18 to share or transmit any type of electronic communication which contains a naked photo of himself or herself, or of any other person who is older than 12 but younger than 18, or to possess a nude photo of another person between the ages of 12 and 17. Both the teen sending the photo as well as the teen receiving the photo can be charged, under Pennsylvania law, with the crime of sexting. If a teen texts or e-mails a photo of another naked teen with a goal of harassing or embarrassing that person, the punishments will be more severe. While rare, sexting could also be a crime under the federal PROTECT Act, but only if the photograph is of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Juvenile court is the preferred location for teen sexting cases. Teens who shares images of themselves could be convicted of a summary offense, which is punishable by up to three months in jail and a $300 fine. Those who share photographs of another nude teen could face a third-degree misdemeanor, and, if convicted could face up to one year in jail, and up to $2,500 in fines. If harassment is involved, a second-degree misdemeanor could be charged, and, if convicted, the teen could face up to two years in jail, and up to $5,000 in fines.
Sex Offender Registration
If you are convicted of an Internet child pornography crime, you could be required to register as a sex offender in the state of Pennsylvania. You could be classified as a Tier 1, 2, or 3 Level Offender, depending on your offense, and could be required to register as a sex offender for 15 years, 25 years, or for life. Teens convicted of sexting will not be required to register as a sex offender, and may be eligible to have their crime expunged if they meet all requirements.
Experienced Internet Sex Crime Attorney in West Chester
If you have been accused of any type of Internet sex crime it is vitally important that you contact a highly-experienced Pennsylvania sex crimes attorney as soon as possible. Not only could you face serious criminal penalties, you could be forced to register as a sex offender after you have served your time and paid your fines. This could prevent you from finding employment, obtaining a professional license, renting a home, owning a firearm, living in certain areas, working with children, or getting a government loan to go to college. Only a knowledgeable Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney can provide you with the legal advice you need, answer your questions, and protect your future.
The sex crimes defense attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices have successfully represented individuals throughout the state of Pennsylvania that have been accused of sexual assault crimes. Our Chester County based law firm is based at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380 and serves clients in Kennett Square, Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, , Chester Springs, Chadds Ford, Landenberg, Honey Brook, Oxford, Malvern, Parkesburg, Phoenixville and . Contact us now at (610) 692-8700 or call toll free (877) 529-2422. Don’t wait—contact an attorney immediately.