Definition and Aspects of Child Pornography:
Under California Penal Code 311 (PC 311), it is against the law to possess, share, send, duplicate, print, transport, or advertise pornography that includes a minor participating in it. Child Pornography (PC 311) is a wobbler offense, which means it could be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted, it can result in severe fines, jail, or prison time, as well as other life-long consequences.
California’s Child Pornography laws are broken down into multiple sections:
California Penal Code 311.1 (PC 311.1) refers to knowingly possessing, duplicating, sending, producing, or transporting any child pornography.
Under California Penal Code 311.3 (PC 311.3), developing, printing, exchanging, or duplicating pornographic materials that include a minor is against the law.
Hiring, employing, or persuading a minor into participating in pornography is a violation of California Penal Code 311.4 (PC 311.4).
The action of advertising child porn or its sale is illegal under California Penal Code 311.10 (PC 311.10).
Lastly, California Penal Code 311.11 (PC 311.11) refers to possessing or controlling any pornography that includes a minor.
A minor is lawfully defined as a person under the age of 18.
Pornographic material is described as any material that shows explicit content or a depiction of sexual conduct by a minor. These materials could be films, videos, or simply photographs. For California Penal Code 311 (PC 311), sexual conduct includes intercourse, oral copulation, masturbation, or anal intercourse.
For a Defendant to be guilty of violating Child Pornography (PC 311) laws, he/she has to be aware that he/she was possessing, transporting, etc., explicit materials, as well as the fact that the participant was a minor.
Lastly, obscene materials that fall under this statute would be considered offensive or inappropriate by a reasonable person. This means the material lacked artistic, political, literary, or scientific value and was created out of prurient interest. If the material could be considered art or was a form of education, it would not be a violation of California Penal Code 311 (PC 311).
Criminal Offenses Related to Child Pornography:
Similar or related offenses to California Penal Code 311 (PC 311), Child Pornography:
- Statutory Rape – California Penal Code 261.5 (PC 261.5)
- Oral Copulation – California Penal Code 287 (PC 287)
- Lewd Acts – California Penal Code 288 (PC 288)
- Harmful Matter Sent to Seduce a Minor – California Penal Code 288.2 (PC 288.2)
Examples of Child Pornography:
A man buys multiple DVDs of porn on the street. The actors in the videos are clearly minors, and the man was aware of this at the time of purchase. Because he knowingly and willingly bought child pornography, he could be charged with California Penal Code 311 (PC 311).
A film is produced showing high schoolers stimulating sexual activities for a biology course. The movie has scenes where the actors, who are minors, are imitating exuberant behavior. Because this film was made for learning purposes and it is not obscene or offensive, it would not be violating Child Pornography laws (PC 311).
Defenses for Child Pornography:
Just as in the above example, there are certain exceptions to Child Pornography laws (PC 311). If the film or photo was created as a form of arm, education, or holds political value, and a reasonable person would agree that it is not offensive or obscene, it would not violate this statute.
California Penal Code 311 (PC 311) requires that the Defendant knowingly committed the crime. If the person accused was in possession of a film or a photo and was not aware that it was pornography, he/she would not be guilty of this statute.
Following the above defense, if the person accused was reasonably under the impression that the participant was not a minor – for example, the child showed a fake ID illustrating their age to be over 18. They looked the part – the case could be dropped. Violation of California Penal Code 311 (PC 311) requires that the Defendant was aware that the person in the pornographic material was a minor; therefore, an effective defense attorney could argue that the accused was under the impression that it was not child porn. However, this defense could not be used if the participant in the material is unmistakeably a person under the age of 18.
Lastly, if the Defendant was lured or harassed into committing the crime, the case could be dismissed. Undercover officers are often trying to lure predators. If the Defendant would not have possessed or purchased these materials without the influence of the undercover person, he/she isn’t in violation of California Penal Code 311 (PC 311). This is called entrapment, where someone is lured, pressured, threatened, or harassed into illegal activity.
Consequences and Penalty for Child Pornography:
California Penal Code 311 (PC 311) is a wobbler offense, meaning it could be charged as either a felony or as a misdemeanor depending on the details of the crime and the Defendant’s history.
If an offense relating to Child Pornography (PC 311) is charged as a misdemeanor, the penalties include fines between $1,000-$2,500 and a sentence in a county jail of up to one year.
If California Penal Code 311 (PC 311) is charged as a felony, the Defendant could face up to three years in state prison. Additionally, a conviction for California Penal Code 311 (PC 311) will result in the Defendant having to register as a sex offender.
Child Pornography, under California Penal Code 311 (PC 311), is a misdemeanor offense that can result in jail time and severe fines, and in some instances, increase to a more severe felony charge. It is essential that if you or someone you know is charged with Child Pornography, you contact an expert attorney as soon as possible.
For an experienced attorney on your side, Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers is available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record of minor and sexual offenses-related cases and speaking English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with California Penal Code Section 311 (PC 311), Child Pornography. Book a free consultation today.