Is it Possible to Avoid Jail on a Child Pornography Charge in Michigan?
Michigan’s criminal charges involving child pornography are rigorously enforced and harshly punished. For this reason, avoiding jail time on a child pornography (or, Child Sexually Abusive Material (CSAM), in Michigan) case can be extremely difficult.
This is true whether the case involves possession, distribution or production of material that includes a child engaging in a sex act of some kind. If you want to avoid jail time for a CSAM charge, then it is important to hire an experienced CSAM child pornography lawyer.
Michigan’s Law Regarding CSAM are Complex
The law governing child sexually abusive activity and material is found at MCL 750.145c. The law, in subsection 2, indicates that it is unlawful to produce CSAM material, to conspire to produce such material or to finance the production of such material.
These charges require the prosecutor to prove that you allowed or encouraged a child to engage in a child sexually abusive activity for purposes of producing child sexually abusive material. The statute uses other words for this encouragement, such as “entice” or “coerce.”
It is not an excuse to claim you did not know the age of the child unless you can show that you took “reasonable precautions to determine the age of the child.” A child is defined as a person less than 18 years of age.
People found guilty of production crimes can be sentenced to as much as 20 years in prison, or in the worst cases, 25 years in prison. This would include material that involves sexual acts with animals or when large volumes of images are produced.
This same statute also makes it unlawful to distribute CSAM someone else produced. Simply being in possession of child pornography is also a crime, even if you did not produce or distribute this material.
Michigan’s Child Pornography Laws are Difficult to Defend.
Many CSAM cases in Michigan, whether charged by state or federal law enforcement, are sting operations. Detectives plant child pornography on file sharing sites or messaging apps and wait for someone to download an image.
Detectives then trace the IP address of the person who downloaded the child pornography and find the person behind that IP address. These cases become difficult because the evidence showing guilt can be straightforward.
Another example of how CSAM cases can be very difficult to defend is when the police receive a complaint that someone possesses child pornography. That complaint could provide probable cause to get a warrant to seize and search one’s electronic devices.
Law enforcement would then execute the warrant without warning and the child pornography is still on the person’s devices when detectives search the phones, computers, and memory sticks.
CSAM Cases Can be Won, and Jail Can be Avoided
However, this does not mean child pornography cases in Michigan are indefensible. Much to the contrary. These examples show the extreme need of an experienced child pornography attorney for people who are facing Michigan CSAM charges or federal child pornography charges.
Sample Case Won by the Sex Crimes Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm
The Barone Defense Firm recently completed representation of a child pornography case in Michigan in which our client was caught “red handed” with a phone that was used to take a picture of someone in a public bathroom and that had child sexually abusive material on it.
The client was charged with three crimes altogether: capturing an image of an unclothed person, a five-year felony; possession of child sexually abusive material, a four-year felony; and surveilling an unclothed person, a two-year felony. These charges eventually made it to one of the toughest judges for sentencing in Oakland County, which made the potential consequences even scarier for the client.
The sex crimes attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm were hired in this case after the incident, after devices had been voluntarily given to police by the client, after the client had already made statements to the police, but before charges were filed. Although the Firm did not have an opportunity to prevent the client from making incriminating statements, the Barone attorney the family hired, Patrick Barone, was able to spend as much time as possible preparing for charges.
Preparation in this case included large amounts of time getting to know the client, who was on the Autism spectrum, and his family. Mr. Barone spent many hours with the family getting to know them on a personal level. Mr. Barone also referred the client to a well-known clinical psychologist for a psychosexual evaluation and follow-up treatment. This personal, proactive approach would have a profound effect on the result of the case.
After a full review of the evidence once the case was filed, it was determined that defenses did not exist in this case. Also, all warrants and evidence were properly obtained. Therefore, Mr. Barone turned to plea negotiations and leveraging the personal and proactive factors in the case to try to avoid jail time. Mr. Barone was ultimately able to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the surveilling an unclothed person felony charge. This avoided the most serious charge in terms of potential jail time. However, sentencing guidelines on the two remaining felonies provided for 0-17 years in jail.
Because the potential sentence was still so high, Mr. Barone went to work on sentence mitigation. He filed an extensive, detailed, and highly personalized sentencing memorandum emphasizing the proactive and personal elements of our relatively young client’s life. Mr. Barone thoroughly prepared his client on how to express to the court his remorse and the changes that had occurred in his life during the nearly one-year period during which his case was pending.
Mr. Barone requested from the court a sentence of probation with HYTA and no SORA registration, and it was granted. If the client completes probation, he will not have a public criminal record and will not have to register as a sex offender.
Hiring a Sex Crimes CSAM Lawyer in Michigan
This case provides yet another example of when people invest in experienced and caring representation for their seemingly hopeless case, good results can be achieved with the help of the child pornography attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm.
The CSAM lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm offer free no obligation consultations. Contact us today. Phones are answered 24/7.