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Child Pornography

Few if any crimes carry the immediate stigma of alleged child pornography offenses. People who are accused of these types of crimes not only see immediate disconnection from friends, family, and co-workers, but often feel as though they are entering courtrooms already presumed guilty and struggling to prove their innocence.

Child pornography offenses are aggressively prosecuted in Texas, and convictions can result in steep penalties. In addition to lengthy prison sentences and large fines, people convicted of these crimes can also be required to register as sex offenders.

Attorney for Child Pornography Arrests in Plano, TX

If you think that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested anywhere in Collin County for any kind of criminal offense relating to child pornography, it is in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal counsel. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy aggressively defends clients accused of sex crimes in Allen, Frisco, McKinney, Plano, and many surrounding areas of Collin County.

Plano criminal defense lawyers Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton understand the significant ways that these types of allegations can impact every aspect of a person’s life and will fight to possibly get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call 469-304-3422 right now to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


Overview of Child Pornography Crimes in Collin County


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Child Pornography Charges in Texas

The Texas Penal Code defines a child as being a person younger than 18 years of age. Some of the other key definitions important to state laws relating to child pornography include:

  • Deviate sexual intercourse — Any contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person. 
  • Performance — Any play, motion picture, photograph, dance, or other visual representation that can be exhibited before an audience of one or more persons.
  • Produce — With respect to a sexual performance includes any conduct that directly contributes to the creation or manufacture of the sexual performance. 
  • Promote — To procure, manufacture, issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, transfer, transmit, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise or to offer or agree to do any of the above.
  • Sexual conduct — Includes deviate sexual intercourse, sexual contact, and sexual intercourse. 
  • Sexual conduct — Sexual contact, actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sado-masochistic abuse, or lewd exhibition of the genitals, the anus, or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.
  • Sexual contact — Any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. 
  • Sexual performance — Any performance or part thereof that includes sexual conduct by a child younger than 18 years of age.
  • Simulated — The explicit depiction of sexual conduct that creates the appearance of actual sexual conduct and during which a person engaging in the conduct exhibits any uncovered portion of the breasts, genitals, or buttocks. 
  • Visual material — Any film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide or any photographic reproduction that contains or incorporates in any manner any film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide; or any disk, diskette, or other physical medium that allows an image to be displayed on a computer or other video screen and any image transmitted to a computer or other video screen by telephone line, cable, satellite transmission, or other method.

An alleged offender could face any one of the following criminal charges relating to child pornography:

Sexual Performance by a Child, Texas Penal Code § 43.25

An alleged offender commits a second-degree felony if, knowing the character and content thereof, he or she employs, authorizes, or induces a child younger than 18 years of age to engage in sexual conduct or a sexual performance, or if a parent or legal guardian or custodian of a child younger than 18 years of age consents to the participation by the child in a sexual performance. If the alleged victim is younger than 14 years of age at the time of the alleged offense, the crime becomes a first-degree felony.

If, knowing the character and content of the material, the alleged offender produces, directs, or promotes a performance that includes sexual conduct by a child younger than 18 years of age, the crime is a third-degree felony. When an alleged victim is younger than 14 years of age at the time of the alleged offense, the crime becomes a second-degree felony.

Texas Penal Code § 43.25(f) establishes the following as affirmative defenses to prosecution for sexual performance by a child:

  • The alleged offender was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense;
  • The conduct was for a bona fide educational, medical, psychological, psychiatric, judicial, law enforcement, or legislative purpose; or
  • The alleged offender is not more than two years older than the child.

Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography, Texas Penal Code § 43.26

If an alleged offender knowingly or intentionally possesses, or knowingly or intentionally accesses with intent to view, visual material that visually depicts a child younger than 18 years of age at the time the image of the child was made who is engaging in sexual conduct, including a child who engages in sexual conduct as a victim of a trafficking of persons offense under Texas Penal Code § 20A.02(a)(5), (6), (7), or (8), and the alleged offender knows that the material depicts the child as described, a first offense is a third-degree felony. A second conviction is a second-degree felony, and third or subsequent convictions are first-degree felony offenses.

If an alleged offender knowingly or intentionally promotes or possesses with intent to promote material described above, and the alleged offender knows that the material depicts the child as described, the crime is a second-degree felony, and any subsequent conviction is a first-degree felony. For the purposes of this statue, a person who possesses visual material that contains six or more identical visual depictions of a child as described is presumed to possess the material with the intent to promote the material.

Reporting of Images of Child Pornography, Texas Business and Commerce Code § 110.002

Computer technicians who, in the course and scope of employment or business, view an image on a computer that is or appears to be child pornography are required to immediately report the discovery of the image to a local or state law enforcement agency or the Cyber Tipline at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Under Texas Business and Commerce Code § 110.003, alleged offenders who intentionally fail to report an image in violation of this chapter commit Class B misdemeanor offenses.


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Child Pornography Penalties in Collin County

Depending on how a child pornography crime has been classified, a conviction could result in one of the following sentences:

  • Class B Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000;
  • Third Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000;
  • Second Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000; or
  • First Degree Felony — Minimum of five years up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

In addition to possible imprisonment and fines, alleged offenders can also be required to register as sex offenders. Convictions can also impact the right to own or possess a firearm and may negatively impact all employment or housing applications.


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Texas Child Pornography Offense Resources

Child Sexual Exploitation | NCMEC — The passage of the Missing Children's Assistance Act by the United States Congress in 1984 led to the establishment of the NCMEC, a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that specializes in locating missing children. On this website, you can learn more about the Child Victim Identification Program (CVIP), which was launched in 2002 and “serves as the central repository in the U.S. for information relating to child victims depicted in sexually exploitive images and videos.” You can also report child pornography using the NCMEC’s CyberTipline.

Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) | Department of Justice (DOJ) — CEOS enforces federal criminal statutes relating to the exploitation of children and obscenity. On this website, you can find information about Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the DOJ “to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse,” and view a citizen's guide to U.S. federal child exploitation and obscenity laws that lists summaries of the federal laws that pertain to CEOS's subject areas. You can also find additional reports, articles, and answers to frequently asked questions.


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The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Plano Child Pornography Defense Lawyer

Were you arrested or do you believe that you could be under investigation for an alleged child pornography crime in the greater Collin County area? No matter how confident you are in your innocence, do not say anything to authorities until you have contacted The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.

Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Plano who represent individuals all over Collin County, including Plano, McKinney, Frisco, Allen, and several other nearby communities. They can review your case and answer all of your legal questions as soon as you call 469-304-3422 or submit an online contact form to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.


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