434 Fayetteville St #2030
Raleigh, NC 27601

Federal Child Pornography Charges

A significant majority of child pornography is sent, received, and viewed through the internet, and the sharing of such images often crosses state lines, implicating the federal government—and thus violating 18 U.S.C. § 2251. Federal child pornography offenses are much more serious than state charges not only because of the significantly enhanced penalties, but also because federal agencies have far greater resources with which to conduct investigations and prosecute alleged offenders.

It is absolutely critical for people to immediately seek legal representation as soon they think they are being investigated for an alleged federal child pornography crime. Certain offenses carry mandatory minimums that federal judges may not be able to depart from, making it of the utmost importance for alleged offenders to ensure that all of the right legal steps are taken as soon as possible.

Attorney for Federal Child Pornography Charges in Raleigh, NC

Do you think you might be under investigation or were you already charged in the Research Triangle with a federal child pornography offense? You should immediately contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Coolidge Law Firm for help achieving the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties.

Raleigh criminal defense lawyer David Coolidge represents clients accused of sex crimes in Raleigh, Wendell, Wake Forest, Zebulon, Rolesville, Morrisville, and many surrounding areas of Wake County as well as students at William Peace University, North Carolina State University (NCSU), Meredith College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and many other local colleges.

Call (919) 239-8448 now to have our attorney provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


North Carolina Federal Child Pornography Charges Information Center


Back to top

Types of Federal Child Pornography Charges in Wake County

Child pornography is defined under Title 18 U.S.C. § 2256(8) as "any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where"

Specific federal crimes involving child pornography include the following:

Obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, 18 U.S. Code § 1466A

If an alleged offender knowingly produces, distributes, receives, or possesses with intent to distribute, a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene; or depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value; or attempts or conspires to do so, a conviction is punishable as follows:

If an alleged offender knowingly possesses a visual depiction of any of the aforementioned kinds, a conviction is punishable as follows:

Sexual exploitation of children, 18 U.S. Code § 2251
If an alleged offender employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any minor to engage in, or has a minor assist any other person to engage in, or transports any minor in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, with the intent that such minor engage in, any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct or for the purpose of transmitting a live visual depiction of such conduct, a conviction is punishable as follows:

The same penalties apply to any parent, legal guardian, or person having custody or control of a minor who knowingly permits such minor to engage in, or to assist any other person to engage in, sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct or for the purpose of transmitting a live visual depiction of such conduct.

Selling or buying of children, 18 U.S. Code § 2251A

If any parent, legal guardian, or other person having custody or control of a minor who sells or otherwise transfers custody or control of such minor, or offers to sell or otherwise transfer custody of such minor either with knowledge that, as a consequence of the sale or transfer, the minor will be portrayed in a visual depiction engaging in, or assisting another person to engage in, sexually explicit conduct; or with intent to promote either the engaging in of sexually explicit conduct by such minor for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct; or the rendering of assistance by the minor to any other person to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct, a conviction is punishable as follows:

Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors, 18 U.S. Code § 2252

If an alleged offender knowingly transports, ships, receives, distributes, sells, or possesses with intent to sell any visual depiction involving the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, a conviction is punishable as follows:

An alleged offender can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and/or ordered to pay a fine of up to $250,000 for a first offense involving knowingly possessing or accessing any material containing a visual depiction involving the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Any offense involving a prepubescent minor who had not yet attained 12 years of age is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000. Subsequent offenses are punishable by a minimum of 10 years up to 20 years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000.

Certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography, 18 U.S. Code § 2252A

If an alleged offender knowingly mails, transports, ships, receives, distributes, reproduces, advertises, promotes, presents, distributes, solicits, sells, or possesses with intent to sell child pornography, a conviction is punishable as follows:

An alleged offender can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and/or ordered to pay a fine of up to $250,000 for a first offense involving knowingly possessing or accessing any material containing child pornography. Any offense involving a prepubescent minor who had not yet attained 12 years of age is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000. Subsequent offenses are punishable by a minimum of 10 years up to 20 years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000.


Back to top

Federal Prosecution of Child Pornography Offenses in Raleigh

Many federal child pornography cases are the result of undercover investigations in which law enforcement officers will log into file-sharing or peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and use sophisticated computer programs to search for incriminating files. Law enforcement is often able to identify child pornography information such as the identity of the individual who uploaded the file and all people who downloaded it.

In order for a federal prosecutor to charge an alleged offender with a child pornography offense, he or she will first need to obtain an indictment. Federal indictments can only be issued by grand juries, who are presented evidence by prosecutors and vote to return "true bills" when the evidence establishes probable cause—or proof that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the alleged offender committed the crime in question.

After an indictment has been issued in a federal child pornography case, a warrant will usually be issued authorizing authorities to search the home of the alleged offender. When a warrant has been issued, the alleged offender should say absolutely nothing to authorities without legal counsel.

Numerous defenses may be raised against child pornography charges, but it is important to retain an attorney as soon as possible in order to present such defenses at the most advantageous times. Examples of successful defenses against child pornography charges include illegal search and seizure, alleged minors not actually being minors, or simple lack of evidence.

If you have been charged child pornography type charges by a state law enforcement agency such as the Raleigh Police Department or Cary Police department, you may still face a federal indictment. You need to hire an attorney who has experience at both the state AND federal level. There are times when an experienced attorney can prevent your case from moving to the federal system or put you in a more advantageous position by contacting the federal prosecutor before federal indictment. Do not delay!


Back to top

Federal Child Pornography Charge Resources in North Carolina

2012 Report to the Congress: Continuing Impact of United States v. Booker on Federal SentencingUnited States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005) was a United States Supreme Court decision in which the Court struck down the provision of the federal sentencing statute that required federal district judges to impose sentences within the Federal Guidelines range as well as the provision that deprived federal appeals courts of the power to review sentences imposed outside the Guidelines range. Visit this website to view an interactive online version of the report submitted by the United States Sentencing Commission to Congress on the impact of the Booker decision on federal sentencing "in order to assist Congress in its efforts to ensure certain and fair sentencing that avoids unwarranted sentencing disparities while maintaining sufficient flexibility, as envisioned in the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (“SRA”)." The report covers appellate review, statistical analysis of federal sentencing data, and demographic differences in sentencing.

2012 Report to the Congress: Federal Child Pornography Offenses — Visit this website to access the full report in which the United States Sentencing Commission examined cases of offenders sentenced under the federal sentencing guidelines and corresponding penal statutes concerning child pornography offenses. "The Commission believes that the current non-production guideline warrants revision in view of its outdated and disproportionate enhancements related to offenders’ collecting behavior as well as its failure to account fully for some offenders’ involvement in child pornography communities and sexually dangerous behavior," the report concludes. "The current guideline produces overly severe sentencing ranges for some offenders, unduly lenient ranges for other offenders, and widespread inconsistent application."


Back to top

The Coolidge Law Firm | Raleigh Federal Child Pornography Charges Defense Lawyer

If you were arrested or believe that you could be under investigation for a federal child pornography offense in the Research Triangle, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Coolidge Law Firm assists people in communities throughout Wake County, such as Knightdale, Cary, Garner, Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, and many others.

David Coolidge is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh who also helps students at such local institutions of higher learning as Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech), Duke University, Shaw University, and many others. You can have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (919) 239-8448 or complete an online contact form to receive a free, confidential consultation.



Back to top

Pay Online
credit cards icons Click to Hire Us Now
Our Office Location
office building
Coolidge Law Firm
BB&T Building
434 Fayetteville St.
Suite 2030
Raleigh, NC 27601
Map ยท Directions
Explore Our Website
Our Attorney and Staff
David Coolidge
David A. Coolidge
is heading up our team as criminal defense attorney and graduate at the top of his class from Duke University School of Law ...
Read More
Brent Blakesley
Brent Blakesley
manages the daily operations at Coolidge Law Firm. Brent graduated from Duke University in 2008 with a BA in Computer Science, BA in Linguistics ...
Read More