Last fall, a couple was arrested and accused of producing child pornography. The case stunned many in Louisiana because the two people who got taken into custody were a high-ranking Sheriff’s Office deputy and his wife, a school teacher.
According to the police report, officers arrested the couple after finding evidence which included photos of the couples and a child without clothes on. They were arrested Wednesday, Oct. 23 after a criminal probe by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.
If convicted, the couple faces serious consequences. It’s a crime in Louisiana to produce, distribute, or possess any pornographic images or material that involve juveniles. This is a felony with penalties ranging from five to 40 years’ imprisonment. If the victim is younger than 13 and the offender is older than 17, the fines can double.
Child pornography laws in Louisiana have been extended in the age of smartphones, texting and selfies, and now can include sexting as a crime as well. That’s why you need an experienced child pornography defense attorney on your side if you face charges. Let’s take a closer look at where the law on child pornography stands today.
What are Louisiana’s Laws on Child Pornography?
Louisiana has severe penalties for any criminal sexual offenses involving minors, from molestation to child pornography. If you’re convicted of possessing, distributing, or producing child pornography, you face a mandatory minimum prison term of five years, although longer prison sentences and steep fines are possible as well. You could also be facing federal child pornography charges if the material was acquired or distributed through the mail or by the internet. Since both Louisiana and the federal government treat sex crimes involving minors as extremely serious offenses, if convicted you’ll be required to register as a sex offender, potentially for life.
Becoming a registered sex offender will be very damaging to your future. It can severely limit your ability to find housing and employment and restrict where you can live. It can also have a very detrimental effect on relationships with your family and friends. That’s why if you get arrested for child pornography in Louisiana, understand that this is going to be a very difficult journey, which is why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you.
What are Louisiana’s Laws on Sexting?
Texting selfies to someone else can seem commonplace and harmless, but that’s not true if it involves naked images of juveniles. The practice of “sexting,” or of sharing nude or explicit images with others, has forced state lawmakers to revisit their child pornography laws because more teenagers are participating in this trend.
In Louisiana, the law allows prosecutors to impose felony charges on any juveniles who engage in indecent behavior through text messages, even if it’s with other juveniles. The state’s sexting law bans teenagers younger than 17 from knowingly and voluntarily using a computer, smartphone, or other telecommunications device to exchange selfies that are considered indecent or are sexually explicit.
Penalties for sending indecent selfies, or for possessing or distributing a teen’s indecent selfie, can include jail time and fines of $100 to $250 for a first offense, and fines of up to $750 and six months in jail for subsequent offenses.
For adults, Louisiana makes it a crime to send a sexually explicit or lewd image or written message to a juvenile younger than 17. This crime of indecent behavior with juveniles is a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison, and 25 years in prison if the victim is younger than 13. Sexting is also a crime under federal law, including the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act of 2003, that makes it illegal to use a computer to send or receive images of minors engaged in any kind of sexually explicit conduct.
Get the Quality Criminal Defense You need in Louisiana
Don’t let a single mistake destroy your life. If you’re facing criminal child pornography charges in Louisiana, the consequences of a conviction will be very severe. That’s why it’s important to get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. In Louisiana, a top source for criminal defense attorneys is the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm. We have more than 25 years of experience representing ordinary citizens just like you and want to help you get your life back on the right track. It’s our mission to give you the most personalized experience possible and help you have your voice heard.
Eric Johnson is respected throughout Louisiana and is known for providing solid representation that wins cases. To schedule a free consultation regarding your case, call our office at 318-377-1555 or contact us online today. We’re here to represent you!