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Michigan Child Pornography Laws and Penalties
The State of Michigan calls child pornography Criminal Sexually Abusive Material or CSAM. Sexually abusive material depicts children under 18 years age when sexual acts are being performed.
The are 3 different categories of CSAM are possession, production, and distribution. Each category has a different degree of punishment and possible enhancement. There are a total of 6 different penalties allowable under the law MCL 750.145c.What Is Production?
Production is the most serious CSAM charge. It is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and carries a fine of up to a $100,000.00 fine. Production can be enhanced to become a 25-year felony.
The production of any material, which includes photographs, videos, digital depictions of sexually explicit images of children engaging in sexual activity is a violation of both State and Federal law. In fact, it is possible to be charged with both State and Federal crimes. We've handled situations for example where the production of child porn was prosecuted in a United States Federal Court whereas the possession of child pornography was prosecuted in the State Court.What If the Age of the Person Depicted in the Material Is Unknown?
Child pornography requires a depiction of a minor under the age of 18. Michigan sex crime law requires that you "know or should know" the material depicts and under-age person. This "knowing" is based upon a reasonable person standard. The law requires that if you didn't take necessary and reasonable steps to determine the age. This age requirement should not be confused with the age of consent in Michigan.What Is Distribution of Child Pornography?
Distribution of child sexual abuse images involving a minor under 18 years is a 7-year felony and up to $50,000.00 fine. Enhancement increases this to a 15-year felony, and $75,000 fine. The legal distinction from Production is that Distribution offenses is that the content is not being individually produced or financed, but it is being promoted to distribute or provided access to others.What If I did Not Intend to Distribute Child Pornography?
Lack of intent is a difficult defense and requires you to show that you precluded the ability of others to obtain the subject child pornographic material. The prosecutor will argue that you failed to take active measures to avoid depictions of minor sex acts from being distributed. This is especially true if peer-to-peer software apps were utilized, such as BitTorrent.What Is Possession?
Possession of CSAM is a 4-year felony offense and up to a $10,000.00 fine. If it is aggravated, it is a 10-year felony and up to a $50,000.00.
The law of possession is not limited only to physical possession of the material. It can also include those who knowingly sought out such material and again that the person should reasonably know what they were accessing.What Is Aggravated Enhancement?
Aggravated is a term that means the enhancement of the penalties according to law. For example, these enhanced penalties apply to cases where the material or images include prepubescent depictions.
Prepubescent refers to an image or depiction of child prior to puberty. It can also include sadomasochistic abuse or bestiality. The most common grounds for the aggravated enhancement occur when there are more than 100 images found or a single video.How Do Police Investigate Child Porn?
There are many ways you can become a target of law enforcement. Once they have enough evidence, they may obtain a warrant to search your home and all digital devices including your phone.
Other scenarios can include finding this material during routine computer maintenance. Also, it can be retrieved from a cell phone where files were originally located and images flagged through social media from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Possession. Charges can be issued and prosecuted even if the material itself is no longer available but consistent with accessing or obtaining the material. This is most often done through a forensic analysis and finding key or common search terms in a person’s internet search history.Hiring a Michigan Child Pornography Lawyer
It is essential to have representation a as soon as you learn that you are or might be the subject of a sex crimes investigation, meaning throughout this pre-charge process and beyond. If you think you might be charged with child pornography, it may be in your best interest to hire a sex crimes lawyer from the Barone Defense Firm to represent you. We offer initial consultations free of charge and our phones are answered 24/7.